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Key Number: HS 34621
Site Name: Canadian Northern Railway Station
Other Names:
Site Type: 0803 - Transportation - Rail Facility: Station

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
54 22 4


Address: 9902 - 101 Street
Number: 2
Street: 101
Avenue: 99
Other:
Town: Fort Saskatchewan
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape: Rectangular
Storeys: Storeys: 1 1/2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Nailed Frame
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Bellcast, any roof type
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: Wood braces support overhang, wood shingles on dormers.
- features of third class station plan 100-19, including the mass, form, and scale of the building, roofline configuration with hip roofs at either end of the station and pyramidal roofed central half-storey, corbelled chimney, roof finials, wall dormers, nine-over-one wood, single-hung windows with wood storm sashes, extended bell-cast eaves and brackets, original horizontal wood siding on the exterior and narrower siding profile on the west freight shed addition, shingling on the second storey, original freight doors with transoms, four-panel exterior doors with transoms, interior layout;
- features of the site that express its role as a transportation hub for the region, including its location near the historic centre of the community, platform on the south elevation, and its spatial relationship to historic rail bed and a remnant of the railway line;
- features of the building that evoke its historic character and the nature of materials and craftsmanship common at the time, including original hardware, semaphore, fir flooring, original second floor hallway doors and trim, and original artifacts associated with the site.
Interior: Original trim, including baseboards, picture rails, wainscoting and door and window trim, appear to have been removed and replaced with a simpler profile. Plaster walls were covered with simulated wood wallboard sheets. Wood floors were covered with vinyl tiles and ceilings covered with acoustical tiles.
Environment: The house maintains its prominent environmental relationship on its large lot, west of Fort Saskatchewan's downtown. Additionally, other environmental components, such as a section of tracks, wood platform and lighting poles are extant. The CNR Station in Fort Saskatchewan is in its original location.
Condition: Good. 22 AUG 1972.
Alterations: During the 1990 to 1992 restoration/rehabilitation, the cedar shingle roof was replaced in-kind, in keeping with normal maintenance and good conservation practice. In addition, during the restoration/rehabilitation in the 1990s the interior first-floor spaces were generally upgraded to accommodate meeting and office spaces. The second floor rooms were left intact and retain a high degree of authenticity.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
CONSTRUCTED
1905/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
STATION
1905/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
N/A

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: D-1544 - CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY STATION, FORT SASKATCHEWAN

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: When the Canadian Pacific Railway was planning for its continental line to the pacific coast during the 1870s, a favoured route saw the track proceeding northwest from Brandon, Manitoba through the Yellowhead Pass, crossing the North Saskatchewan River near the small Northwest Mounted Police community of Fort Saskatchewan. In the end, the CPR chose the Kicking Horse Pass, and the line was extended past Fort Calgary in 1883. Eight years later, a subsidiary of the CPR, the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, brought rail service directly to South Edmonton, and Edmonton soon emerged as a district metropolis. In 1904, Edmonton became a city, and the following year it was named the capital of Alberta. As this was taking place, the city was making preparations for the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway, which would give it a direct rail connection with eastern Canada.

Somewhat ironically, the route chosen for the Canadian Northern was roughly that selected for the CPR in 1877, except that, after passing by Fort Saskatchewan, it was made to swing southwest to include Edmonton. Fort Saskatchewan thus received a railway as early as the fall of 1905. In anticipation of this, the community had continued to grow, and in July 1904, it had become a town with over 500 people. It was therefore appropriate that the Canadian Northern construct a station befitting the largest community on its line between Edmonton and North Battleford. While rail construction proceeded therefore, work began on a wood frame station according to a newly devised 100-19 plan, which called for a long, vertical building, with an upper floor to accommodate the station agents and their families. It was located just west of the town center, and was completed in October, 1905. In its immediate vicinity, a large water tower and a Brackman-Kerr elevator were erected at the same time.

