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Wainwright Hotel


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Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Wainwright Hotel is a roughly rectangular, three-storey building with a one-storey rear addition. The hotel has concrete walls, rows of regularly spaced windows on all floors and a pattern of storefront windows and doorways on the ground floor that reflect the original layout of spaces. The hotel's street-facing elevations (east and south) and one of its north facing elevations are clad in painted stucco. Its roofline has a parapet and interrupted projecting canopies supported by decorative brackets. The Wainwright Hotel occupies three lots on the north corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in Wainwright's downtown commercial district.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Wainwright Hotel lies in its excellent representation of poured-in-place concrete construction. It is also significant for its Spanish Colonial Revival design.

The Wainwright Hotel was built in 1929 to replace an earlier hotel which had burnt down, along with the rest of Wainwright's commercial district, in the same year. The devastating loss caused by this fire brought about major changes in construction standards. Rather than rebuild the previous wood-frame hotel, a new and much more substantial hotel was built using poured-in-place, board-formed concrete for its exterior walls. Although valued for its durability and fire-proof qualities, concrete was rarely used in such quantities, particularly in rural communities, due to the difficulties of transporting this heavy material and the greater availability of brick. However, Wainwright residents wanted to prevent the reoccurrence of such a calamitous fire, and concrete seemed like an ideal preventative strategy. At the same time, Wainwright was positioning itself as an important, up-and-coming, population centre and a major railroad tourism destination. The presence of nearby Buffalo National Park, which closed in 1939, and the selection of the Wainwright area as the filming location for a number of Hollywood Westerns in the early 1920s fuelled these hopes and inspired the erection of this substantial hotel with nearly sixty rooms, a restaurant, and a beer parlour.

The Wainwright Hotel is also significant for its architecture. Designed and built by R. H. Trouth, an Edmonton-based architect and contractor, it is not of any one particular style. However, it is most reminiscent of the Spanish Colonial Revival style which characterized some other buildings Trouth built during his career. This style is based on the architecture of the Spanish American colonial period. The rise of railroad tourism across North America and the influence of Hollywood movies, particularly Westerns, led to the popularity of this style in the early 20th century. Built in 1929, the Wainwright Hotel features many elements that speak to this style. Its stucco-covered concrete walls resemble mud-plaster adobe and the belt course running between the first and second storeys gives the illusion of the walls being tapered. The broken parapet also gives the hotel a distinctly fortress-like appearance and the canopy roof projections are covered in red-painted metal intended to resemble clay tiles. The decorative wooden brackets, which support the roof projections, are also common in Spanish Colonial Revival buildings.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2264)

Character-Defining Elements
Key exterior elements that define the heritage value of the Wainwright Hotel include its:
- street-facing exterior walls constructed of poured-in-place concrete covered in stucco;
- rear-facing walls showing bare, board-formed concrete;
- broken parapet with vertically projecting pilasters running along all street-facing elevations;
- canopy roof projections clad in red-painted metal, resembling clay tiles;
- decorative wooden brackets and wooden soffits supporting the canopy roof projections;
- fenestration and doorway pattern, the pattern of the second and third storeys being the same;
- wood-frame window openings with wooden sills;
- stucco-covered belt course running between the first and second storey;
- main entry and paired second and third storey windows located on an angled south facing corner;
- metal fire escape on the north elevation;
- the building's location on one corner of an important intersection and its visual relationship with the Wainwright Clock Tower and other historic buildings in the commercial district.

Key interior elements that define the heritage value of the Wainwright Hotel include its:
- floor plan layout of the second and third floors with central corridors and small, evenly spaced rooms;
- lath and plaster interior walls;
- original wooden trim, doors, banisters, newel posts and staircases;
- presence of original, non-operational, furnace in the basement;
- wood frame and steel supporting structure.


Street Address: 202 - 10 Street
Community: Wainwright
Boundaries: Lots 1 to 3, Block 7, Plan 6445V
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.833944 -110.861210 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/01/30

Historical Information

Built: 1929 to 1929
Period of Significance: 1930/01/01
Theme(s): Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Hotel, Motel or Inn
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Eating or Drinking Establishment
Builder: R. H. Trouth
Context: When the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway completed its line between Saskatoon and Edmonton in 1908, vast tracts of land in east central Alberta south of the Canadian Northern line were opened up for homesteading. At key points along the line, the GTP erected stations and subdivided townsites. One of these was near a small community called Denwood, where a post office and store had been opened in 1907. The new townsite, to where Denwood residents and businesses now moved, was called Wainwright after the second vice-president of the Grand Trunk Railway. One of the structures moved from Denwood to Wainwright was the Denwood Hotel, which soon became the Wainwright Hotel. It was owned by M.L. Forster, a strong community minded individual who served on the first village council and was mayor of Wainwright from 1927 to 1935.

With rapid early growth, Wainwright became a village in July 1908, and a town with over 400 people in July, 1910. The Wainwright Hotel was joined by another hotel, the Park, in about 1912, but the Wainwright remained the main hotel in town until it was destroyed by a fire in 1929, along with much of the business district. By this time, it had been acquired a Mr. H.C. Link. Times were good in rural Alberta in the late 1920s, prohibition had ended, and this may have inspired Mr. Link to build a new and larger hotel right away. Some of the new public buildings, like the post office, were now made of brick, but this one was made of poured concrete, no doubt to secure it against any future fires.

The Wainwright Hotel has remained standing ever since, serving the community and district as the main hotel for most of the 20th century. Its bar was also no doubt one of the favourite watering holes of local residents and district farmers over the years.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1345
Designation File: DES 2264
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 17810
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
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