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CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY STATION

Meeting Creek

Other Names:
C. N. R. Station
Canadian National Railway Station
CNR Station Building
Meeting Creek C. N. R Station
CNoR Station
C. No. R. Station
C.No.R. Station
Canadian Northern Station Building
CN Station
Meeting Creek Railway Station
Meeting Creek Train Station

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Station is an early twentieth century, one and one-half storey wood frame and stucco building located in Meeting Creek's business district. It features a high hipped roof with gabled dormers and a bracket-supported gable roof over the freight shed that extends along the platform to create an awning. The site also includes a length of track and the remnants of a former right-of-way. The depot retains its historical association with two nearby grain elevators which are not included in the designation.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Station lies in its representation of typical, small-town Alberta railway station architecture from the early twentieth century. The station also possesses significant symbolic value as an emblem of the central role of railways in opening the province to settlement and agriculture.

In 1909, the Premier of Alberta, Alexander Rutherford, offered major railway companies bond guarantees to expand the province's transportation network in order to further settlement and development. The Canadian Northern Railway responded enthusiastically to the Premier's call, laying down new track throughout Alberta. In 1911, this company built a line between Camrose and Stettler. The Meeting Creek settlement was initially located five miles east of the new track and depot; it was relocated in order to be included in the new townsite. Though Meeting Creek's proximity to larger regional settlements at Camrose, Donalda, and Bashaw prevented it from becoming an agricultural and commercial centre, its connection to the railway nonetheless enabled it to develop into a robust farming community, boasting three grain elevators and all the requisite settlement services. With the amalgamation of the Canadian Northern Railway into Canadian National Railways in the late 1910s, many smaller branch lines closed, though the Meeting Creek station continued to operate until the 1960s, when improved highway infrastructure and services rendered the depot obsolete.

The Canadian Northern Railway Station erected at Meeting Creek in 1913 was constructed according to Plan 100-29, the most common design for Canadian Northern Railway Third Class depots built between 1907 and 1914. More than 300 of these stations were constructed throughout Canada and in Minnesota; 36 are recorded to have been built in Alberta, and only 4 have been confirmed extant in 2006. Designed by the influential architect, Ralph Benjamin Pratt, this plan was distinguished by its high hipped roof with gabled dormers - an architectural element that Pratt effectively developed into an instantly recognizable trademark of Canadian Northern Railway stations. The interior featured an office, waiting room, freight shed, and residence for the station agent. The Canadian Northern Railway Station at Meeting Creek was extensively restored in 1988 to reflect the appearance of the station between 1940 and 1950.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1330)



Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Station include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- high hipped roof featuring wood shingling, two brick chimneys, a mounted semaphore, exposed rafter tails, and two dormers (one on the front facade, the other on the back);
- gable roof supported by brackets over the freight shed and extending along the platform to create an awning;
- decorative wood pattern in east gable end;
- stucco exterior finish;
- fenestration pattern, including single hung sash windows and dormers;
- door pattern and style, including transomed door with fanlight facing the track and battened door on the freight shed;
- wooden platform, remaining track, and remnant of a right-of-way;
- floor plan;
- exposed framing in freight shed;
- lath and plaster walls and ceilings;
- original fittings, including doorknobs;
- coal-burning stove, wainscoting, original mouldings, wood flooring;
- original artifacts currently on site.


Location



Street Address: Railway Avenue
Community: Meeting Creek
Boundaries: Plan 5614 AF, Block A
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
4
19
19
43
43
5
5
13
14

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
5614 AF
A
N/A


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.681222 -112.727914 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2008/01/30

Historical Information

Built: 1913/01/01 To 1913/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Transport - Rail : Station or Other Rail Facility
Current Function(s): Leisure : Museum
Architect: Ralph Benjamin Pratt
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT: In 1909, Premier Rutherford of Alberta announced a program of vast railway expansion in the province, offering bond guarantees to major railway companies to build branch lines in districts where they seemed warranted. The railway company to undertake the greatest extent of track as a result of this was the Canadian Northern (CNoR). One of the lines it built was between Stettler and Camrose, completed in 1911. As was its practice, the Canadian Northern erected stations at key points along the line, and, in some cases, townsites were subdivided. This was the case with Meeting Creek, which was located in a district that had already been settled, largely by Americans. When the railway came through, the tiny community, established in 1905, was moved five miles to be included in the new townsite.

Being less than 18 kilometres from the larger farming centers of Donalda and Bashaw, and 30 kilometres away from Camrose, Meeting Creek never grew to sufficient size to be incorporated. It did, however, possess most of the amenities of a prairie farming community, including stores, garages, livery stables, a blacksmith shop, a bank, a hotel, and, eventually, three grain elevators. It also had a small, but busy, railway station, constructed in 1913. This was a two-storey structure with a warehouse attached. It was subdivided into an office, waiting room, freight house, and living quarters for the station agent and his family.

Life in the community of Meeting Creek evolved around the businesses along main street, which ran perpendicular to the station, and the station itself. All passengers and incoming and outgoing freight were handled by the station agent, including the export of grain. The agent was also the district telegrapher. When the Canadian Northern was merged with the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Railway in 1919 to form Canadian National (CN), many small branch lines were closed down in Alberta, but the Camrose - Stettler line remained open, as sufficient agricultural products were being shipped out from the district in between to warrant this. By the 1960's, however, improved highway traffic saw the closure of train service in Meeting Creek, although the Camrose - Stettler branch line would remain operating until 1997.

Being that there was little development in Meeting Creek in the years after the railway station was closed, the structure managed to survive, along with the Alberta Pacific Grain Elevator, and, in 1989, it was designated a provincial historic site. Today it is an integral part of the Canadian Northern Society's tour of significant rail sites.


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Meeting Creek Railway Station lies in its service as a typical class three Canadian Northern station, serving a small farming district between the larger centers of Donalda, Bashaw and Camrose. It does, however, speak for countless other small stations which have not survived. It is also important in being one of the few pre-World War One structures constituting the original hamlet of Meeting Creek.

(D. Leonard, June 2005)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1054
Designation File: Des. 1330
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 81991
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 (Des. 1330)
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