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Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator

Mayerthorpe

Other Names:
A. W. P. Elevator
A.W.P. Elevator
Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator No. 3
AWP Elevator
Mayerthorpe Country Elevator
Mayerthorpe Elevator #3
Mayerthorpe Grain Elevator

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator site is situated on approximately 0.69 hectares of land adjacent to a railway line in the Town of Mayerthorpe. The site contains three principal structures: a wooden single composite grain elevator built in 1966, a simple wood frame office building adjacent to the elevator and built at the same time, and a sheet metal-clad annex constructed in 1940.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator in Mayerthorpe lies in its association with the dominant method of storing and transporting grain in Alberta throughout most of the twentieth century. It also possesses significance as an icon of Alberta's agricultural and social history.

In 1909, the Canadian Northern Railway began laying track from Edmonton northwest to a proposed terminus in Grande Prairie. Construction was slow and completion of the line grew increasingly uncertain with the arrival of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia railway line into Grande Prairie from the west. Nonetheless, several settlers optimistically claimed or purchased land along the anticipated route; among them was Leo Crockett, who subdivided part of his landholding into a townsite called Mayerthorpe. The influx of new settlers into the region after the First World War and the extension of the railway line to Whitecourt by the Canadian National Railway (which had taken over the Canadian Northern) swelled the fledgling settlement's population. In the 1920s, several grain elevators were constructed in Mayerthorpe to accommodate the region's burgeoning agricultural economy. The Alberta Wheat Pool (AWP) constructed its first elevator in the community in 1928, five years after its formation as a co-operative grain-marketing enterprise. The extant single composite elevator at Mayerthorpe is a later construction, built by the AWP in 1966 in order to facilitate the handling of larger quantities of grain. This elevator was connected to an annex built in 1940 to further supplement its grain-handling capacity. Composite wood crib elevators like this were built by a number of companies - most notably the AWP - from the late 1950s until the mid-1980s. They represent the final stage of wood crib construction in the grain industry in Alberta before the introduction in the 1990s of concrete silo designs and the high through-put terminals. The emergence of these larger capacity grain facilities and improvements to provincial highways ultimately rendered this elevator - like so many others in rural Alberta - obsolete.

Grain elevators are singular symbols of the Prairies, reflecting the region's deep economic and social connections to agricultural life and providing striking vertical landmarks against the often monotonous flatness of the West. Like other grain elevator sites in rural Alberta, the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator site was an integral part of Mayerthorpe's social fabric. The site encapsulates a pattern that defines the history of many rural communities - the growth of settlement following the arrival of the railway and the construction of grain elevators, the rise of the co-operative ethos that changed the nature of grain marketing in western Canada, and the closing of grain handling facilities with improvements to the province's transportation infrastructure. The elevator complex thus represents in microcosm a whole range of changes to rural economy and society during the twentieth century.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2096)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator include such features as:

Grain elevator with attached drive shed:
- mass, form, and scale;
- wood crib construction;
- horizontal wood siding;
- paintings of the Alberta Wheat Pool logo and town name "MAYERTHORPE" on the trackside of the elevator and painting of the town's name on the exposed ends;
- fenestration pattern and style;
- arrangement and style of doors, including large drive shed doors;
- original interior elements, including machinery.

Annex:
- mass, form, and scale;
- wood crib construction;
- sheet metal cladding;
- "MAYERTHORPE" painted on the elevation of the exposed gable end;
- original interior elements.

Office building:
- mass, form, and style;
- gable roof;
- horizontal wood siding;
- pattern of windows and doors;
- original interior elements;
- raised walkway between elevator and office.

Site:
- location;
- grassy berms leading up to and away from drive shed;
- wooden ramp from berms into drive shed;
- close proximity to railway line.


Location



Street Address: 4715 - 52 Avenue
Community: Mayerthorpe
Boundaries: Lots 4 and 5, Plan 9521044
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 3

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
9521044
9521044


5
4



Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.955335 -115.135423 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority:
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2007/07/16

Historical Information

Built: 1929 to 1929
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Extraction and Production
Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Grain Elevator
Current Function(s): Leisure : Historic or Interpretive Site
Architect:
Builder:
Context:

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1336
Designation File: DES 2096
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 63205
Website Link:
Data Source:
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