Alberta (historical) snapshot: Lindsay’s Folly.


Very little remains of this early twentieth-century mansion in Calgary. These rough sections of foundation and walls half-buried in the grass and trees are all that’s left of Lindsay’s Folly, a man’s dream that never quite came true.

Dr. Neville Lindsay came to Calgary in 1883 and set up a thriving medical practice; he then skipped off to find Klondike gold and returned home a very wealthy man.  He bought several properties in the city – one of them being the first Knox Presbyterian Church, which was no longer being used.  He decided to dismantle the church and use the sandstone from it to build a house.  It was a great plan, and the house was shaping up nicely, with 12 to 14 rooms in the works and huge archways erected in the entrance, but construction suddenly ground to a halt and the unfinished house was left abandoned.



Why was the house never finished?  A lost love, perhaps?  Or the fear that the building was on precarious footing and would slide into the Elbow River below?  (Erosion can be such a bother!).

Nope.  The truth is, when World War I broke out, Lindsay simply lost his fortune. The banks reneged on his mortgages, which, with a combined total of one million dollars, was an astronomical sum in those days (well, still is!).  Money comes, money goes….

The archways and the rest of the house slowly vanished by the late 1950’s. It may be that the City demolished them for safety reasons. It would have been interesting to see them when they were still standing on the edge of the hill.


There is a fantastic article from Avenue Magazine, May 2015, that gives more information about Lindsay’s Folly and the possibility of preserving/commemorating the ruins.


  1. Very interesting!! It’s amazing to me the way money comes and goes. Filthy rich peeps could loose it all so fast. Maybe it takes being poor or the real possibility of being poor to make peeps realize they need to put some aside.


  2. Those ruins look much older than the are–I guess it’s because he reused materials from an older building. It’s certainly a cautionary tale . . .

  3. What a fascinating story. I’m reminded of Jack London’s home, which burned to the ground three weeks before they were to move in. It was never rebuilt. It’s all part of a state park now. I still remember touring the place on a grade school field trip. Thanks for sharing the pics and the history behind it.

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