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Firm: Jack Long

Address: 12239 24 Street SW

Date of final plans: 1960

Status: demolished in 1988

The Williamson house was for many years home of one of Calgary's most famous residents, Dorothy McGuire of The McGuire Sisters.

Lowell Williamson and Dorothy McGuire, both native Ohioans, married on 6 December 1958. After their marriage, Lowell commuted between New York and Calgary for business, and Dorothy visited Calgary when she had time off. In 1960 the couple decided to settle permanently in Calgary and set out to build a large house, the "Bar Dot Ranch" (after "Dottie" McGuire), south of Anderson Road on 24th Street. The Williamsons hired architect Jack Long (1925–2001), who was a relative and who had just moved to Calgary. It was Long's first major project in the city. The property was 40 acres and included a house, pool, tennis court, and tennis pavillion. Through Dorothy's connections in show business, over the years the couple hosted entertainers including Jack Benny, Arthur Godfrey, and Mitch Miller.

In 1974 the Williamsons sold the house to Hyman and Jenny Belzberg, at which time they moved to Paradise Valley, Arizona. A few years later, Long designed the Williamsons a new desert house that was closely modeled on their former Calgary residence (see 5701 North Yucca Road). In 1988 the Belzbergs sold the Calgary property for $3 million to Klaus Springer of Birkdale Developments, who demolished the house to build the 220-house subdivision Woodstone. Jack Long was noticibly put out by the demolition, calling it "crass commercialism and greediness." He went on to say, "I'm not only hurt, I'm angry about it."

The first three images below come from Williamson's autobiography, In Service and Gratitude: Lowell Williamson's Story.



Lowell James Williamson (1923–2013) was born on 19 July 1923 in Canton, Ohio to Daryl Williamson and Catherine Hayes. During World War II he served in the US Army Air Forces in a B-17 crew, and after being shot down on 8 April 1945 was interned at Stalag VII-A. Following the War, Williamson enrolled at Anderson University (Indiana) and in 1950 graduated Bachelor of Science in math and music. In 1952 he founded Williamson Oil and Gas, and around 1955 moved to Calgary. Williamson was first married in 1947 to Evelyn Amy Kissinger, with whom he adopted two children, Rhonda and Eric. The couple later divorced. On 6 December 1958, Williamson married Dorothy McGuire in New York. They had two children: Rex and David. Williamson died on 25 February 2013 at age 89.

Dorothy McGuire (1928–2012) was born in Middletown, Ohio on 13 February 1928 to Asa McGuire and Lillie Fultz. In the late 1940s, she and her sisters Christine and Phyllis formed The McGuire Sisters, a vocal trio similar to the Andrews Sisters. They quickly rose to prominence and appeared on several major television programmes. Their biggest hit was a 1954 recording of "Sincerely" that reached number one on the charts. After her marriage to Lowell Williamson in December 1958, she spent the next couple years commuting to Calgary between performances. McGuire was introduced to Calgary society on 13 June 1959 at an after-polo party held at the Hetherington Estate. On 1 September 1959 a reception was held for her and her sister Christine at the Petroleum Club. Complicated by her sister Phyllis's relationship with mobster Sam Giancana, the group stopped performing after 1968. However, in the 1980s they reunited for several concerts. Dorothy died on 7 September 2012 at age 84.

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