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Key Number: HS 12415
Site Name: Claresholm CPR Station
Other Names: Canadian Pacific Railway Station Building
Site Type: 0803 - Transportation - Rail Facility: Station


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
12 27 4

Address: 5126 - 1 Street W
Number: 26
Street: 1 W
Avenue: 51
Town: Claresholm
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Rectangular Long Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 1 1/2
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Low Hip
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: None
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 9 Bays or more
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Panel
Wall Design and Detail: Quoins
Wall Design and Detail: String or Belt Course
Wall Design and Detail: Plinth
Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Fascia
Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Soffit
Roof Trim - Eaves: Brackets
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Wood
Roof Trim - Verges: Not Applicable
Roof Trim Material - Verges: None
Dormer Type: Gable
Dormer Type: Gable, Projecting Eaves
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Offset Left
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Centre
Chimney Stack Material: Stone
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Roof Trim - Special Features: Other
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: None
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Window - Sill Type: Continuous Sill
Window - Sill Material: Stone
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Window - Number of Sashes: Two, Double Hung
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Special Types: Bay or Bow, 2 or More Storeys
Main Entrance - Location: 2 or More (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: None
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Stone
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Multiple Lights
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 1
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 3
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Open Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: None
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Main Porch - Material: None
Main Porch - Height: None
Exterior: Gable dormer, wood support brackets, decorative wood shingles on gable dormer, extened bay window under gable dormer, doublehung windows set into structure, raised belt course.
Interior: Exposed beams with bracketing, wood moulding, ticket.
Environment: Property Features: None Northeast of Highway 2 going through Claresholm.
Condition: N/A
Alterations: Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: None Site: Original


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Transportation - Rail Facility: Station
Educational: Museum or Gallery
Owner: Owner Date:

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Building originally moved from Calgary.
*  *  *
The first railway station was in a box car.  The second station was a 2 storey frame building, built in 1895.  Later moved down the track to be used as CPR agents house, when the sandstone building presently used as a museum was moved from Calgary where it was used as a station.
*  *  *
Claresholm's Museum, is in the historic sandstone railway station building.   It offers a glimpse into our past and early farming and ranching history.

Find out all about interesting people from our past. Claresholm was home to, and represented by Louise C. McKinney, the first woman parliamentarian in the Commonwealth. Established in 1969, the Claresholm Museum has long been committed to preserving and exhibiting the history of this unique region of southern Alberta. The centrepiece of the Museum is its historic sandstone railway station which was originally part of Calgary's 9th Ave. C.P.R. depot in 1886. Since being re-built in Claresholm in 1912, this impressive structure has not lost any of its former grandeur. Also included on site is Claresholm's first school built in 1903 and a unique pioneer log cabin. Surrounding the buildings are the Louise McKinney Memorial Gardens, named in memory of the famous Claresholm resident who became the first woman to be elected to a legislature in Canada and the British Empire in 1917. In addition to a rich heritage of farming and ranching, Claresholm can boast of its war-time activity when pilots from around the Commonwealth earned their wings at its flight training school during W.W.II. The Claresholm Museum also houses an extensive archives of photographs and printed material related to the Claresholm area. From the serious researcher to the casual traveller, the Claresholm Museum offers an unexpected attraction. Located on Highway No. 2, Claresholm.
* * *

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: When the Calgary & Edmonton Railway was extended south from Calgary in 1891, a number of sidings were erected along the rail line. Several of these were transformed into stations, around which townsites were subdivided. One of these was at Claresholm, where the first station, a transformed boxcar, was replaced with a wood frame structure in 1895. Claresholm itself quickly grew into a lively farming community, and was incorporated into a village in 1903. Two years later, it became a town with over 400 people. Growth continued and, by 1911, it was evident that the small wood frame station was no longer large enough to handle the increasing rail traffic, the bulk of which consisted of exported farm produce. Passenger traffic was also extensive during the first part of the 20th century, and most of the food, goods and supplies sold in the local stores were imported via the CPR, which was the parent body of the C & E.

Also outgrowing their earlier constructed stations by 1911 were the Town of High River and the City of Calgary. As a result, and choosing not to be wasteful, the parent body of the CPR decided to make use of the old Calgary station by dividing this 1893 sandstone structure in two and relocating the larger portion in High River and the smaller portion in Claresholm. This was accordingly done, with much internal restructuring, during 1911-12, to the great satisfaction of the Claresholm Review. For the next 54 years, the sandstone station in Claresholm would serve this Town and the district as a regular country station, providing freight and passenger service, and facilitating the telegraph. For 38 of these years, the station agent was Teddy Mack, who lived on the second floor of the station with his family. Mack was a highly visible member of the community, serving on the local Board of Trade and with numerous other organizations. Due, no doubt, to his position with the CPR, he did not run for Town Council.
By the mid 1950's, rail transport was in decline in Claresholm, as it was in other communities in the West. The paving of Alberta Highway #2 between Calgary and Fort Macleod in particular made truck and bus transport more cost effective for businesses and passengers. Accordingly, it was announced that the CPR passenger dayliner would operate only three times per week. It was also announced that most of the freighting operation would be centralized in Lethbridge. As a result, and to the objection of Town Council, the station in Claresholm was declared to be redundant. In negotiations with the Town however, the CPR agreed not to demolish the building, but to lease it to the Town, which would use it as a museum, provided that the Town provide some sort of facility for the dwindling number of rail passengers.
The CPR station in Claresholm thus began its new life as a museum in 1966. In later years, it was proposed to have the structure designated an historic site by the Province. The CPR, however, still held title to the property, and was averse to the idea as it would come with a commitment to retaining the structure in perpetuity. In more recent times however, the Town was able to purchase the property, and, as the owner, it is now seeking to have the building designated.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the CPR station in Claresholm lies in its service as the main facilitator of transportation for the Town and district, for both freight and passengers, from 1911 to 1966. It is also important as a community landmark, both in its service as a station and as a museum.
* * *
RESOURCE C. P. R. Station
ADDRESS Claresholm
BUILT 1911 to 1912
DESIGNATION STATUS Local Historic Resource


The C. P. R. 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 Macled. A wooden two-storey frame station was built at Claresholm by 1895 but as immigrants and homesteader 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 even such as special trains, whether 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, councilor 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 uniquely sandstone both in the area and among old railway stations which exist.


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
WANG 1981/04/02


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0895
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