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Strome Memorial Hall

Strome

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Strome Memorial Hall was built in 1935, replacing a previous building that had burned down. It is a long, rectangular, gable-roofed building with a boomtown front crowned by a flag pole. It is clad in lightly-painted stucco with decorative elements painted a darker colour. A double door entryway is situated in a flat-arched vestibule, which is accessed by a wide set of wooden stairs. Two bronze plaques bearing the names of the village's First and Second World War casualties are also located within the vestibule. The Hall occupies two lots on Royal Street, which is in the Village of Strome's main commercial block.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Strome Memorial Hall lies in its identity as an excellent example of a small town community hall, important public facilities in Alberta's early history. It also has heritage value as a Memorial Hall erected to honour those who served in the First World War.

Community Halls were important facilities in many rural communities and were often the first public building erected. These versatile, multi-purpose facilities fulfilled the recreational, entertainment and socialization needs of the community, while avoiding the problems associated with using schools and churches for such activities. Used for a wide range of community-oriented activities, halls were typically simple, gable-roofed buildings, often with a boom town front. Interiors were sparse, featuring a large open room with a wood strip floor, easily movable furnishings, a stage, cloak rooms, piano and kitchen. More substantial halls often had usable basements, indoor washroom facilities and a film projection room. The importance of community halls began to wane in the 1950s when television, dedicated movie houses and improvements in motor vehicle infrastructure and efficiency gave people more recreational, entertainment and socialization options and the mobility to pursue them farther afield.

The First World War and the consequent loss of life was a traumatic experience for small communities. Following the war, most communities attempted to memorialize this sacrifice by commissioning cenotaphs and other statuary. Some communities dedicated utilitarian structures, such as non-denominational public halls as memorials. These halls were intended as living memorials that both honoured the war dead and veterans and encouraged community recovery through activities that promoted social cohesion. Memorial halls were essentially the same as community halls, differing only in the presence of the symbolic ornamentation common to all types of war memorials, usually in the form of bronze plaques, honour rolls, cenotaphs, relic weaponry, and patriotic trappings such as flags and regimental standards.

The original Strome Memorial Hall had been built in 1920 to serve as a memorial to the village's war dead and as a community gathering place. Fifteen men from the Strome district lost their lives in the First World War, a devastating loss to a community of less than 300 people. The hall, which had been insured, was destroyed by fire on September 28, 1935. Construction of the current hall began less than three weeks later. A brick chimney on the north elevation and a gable-roofed shed slightly to the south of the hall are the sole remaining elements of the original 1920 building. The hall embodies many of the characteristics typical of community halls. It is a long, rectangular, gable-roofed building, with stucco-clad exterior walls lined with windows. The exterior is devoid of ornamentation with the exception of the west-facing boom town front. This front features a wide, flat-arched vestibule enclosing a double-door entry way, flanked by bulletin boards for displaying playbills and posters. The boom town front also features some Classically-inspired details, some of which are fabricated in plaster and painted a darker colour, such as the stepped parapet with flagpole, faux quoins, faux belt courses and other raised trim details at the corners and flanking the main sign. The interior of the hall is taken up by a large, open space with a wood strip floor. A projector room with two film projectors and a film splicing table is situated above the front lobby and a stage is situated at the east end of the hall. The hall bears a sign reading MEMORIAL HALL and two bronze plaques, bearing the names of the district's fallen soldiers from the First and Second World Wars are affixed to the Hall on either side of the front vestibule.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Services, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1535)


Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Strome Memorial Hall in the Village of Strome include its:

Exterior
- long rectangular shape and size;
- front gable roof with three ventilation vents on the ridge pole;
- boom town front with parapet and flagpole situated at the west end;
- overall lack of ornamentation on the building except for the Classically-inspired decorative highlights of the boom town front, which include faux quoins, faux belt courses, two diamond shaped elements flanking the sign and decorative elements at the base and crest of the corners;
- lightly-coloured stucco cladding the exterior walls with decorative elements accentuated by darker paint.
- long, flat-arched recessed entry containing a double door main entryway accessed by wooden steps;
- two bronze plaques bearing the names of district residents killed during the First and Second World War;
- two bulletin boards protected by chicken-wire coverings on each side of the main door;
- two window openings flanking the vestibule;
- fenestration pattern of five double-hung, wooden sash windows on the north and south elevations;
- brick chimney on the north elevation and a small, wood siding-clad shed to the south of hall, which are the sole remnants of the original 1920 structure.

Interior
- large open area accessed directly off the main lobby;
- built in stage with curved apron situated at the west end of the building, accessible on both sides by small, enclosed staircases;
- projection room with two film projectors, a film-splicing table and reels, projector openings in the east wall, ventilation openings in the ceiling, and metal framed doorways;
- historic tongue-and-groove wood strip flooring;
- extant historic wood work, such as the window frames, door frames, doors, mill work, staircases, rails and stage surround;
- overall lack of ornamentation except for the simple decorative highlights on the ceiling.


Location



Street Address: N/A
Community: Strome
Boundaries: Lots 4 and 5, Block 3, Plan RN67
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
15
44
23
16 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
RN67 (LXVII)
RN67 (LXVII)
3
3
5
4



Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.811896 -112.065462

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2011/05/16

Historical Information

Built: 1935 to 1935
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Community Organizations
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Current Function(s): Leisure : Museum
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

The town site of Strome was surveyed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1906 during its construction of a branch line from Daysland to Hardisty. Settlement of the land immediately adjacent to the town site proceeded rapidly as did the development of the town that replaced Spring Lake as the service centre for the area. By 1911 it had five stores, four implement warehouses, two lumberyards, a doctor's office, restaurant and hotel. Unlike other prairie towns of comparable size it also had a grain mill, constructed by the Strome Milling and Grain Company in 1911.

With the coming of War in 1914, many Strome and area men responded to the call to arms. In recognition of their services, the first Memorial Hall was constructed in 1920. The hall became a social centre for the community that used it for dances, community dinners and motion pictures. Upon its destruction by fire in 1934, it was replaced by the present building, which has continued the role of community service.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0650
Designation File: DES 1535
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 24088
Website Link: N/A
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1535)
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