Being in the center of a rich farming district, Fort Saskatchewan continued to grow after the arrival of the CNoR. The railway bridge across the North Saskatchewan also served as a traffic bridge, giving the town direct automobile access to Edmonton some 20km away. Several other elevators soon dotted the skyline near the station, and a stockyard was located nearby. The station, which included a telegraph office, continued to serve the community until the late 1980s, until declining rail traffic warranted its closure and the re-location of the CN track away from the downtown core. From 1987 on, all passenger and freight connections were handled in Edmonton. The station survived however, due mainly to the efforts of the Fort Saskatchewan Historical Society, and a plan was worked out whereby CN sold the station and its immediate property, including some track, to the Province of Alberta and the Province immediately re-sold it to Fort Saskatchewan, which had just become a city. In July 1990, the old station was designated a registered historic site.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Canadian Northern Railway Station at Fort Saskatchewan lies in its provision of structural evidence of the development of Fort Saskatchewan during the early part of the 20th century. The station played a central role in the Town's affairs until closed in 1986. It is also significant as a CNoR station, designed according to CNoR's 100-10 plan, devised in 1904.

* * *
RESOURCE C. N. R. Station
ADDRESS Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
BUILT 1905
DESIGNATION STATUS Local Historic Resource

HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

The settlement of Fort Saskatchewan originated in 1875 with the establishment of a North West Mounted Police Fort at the site. The location was seen as the most likely place for the anticipated transcontinental railroad to cross the North Saskatchewan and thus the logical site for a town to develop. Because the Canadian Pacific Railway was ultimately constructed in the 1880's following a southern route, railway service to Fort Saskatchewan was delayed until 1905 and the arrival of the Canadian Northern. In the intervening years the land surrounding the Fort was settled, and the town arose and developed as an agricultural service center. It was the vibrancy with which the town played this role and its location at a prime site for the necessary river crossing that led the Canadian Northern to build through it, assuring that it would continue to grow and develop rather than to languish as did those settled communities that were bypassed. The station was built in 1905, while the railway was under construction. The Fort Saskatchewan station is an example of Canadian Northern Railway station plan No. 100-19. Plan 100-19 was one of a series of standard third class station plans developed by the Canadian Northern for use in its lines throughout Canada. It was introduced in 1904 and featured a specialized floor layout which made it appropriate for use at only more important points in the system.
* * *
RESOURCE C. N. R. Station
ADDRESS 99 Avenue and 101 Street, Fort Saskatchewan
BUILT 1905
DESIGNATION STATUS Registered Historic Resource

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The settlement of Ft. Saskatchewan originated in 1875 with the establishment of a North West Mounted Police Fort at the site. The location was seen as the most likely place for the anticipated transcontinental railroad to cross the North Saskatchewan and thus the logical site for a town to develop. Because the Canadian Pacific Railway was ultimately constructed in the 1880's following a southern route, railway service to Fort Saskatchewan was delayed until 1905 and the arrival of the Canadian Northern. In the intervening years the land surrounding the Fort was settled, and the town arose and developed as an agricultural service centre. It was the vibrancy with which the town played this role and its location at a prime site for the necessary river crossing that led the Canadian Northern to build through it, assuring that it would continue to grow and develop rather than to languish as did those settled communities that were bypassed. The station was built in 1905, while the railway was under construction. After years of heavy construction costs and competition with the parallel Grand Trade Pacific, the Canadian Northern was amalgamated into the federal government-controlled Canadian National Railway System in 1918.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

The railway companies building in Western Canada each developed a number of standard station plans, ranging from the spartan freight shed/passenger shelter built at isolated sidings, to the opulent stations found at the major population centres. The type of structure built was a function of the level of business projected for an area at which a siding was located; the higher the level of service required, the greater the space or level of facilities that would be provided for ticket sales, operation control, freight and baggage handling, and passenger accommodation.

The Fort Saskatchewan station is an example of Canadian Northern Railway station plan No. 100-19. Plan 100-19 was one of a series of standard third class station plans developed by the Canadian Northern for use in its lines throughout Canada. It was introduced in 1904 and featured a specialized floor layout which made it appropriate for use at only more important points in the system.
* * *
Description of Historic Place

The Canadian Northern Railway Station is a one and one half-storey building situated on a single lot near downtown Fort Saskatchewan. Built in 1905 and based on "special station" plan 100-19, the station features a hip roof with bell-cast eaves supported by brackets, dormers on the south and north elevations, and a series of nine-over-one windows. The section of the building that formerly comprised the freight shed features large doors surmounted by transoms. A platform extends along the south elevation.

