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Delburne Alberta Government Telephones Exchange Building


Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) Exchange Building in Delburne is a single-storey, brick clad, wood frame building with a hip roof located on west side of 22nd Avenue between 20th & 21st Street. The building was constructed in the winter of 1917. Additions include the hip roof & closed rear porch (built in the late 1920's), room housing modern washroom facilities (post 1956). A large, wooden shed was built directly off the northwest corner of the building.

Heritage Value
The Delburne AGT Exchange Building is valued for the vital role it played in connecting Delburne (and area) to the telephone network. It is also valued for its architecture. Moreover, it is a prominent reminder of, and was integral to, the early development of village businesses; the efficient transfer of communications enhanced product ordering and sales, thereby fostering growth. The switchboard housed within the exchange was connected to the phone lines and became fully operational on February 13, 1918.

The Delburne AGT Exchange Building is valued for its historic use as a telephone exchange, which housed the switching equipment. The building provides structural evidence of telecommunications in early Alberta, encompassing the expansion of rural telephone service into Delburne. Telephone calls were placed by ringing an operator working in the building and asking to be connected to another subscriber's number. The switching equipment in this building connected local subscribers to each other and to other exchanges throughout North America through the long distance network.

The Delburne AGT Exchange Building is also valued for its simple design, historic materials and as an example of an AGT telephone exchange built to an evolving standardized plan. Standardized plans were popular as they allowed for consistency in construction and cost-savings as choice materials could be made-to-order in bulk. The simple, multi-purpose design consisted of one-storey with two bays delineating the original public telephone office from the private residential suite for the telephone agent and family. In the mid-1920's, AGT changed its architectural preferences and adopted a more domestic image; as part of this process, the Delburne's exchange's flat roof with parapet was replaced by a hip roof and a wooden canopy was installed over the main door.

This building has acquired sentimental value in Delburne as one of the oldest surviving civic buildings, remaining in original use until 1968. With the implementation of the new automatic dialing technology, this exchange building was replaced with a more modern facility (built on the adjacent lot to the north).

The large, shiplap sided, wooden shed is valued for its design and workmanship. It is an example of an early 1900's outbuilding and is valued for its simple design, historic materials and functional relationship (used for coal storage) with the Delburne AGT Exchange Building.

Character-Defining Elements
The building's style, historical function and context are exemplified by the following elements:


- Basic layout, design and modest scale, reflective of a standardized plan used by AGT in the 1910's/20's; and
- Prominent central location denoting its important role as public facility.

- General residential or domestic appearance of the building;
- Moderately pitched, hip roof with a modest bellcast, wide eaves and exposed rafters;
- Asymmetrically placed main door with flat transom with multiple lights, surmounted by a shed-roofed wooden canopy with large detailed wooden brackets;
- Front screen door with original hardware and multi-paned window insert;
- Single leaf, three panel rear door with window;
- Red brick clad walls laid in a stretcher bond pattern exhibiting excellent masonry craftsmanship -- 3 variations in brick hue denote additions;
- Tooling in grout on front façade;
- 2 brick chimneys (1 in original portion of building, 1 in closed rear porch);
- Window openings are tall and clearly articulated with brick voussoirs and outward slanted sills, inset with molded wood trim; and
- 1-over-1 wood screen windows exist from former single hung windows.

- Interior layout reflecting the distinct 2-part floor plan;
- 10' high ceiling in original portion of building; 8' high in closed porch;
- Wide fir trim throughout, containing entablature and moulded lug sills;
- A number of fir panel doors with original hardware;
- Wood strip floor throughout except bathroom; maple in public portion, fir in private residential suite;
- Markings on floors in public portion denoted where switching equipment was located; and
- Lath and plasterboard (bumpy in original portion of building, smooth in closed porch).


- Single detached rectangular building located in close proximity to northwest corner of AGT Exchange Building.

- Shed roof with plain wood frieze, projecting eaves and verges;
- Nailed framed with fir shiplap siding, corner board and plain flat trim; and
- Wooden, vertical board side door with original hardware.

- Wide wooden flush boards lining interior - mix of part and full walls; and
- Fir flooring comprised of large planks.


Street Address: 2030 - 22 Avenue
Community: Delburne
Boundaries: Lots 30 and 31, Block 4, Plan 6370AK
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 2

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
30 & 31

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.1989069024956 -113.234368326423 Digital Maps NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2012/01/10

Historical Information

Built: 1917 - 1918
Period of Significance: 1917 - 1967
Theme(s): Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Historic Function(s): Industry : Communications Facility
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0286
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: Village of Delburne 2111 - 20 Street Delburne AB T0M 0V0
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