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Annie's Cafe

Annie's Cafe is named after a green eyed, auburn haired beauty, Annie Bannister, wife of Billy Bannister, the ranch foreman first hired by William Roper Hull in 1886.  He remained foreman of the ranch after Patrick Burns purchased the property in 19902.  The Bannisters moved from the main Ranche house to live in the little bungalow with their four children, in 1905.

John Glenn (1833 - 1866) was an Irish immigrant who settled with his wife, Adelaide Belcourt (1852 - 1941)  in 1873 in the broad valley where Fish Creek flows into the Bow River.  Married in a mission in northern Alberta, built by Father Lacombe, they were the first permanent settlers of European descent choosing to live on land that had been used by First Nations groups for over 8000 years.  After Treaty Seven was signed in 1877, the federal government purchased the Glenn’s original homestead to become an Indian Supply store to provide desperately needed provisions to the Blackfoot to assist with their adjustment to their new way of life.  John Glenn already had a respected trade reputation with the Blackfoot.He was considered honourable in his business dealings by all who dealt with him.  John was in the group of thirty pioneers who attended the first sale of Calgary properties.  He had great faith in the future of Calgary so he stepped up and bought the first lots.  The property he bought was located across from today’s Calgary Tower on 9th Avenue and Centre Street downtown. He built three buildings on this land, including Calgary’s largest livery stable.

When the Government purchased their original homestead, the Glenn’s relocated to a new farmstead near what is now called Macleod Trail.  Their home had features typical of Western Canadian Metis construction suggesting that Adelaide’s heritage was an influencing factor in the design of her home.  It was built to last.

An argument can be made that John Glenn may not have seen the success he did without Adelaide.  When this country was formed women were not allowed any titled or lead roles.  Individually, John and Adelaide would have each struggled but together they raised six children, tended livestock, and provided room and board for travellers.  Adelaide was feisty, polite, dignified. Since childhood she had learned from indigenous knowledge keepers how to care for the sick, the laboring and the dying. The following quote, attributed to a prairie pioneer woman whose name has been lost to us, sums up the life of women in early Calgary. “We had to make our quilts fast, so our children wouldn’t freeze.  We had to make them beautiful, so our hearts wouldn’t break.” 

na-2961-8 foremans house Annies 1904 1905.jpg

The Ranche Restaurant

John Glenn's homestead was purchased by the government as an instructional farm, for $350, a cow, and a calf. A superintendent, John Lyman, was hired to teach the Indians, and the produce grown was distributed to the Indians living on the reserves in the area. After several years the instructional program was phased out, and the government decided to re-sell the property.

The new purchasers were William Roper Hull, who later became one of Calgary's most prominent citizens, and his brother, John Roper Hull. In 1883, the Hull brothers were driving 1,200 head of horses from Kamloops via the Crowsnest Pass to Calgary. Impressed with the country, they decided to become permanent residents.

First securing a contract with the Canadian Pacific Railways to be the sole suppliers of beef to the railway gangs in British Columbia, the Hull brothers quickly expanded their operation until they had a chain of fifteen butcher shops. Needing facilities for finishing cattle for slaughter, they offered to buy the 4,000-acre Government Supply Farm - as the Bow Valley Ranche was then called - for a rumored price of $30,000.

The Hulls made numerous improvements, including the replacement of the original log house with a two-story brick ranch house. Charlie Yuen was hired to "do odd chores and feed the crew". Under his supervision, the ranch became a showplace that welcomed many local and foreign visitors.

With the developing community, land use changed from farming to ranching. In 1902, the Hulls' farm was purchased by Patrick Burns, a leading Calgary rancher, and meat-packer. Burns also acquired adjacent sections of land, as they became available. Eventually, the Burns Ranch included some 20,000 acres bounded on the north by what is now Stampede Park, on the east by the Bow River, on the south by 146th Avenue, and on the west by MacLeod Trail - a large property by any standards, but only a small segment of Pat Burns' 450,000-acre ranching empire.

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