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Canadian Pacific Railway Station Building


Other Names:
C.P.R. Station
Canadian Pacific Railway Station
Claresholm C. P. R. Station
Claresholm C. P. R. Train Station
Claresholm Museum
Claresholm Museum Sandstone Building
CPR Station

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) Station Building in Claresholm is a one and one-half storey rectangular, sandstone railway station of the pre-World War One period, located in downtown Claresholm immediately adjacent to Highway 2.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) Station Building in Claresholm lies in its service as the main facilitator of transport to the town and district from 1911 to 1966, its architectural and craftsmanship quality, in particular the use of sandstone as a building material, and its importance as a regional landmark.

The station represents C.P.R. activity in southern Alberta since the 1890s. Claresholm became a station stop when the Calgary and Edmonton Railway extended south from Calgary in 1891. The station served the town and a relatively large district in the era of settlement, through the transport of both freight and passengers and by facilitating communication through the use of the telegraph. The volume of rail transport declined in the mid-1950s, and by 1966 the station was no longer required for use by the C.P.R. At that time it remained on its original site and was converted to serve as a community museum.

The building is very significant for its architectural and craftsmanship qualities and the use of sandstone as a station building material. It was constructed from the original 1893 sandstone 9th Avenue C.P.R. Depot in Calgary, which was dismantled and reassembled in Claresholm in 1911-12 (the west wing) and High River (the east wing) - producing the only two remaining sandstone railway stations in Alberta. The station building has retained a very high degree of its original integrity of design, style and method of construction.

It is a significant well-known regional landmark owing to its prominent location adjacent to Highway 2 in central Claresholm.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 631)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) Station Building in Claresholm include:
- form, scale and massing;
- rusticated sandstone masonry blocks and sandstone chimney;
- rectangular footprint of the typical C.P.R. station model of the period (i.e. baggage and express offices located between the freight and passenger rooms; but without the agent's residence);
- hipped roof of cedar shingle and wide unenclosed overhanging eaves that circle the entire structure, supported by decorative brackets. Offset dormers on both the east and west side of the building;
- main entrance situated north of centre on the west side;
- fenestration pattern;
- transoms above the trackside loading doors, which are tongue and groove construction;
- historic polychromatic exterior colour scheme.

Interior elements such as:
- wood paneling, moulding, and wainscoting;
- box beam ceiling, stippled windows in office areas and wood strip flooring;
- ceilings, walls and doors exhibiting original finishes, hardware, and light fixtures.

- unimpeded view of the building from Highway 2.


Street Address: 5126 - 1 Street W
Community: Claresholm
Boundaries: Lot 2, Block 10, Plan 9212040
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
10 (ptn.)

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.027673 -113.582264 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2004/11/23

Historical Information

Built: 1911 to 1912
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Historic Function(s): Transport - Rail : Station or Other Rail Facility
Current Function(s): Leisure : Museum

The Canadian Pacific Railway was chartered in 1881 to build a transcontinental railway. In the 1890s it established branch lines and leased the Calgary and Edmonton Railway including its southern leg to Macleod. A wooden two-storey frame station was built at Claresholm by 1895 but as immigrants and homesteaders arrived in the area, by 1910 this was too small. When the Calgary station built in 1893 was replaced in 1911, the two-winged structure was dismantled and reassembled, one part in High River and the smaller portion in Claresholm. The roofing and windows and doors are substantially like the original.

For 54 years the station served the people of Claresholm district. The offices were the key to controlling the movement of freight such as grain, livestock, farm vehicles, foodstuffs and household articles. For almost four decades, it was the principal departure and arrival point for passengers in the area. The stone edifice and its gardens and grounds witnessed many events such as the arrival of tree planting cars, new engines, or the visits of John Diefenbaker in 1963 and 1965. During World War Two, it met the challenge of transportation for the thousands of airmen trained at the nearby flying school. Throughout its time it handled mail as well as telegrams which helped keep townspeople in touch with the world. Central to this activity was the coordination provided by the station agent and his staff. For 38 years it was the office of H.E. Mack, who served as community leader in many capacities including school trustee, councillor and mayor. In 1966 it became a museum.

The building is one of the few structures of the period in the town to retain its original appearance and is unique in the area among extant, early railway stations in its sandstone construction.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0895
Designation File: DES 0631
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 12415
Website Link:
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. 631)
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