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Nimmons, WilliamNimmons, William
1827 - 14th Street SW

1826-1921
William Nimmons was born in England in 1826, and emigrated to Guelph, Ontario when he was 37 years old. There, he bought a wool production factory which occupied his time for eight years before he decided, like so many others from Ontario during this time, to try their hand on the frontier. The year 1869 saw Nimmons arrive in Winnipeg. He worked with a survey group in the North-West Territories and was imprisoned for a time by Louis Riel. After his adventures with surveying, he ventured further west to hunt buffalo. Nimmons was taken by the climate of the Calgary area, and in 1882 purchased a half-section of land near Calgary from the Hudson’s Bay company for eight dollars an acre, a price that was considered rather high at the time (1882).

On this half-section of land, Nimmons and his wife, Isabella, (whom he married in 1883) established the 3-D-Bar Ranch, which became one of the most well-known ranches in the Calgary area at the time. His lands included what are now portions of the city near Crowchild Trail in southwest Calgary. According to one of the Nimmons’ five children, Nimmons "built the old house on a hilltop so mother could look out the windows and see the great sweep of the prairie and the village of Calgary in the distance," (which, at the time, could "boast a few board sidewalks").

Sensing the impending real-estate boom, Nimmons began to subdivide his property in 1905, and in 1912 the subdivision of Bankview became part of Calgary. In addition to being a rancher and real estate developer, Nimmons opened a sandstone quarry, the stone from which many of the first large schools in Calgary were built. He also loved horticulture, and built what were then considered to be enormous 100 foot-lon greenhouses, for business and pleasure. In 1911 he built the Mount Royal Theatre, later called the Kinema. Nimmons died in 1921, followed by Isabella in 1935.

 

 

 

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© Calgary Public Library. 2000

© Calgary Public Library. 2000.