The heritage value of the Canadian Northern Railway Station lies in its association with the early twentieth-century development of Fort Saskatchewan, its fine representation of a standard third class railway station, and its value as an icon of the central role of railways in opening the province to settlement and agriculture.
(Source: Statement of Significance)

Period of Significance: 1905 to 1918
The period of significance spans the date of the station's construction in 1905, through 1911 when a freight shed extension was built, to the community's early development and growth to 1918 when the newly consolidated CNR began a renovation program by applying stucco to most of its stations in Alberta.

- features of third class station plan 100-19, including the mass, form, and scale of the building, roofline configuration with hip roofs at either end of the station and pyramidal roofed central half-storey, corbelled chimney, roof finials, wall dormers, nine-over-one wood, single-hung windows with wood storm sashes, extended bell-cast eaves and brackets, original horizontal wood siding on the exterior and narrower siding profile on the west freight shed addition, shingling on the second storey, original freight doors with transoms, four-panel exterior doors with transoms, interior layout;
- features of the site that express its role as a transportation hub for the region, including its location near the historic centre of the community, platform on the south elevation, and its spatial relationship to historic rail bed and a remnant of the railway line;
- features of the building that evoke its historic character and the nature of materials and craftsmanship common at the time, including original hardware, semaphore, fir flooring, original second floor hallway doors and trim, and original artifacts associated with the site.
* * *
- Photographs from 1987 show the exterior of the CNoR station in Fort Saskatchewan in a dilapidated state complete with stucco covering on the first floor level. The massing of the building appears to have been unchanged at that time and character-defining elements such as windows, semaphore structure, roof details, chimneys, eave brackets and cedar shingles on the roof and upper walls were intact.

It is likely that the stucco was applied to the exterior of the station shortly after 1918.

- Photographs, dated 1990, show the station's stucco layer removed and horizontal wood siding as well as wood water tables, door and window trim and skirting boards. The original foundation appears to be intact in 1990.

- Photographs, dated 1992, show the exterior of the station in it current condition. Work completed in the years 1990 to 1992 relate to a new full basement concrete foundation, repair and painting of exterior wood siding and trim, re-shingling of the roof with sawn cedar shingles, conservation of wood windows, and conservation and/or replacement of four-panel wood doors and large shed doors and transoms. The restoration of the exterior of the Fort Saskatchewan CNR Station is consistent with its appearance prior to the changes made by the CNR after 1918. The semaphore support structure and interior mechanisms appear in the 1990 photographs without the signal arms. It is likely that the arms that now exist are not original to the station.

Interior
As indicated in 1987 photographs, it appears that although the floor plan was left intact by the CNR, however, the interior of the station proper had been extensively altered by the rail company prior to its decommissioning. Original trim, including baseboards, picture rails, wainscoting and door and window trim, appear to have been removed and replaced with a simpler profile. Plaster walls were covered with simulated wood wallboard sheets. Wood floors were covered with vinyl tiles and ceilings covered with acoustical tiles.

- Photographs, dated 1992, show the station interior in it current condition. Work completed in the years 1990 to 1992 relate to the conservation/restoration of the second floor residential rooms as well as the first floor office area (likely reconstructed components based on the extensive changes by the CNR), and the rehabilitation of the rest of the station, including the basement and freight sheds for modern meeting and office spaces.

Design
The building retains its original mass, form and basic floor plan, complete with a freight shed extension built in 1911. All original exterior design details for this 100-19 plan, noted above in the listing of character-defining elements, are extant and well preserved. The interior has been extensively rehabilitated with modern materials which are distinguishable from the original, however, the design of the station remains recognizable.

Environment
The house maintains its prominent environmental relationship on its large lot, west of Fort Saskatchewan's downtown. Additionally, other environmental components, such as a section of tracks, wood platform and lighting poles are extant.
The CNR Station in Fort Saskatchewan is in its original location.

During the 1990 to 1992 restoration/rehabilitation, the cedar shingle roof was replaced in-kind, in keeping with normal maintenance and good conservation practice.

In addition, during the restoration/rehabilitation in the 1990s the interior first-floor spaces were generally upgraded to accommodate meeting and office spaces. The second floor rooms were left intact and retain a high degree of authenticity.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
1972/08/22
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
2008/09/30
Register:
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1990/06/03

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0701
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