The Eau Claire & Bow River Lumber Company's lumber mill, established in 1886, became Calgary's first large industry. One of the mills' workers was Bernt Thorpe, a Norwegian who'd brought his family to North America. As a millwright, Thorpe would have helped plan, build, install and maintain the new mill’s machinery.
He built this folk Victorian house for his family near the other homes of the mill workers, insulating the walls with brick cement and adding decorative millwork to the porch. The family arrived with three children and had five more in Calgary, and Thorpe expanded his home several times in response to the needs of his growing family. Mrs. Lillian Jacques, the Thorpe's youngest daughter, donated the house and funds for its restoration to Heritage Park in 1969.