After the great fire of 1886, which destroyed 14 timber buildings, Calgarians started building in sandstone, which was fireproof, easily workable and readily available in the area. Many buildings, such as banks, houses, schools and courthouses were made from sandstone, earning Calgary the nickname "Sandstone City" prior to the First World War.
The original house, upon which the 2/3-scale Heritage Park replica is based, was probably built in 1887. The family of Colonel James Macleod, the former commissioner of the North West Mounted Police, who named Fort Calgary, later rented out this bungalow in May 1894. Macleod died that September of a degenerative kidney disorder, and his body was lain in state in the original sandstone house. After Heritage Park completed its replica building in 1972, the house was decorated with items that would reflect the Macleods' Scottish ancestry.