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Key Number: HS 32261
Site Name: Forestburg Masonic Temple
Other Names:
Site Type: 0202 - Social and Recreational: Club or Lodge


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
42 15 4

Town: Forestburg
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Skirting Board
Main Porch - Material: Wood
Exterior: Rectangular one storey wood frame structure with clapboard siding and a flat roof. It is a plain building with the exception of the front facade which has been embellished with a wooden portico and a wall skirting supported by large brackets.
Interior: N/A
Condition: Though the building displays a high degree of original fabric there are areas requiring attention. The siding is broken in places and there is much peeling paint. The capping boards on top of the exterior walls are rotted and require replacing and the windows should be restored to original condition.
Alterations: The exterior of the buidling exhibits 80% -90% original fabric and design. A chimney has been removed from one exterior wall and the windows have been covered from the interior. The basement is undergoing a complete remodelling and will show no original fabric when complete. The first floor design remains original though there are cosmetic changes. A new ceiling and modern lighting has been added, along with wall panelling. Historical content 40-50%.


Construction: Construction Date:
Usage: Usage Date:
Forestburg and District Museum
Owner: Owner Date:
The Forestburg Historical Society of Forestburg.
Architect: N/A
Builder: Allen Shillinglaw
Craftsman: N/A
History: Historical Significance:
The initial settlement of the Forestburg area took place between 1902 and 1908. The creation of the Forestburg townsite, however, did not occur until 1916 upon the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway in January. Prior to 1916 a number of rural general stores and post offices had served area residents.
Following the arrival of the railway, Forestburg developed in a manner similar to other prairie communities with the construction of elevators, and the opening of various business including a drug store, two lumberyards and a newspaper. The townsite was incorporated as a village in August 19, 1919.
An important part of the social development of the community was the creation of a Masonic Lodge in 1921. Local interest in the Masonic Lodge was evident as early as 1919 when several men of the area joined Excelsior Lodge No. 80 in Strome. On August 14, 1921 a meeting at Forestburg arranged to apply to the Grand Lodge of Alberta for permission to form a Masonic Lodge. Permission was granted and the first formal meeting of Forestburg Lodge No. 128 took place on December 23, 1921 in the Assembly Hall of the Forestburg Consolidated School. Until 1927, the Lodge continued to hold its meetings at the school. When the school was destroyed by fire, the Masons built their own meeting hall. They used this building until 1982 when a second hall was constructed.
The Masonic Order is a fraternal society whose origin can be traced to the stonemasons of the Middle Ages. The Masonic Lodge was first introduced into Alberta in 1882. In the context of the small western Canadian town the Masons - and other groups like the Elks and the Rotarians - performed a public service by their charitable and benevolent activities, in addition to providing a vehicle for social and recreational activity.
Architectural Significance:
The hall was constructed under the direction of Allen Shillinglaw who was probably also responsible for its design. He was a well known carpenter in the area. The Masonic Temple is one of many Alberta halls of utilitarian design with some architectural detailing on the front facade. In the case of the Masonic Hall, the abundance of classically inspired detail on the front facade in contrast to the plain appearance of the rest of the building makes it one of the more unique community halls in Alberta.

* * *
Allen Shilliglaw
Allen Shillinglaw was born March 17th, 1871 adn left this world August 10, 1936. As a baby he was taken to South America where a colony of shepherds known as the 'Shillinglaws' were establishing themselves.
Soon after his parents brought him with his older brother Joseph and his sister Mary Jane a terrible epidemic of cholera struck the colony, taking the lives of so many that the remaining few who were protestants felt they were no longer safe among he Spanis and Indians who were Roman Catholic, so Allen was returned to the place of his birth, near Edinburgh, Scotland.
While still a small boy his father William Shillinglaw took a contract to herd sheep in Cape Colony, South Africa, at a place called Cleft Drift. When the company sold its sheep his family bought cattle and it was Allen's duty to watch them. In doing so he faced a thirty two foot contsrictor snake, a leopard, wild dogs and other dangerous animals.
He was friendly with the natives and learned the languages of the Kiffirs, Hotentots, Boer and a little Zulu. He saw the life of a Kiffir girl saved by native first aid after being bitten by a deadly Puff Ader serpent.
When disease among the cattle made that farming hopeless. Allen and his brother became transportation wagon drivers. The wagons were built to carry ten tons and were pulled by sixteen oxen. The freight was hauled from Grahmstown to Port Alfred and back over dangerous mountain roads and one had to have papers as a wagon driver. Allen was placed in control as a yound boy, when the owner accidently lost an eye, while taking a group of missionaries inland and Allen brought them safely into Grahamstown.
Feeling the need of ecucation Allen became an apprentice in cabinet making; working in the day and going to night school in the evenings.
In 1904 he filed on SE 32 41 15 and his father filed on NE 30 41 15.
He spent that winter building the first hotel in Wetaskiwin. The following spring he began building a house on his land, hauing the lumber from Wetaskiwin with a team of horses. Hauling lumber so far when there were no roads seemed impossible because of coulees and sloughs; sometimes only a mile a day.
In 1906 Allen did a lot of carpenter work for neighbours besides breaking sod with two horses and an ox, on his own land.
In 1906 and 1907 was the worst winter on record in this area. Allen spent the early part of the winter hauling logs from the Battle River.
Going to Wetaskiwin for groceries and hardware and the last part building a log barn, larger than the moss and pole shed.
As soon as possible after Allen had planted his wheat in the spring of 1907 he went to Gwynne to build a house for his friend Mr. Maygard.
Soon he returned and took his family to Alix where he built an extension to a Hotel, then a school at Gwynne. It was winter by the time they got back to the farm.
All this work and worry was hard on his heart. Nevertheless he became a school trustee for the Ruff School, two and a half miles away.
Often after a hard day in the field he would cover the five miles on foot, to rest the horses and still attend the meeting.
Allen began doing carpenter work again. He liked to make built in kitchen cabinets. As there were no undertakers he was often called upon to build burial caskets. He never charged for his labor on these. Often he worked all night to be finished in time for a funeral, after a time he left all the farm work to his sons and built a shop in Forestburg and some of the houses he started are still standing. ...


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Registered Historic Resource
Municipal Historic Resource
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/06/30


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0643
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