Pieces of Calgary’s Centre Street Bridge, including concrete bison heads and crests, and the Queens Hotel are being auctioned off after sitting in city storage for two decades.
“A few years ago, the city identified them as needing a steward, a champion, and Heritage Calgary was identified as that steward, so over the last couple of years, we’ve been working with the city on what to do with them,” said Josh Traptow, Heritage Calgary executive director, on Wednesday.
Public education institutions weren’t interested in the items, so Heritage Calgary planned an auction.
The pieces up for bid are from historic Calgary landmarks.
“They are unique. The Queens Hotel sign is more than six-metres wide while the life-sized bison heads weigh around a tonne,” Traptow said.
“We are excited to provide citizens with the opportunity to cherish a piece of local history.”
The Queens Hotel, located at 802 2 St. S.E., was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the municipal complex.
“The sign dates from circa 1900 when an addition was built to the Queens Hotel, and it was a local watering hole that was well-known in Calgary and was built in the late 1800s,” Traptow said.
“An addition was built in, I think, about 1902, and that’s when we believe that the sign and the tin cornices date from.”
The sign is valued at $1,000 to $5,000.
“It has a very antique look to it and would look great above somebody’s home bar or restaurant or something like that with the Queens Hotel name right there,” Traptow said.
Centre Street Bridge’s flower, shamrock and thistle crests date back to 1916, when the bridge was constructed. A single crest is valued between $300 and $500.
Bison heads, with an estimated value of $2,000 to $5,000 each, were installed on the bridge in 1983 and removed in 1999 when it was closed for renovations.
“They are very well-crafted,” Traptow said. “They were done by an expert sculptor who spent a great deal of detail on them. They were modelled after bison from the Calgary Zoo.”
Bids for the as-is, where-is items start at $1.
“The idea is that we’re not looking to make profits. We’re simply wanting to find these items a new home,” Traptow said. “Any profits that are generated will be directed to our Heritage Plaque Program.”
The auction is scheduled to close on April 18.