THE ASHELWOOD HOSPITAL
It has long been rumoured that the houses at 1710 and 1712 – 13th Ave. SW were at one time a hospital. This is indeed true. For more than a decade these houses operated as the Ashelwood Private Hospital, but prior to that these were homes to two families for more than four decades.
Both houses were completed in 1911. The MacRae family called 1710 – 13th Ave. SW their home. Roderick Alexander MacRae, was born in Ontario in 1877 to Scottish immigrants. In the 1911 census he is living in Calgary at 1710 – 13th Ave. SW and working as a house painter, though later he went on to become a labourer and machinist with Canadian Pacific Railway. He was a South African War veteran (1899-1902) and is buried in the Veterans Field of Honour in the Burnsland Cemetery (he died at age 71 years). His wife Jennie Edith, was born into an English family in Quebec in 1874. Roderick and Jennie lived at 1710 along with their three small children, and in the 1911 census were also host to several lodgers from Ontario. The MacRae family made this their home for many years. After Roderick and Jennie passed away in 1948 and 1951 respectively, the family home was passed to their eldest son Ian and his wife Jean.
The original owner of 1712 – 13th Ave. SW is listed as Frank Fair, a carpenter. He was born to a German family in Indiana in 1872, and came to Canada in 1905. Although Frank Fair built the house at 1712 – 14th Ave. SW, he probably never lived there. In the 1911 census he is living at 1725 - 11th Ave. SW with his wife Annie and their four children. By 1912 the house is home to the Smith family. Alfred G. Smith, a farmer, and his wife Anna K. Smith (whom at one time worked as a stenographer with CP Rail) lived with their family in this home for many years. This home remained in the Smith family until the early 1950’s. In 1952, the Ashelwood Private Hospital was opened. It began at 1712 – 13th Ave. SW, though by 1953 had expanded to include 1710.
Ashelwood appears to have been a care home for seniors, and had at least one notable resident. Marion Elizabeth Moodie was born in Quebec City in 1867, and came to Alberta with her family in 1891. She trained as a nurse at the Calgary General Hospital and in 1898 became the first nurse to graduate in Alberta. She served as a nursing sister in the World War I and became matron of the Ogden Military Hospital in Calgary. She moved to Manitoba in the early 1920’s to manage a sanatorium, then on to Montreal to care for an elderly relative. She returned to Calgary in 1951, and within a few years entered Ashelwood as a patient. The Ashelwood was a logical choice considering she had relatives in Scarboro. Marion Moodie’s sister Lucy Catherine Moodie (1869 – 1965) married their first cousin James Francis Melville “Frank” Moodie, (1878 – 1943). Frank Moodie came to Calgary in 1901 from Ontario and developed the Rosedale Coal Mine in Drumheller and later went on to the oil industry in Turner Valley, forming the Sentinel Oil Company and Anglo-Indian Oils. Frank, Lucy and their family lived on Scarboro Ave.
Marion Moodie died in 1958, but not before leaving her mark in history. Besides being noted as Alberta’s first nurse, she was also an avid botanist and many of her findings can still be found in the New York Botanical Gardens and the Smithsonian Institute. She also wrote numerous poems and had several published books of poetry in the early twentieth century (for a sample CLICK HERE). And even today there is a University of Alberta Medical Scholarship, endowed by Marion Moodie, in honour of her nephew (the son of Frank and Lucy), Flying Officer Kenneth William Moodie (1915 – 1942), a university graduate who lost his life while on duty.
Ashelwood closed in 1964, at which time the houses became single family homes once again. Today the Woodhouse family (at 1710) and the McFerrin family (1712) call these houses home.