Lougheed House Conservation Society History
Historical Society of Alberta
The story of the Lougheed House Conservation Society began modestly in the 1980s when a group of volunteers with historical preservation in mind began meeting in their homes. Their focus project revolved around the recovery, restoration, preservation, and repurposing of a Calgary mansion deteriorating quickly – Senator James Lougheed’s former home, Beaulieu, soon to be known as Lougheed House. The committee, part of the Historical Society of Alberta, was led by Trudy Cowan, a Calgary historian and soon-to-be Lougheed House Executive Director. After several years of dedicated work, in 1988, they completed a comprehensive study on the possibility of restoring the old estate.
Lougheed House Conservation Society
During the 1990s, the Historical Society of Alberta continued to raise public awareness about the site and its potential, officially creating the Lougheed House Conservation Society (LHCS) on January 25, 1995 as a society within the Alberta Societies Act. Established as a charitable non-profit organization, LHCS raised support and received donations to support the restoration of the grounds and Beaulieu Gardens, expanding their fundraising a few years later to include the restoration of the House. The Society continued to recruit more volunteers for many parts of the restoration. Many of these original volunteers continue to be active in the House today, including annual maintenance of the gardens.
The Conservation Society also approached municipal and provincial stakeholders to support the project and be part of the long-term sustainability of the estate. Both the governments of the Province of Alberta and the City of Calgary contributed to helping LHCS seek historic site status (Provincial status in 1977 and National status in 1992) and the province committed to provide some funding moving into the future.
Since its incorporation, the Society has spearheaded the project to restore, preserve, and operate the Lougheed estate as a Public Heritage Centre. As part of their continuing effort to restore the House and the objects of its previous inhabitants, the Society continues to be interested in the whereabouts of items purchased at the infamous public auction in 1938 after the death of Lady Lougheed.
The Society receives about 47% of its operational funding from the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women (Province of Alberta), but no operational funding from the Canadian federal government. The organization relies on funding received through casinos, venue rentals, gift shop, restaurant, private and corporate sponsors, donations, and grants, as our admission fees are remitted to the Government of Alberta.
The LHCS offices are located on the top floor of the House with a combined core team of nine hired staff and contractors. The Board of Directors has grown over the years and now is represented by thirteen dedicated volunteers; a Chair with twelve directors. The Society holds its Annual General Meeting each summer, typically in June.
Head Gardeners are Honoured
On the western side of the property, located in the Peter Lougheed Memorial Garden, is a commemorative bench honouring all of Lougheed House’s Head Gardeners’ service. It is a quiet place to reflect upon the numerous hours of dedicated work they have given to the Lougheed House site, by creating and maintaining our beautiful and cherished Beaulieu Gardens.