Canadian Pacific Railway Station - High River, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 50° 34.754 W 113° 52.318
12U E 296674 N 5606973
Quick Description: This railway station has more than one quite rare characteristic, none of which may be obvious to the casual observer. It is at 406 - 1st Street Southwest, just east of the downtown core of High River.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 7/24/2014 12:55:50 AM
Waymark Code: WMM59G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 1

Long Description:
First, it is one of the very few stations on the prairies built of sandstone - the vast majority built at the time were built of wood. Second, it is one of the few stations not constructed according to a standardized plan - most were built from one of an array of plans, each one designed to provide the services and facilities required in a given type and size of community. And finally, it is one of only two stations in Alberta known to have been built twice.

The station was initially built in Calgary in 1893. It consisted of two buildings joined by a canopy. In 1911, with construction of a new, larger station in Calgary, the old one was dismantled, stone by stone and the the west half of it was rebuilt in High River while the east half was reassembled in Claresholm.

Diminishing passenger travel forced its closure in 1965, even though the CPR dayliner continued to make stops in High River until 1971. In 1983 the station was entered in the Alberta Register of Historic Places. Today it is home to the Museum of the Highwood.


In 1972, the Museum of the Highwood in High River approached the CPR with regard to leasing the old station and turning it into a museum. The CPR was agreeable, and the lease was set at $120 per year plus utilities and maintenance. The CPR station thus began its new life as a museum in 1973, following the example of its counterpart in Claresholm. Then, in 1977, the station was acquired by the Town of High River, and a park was landscaped around it, while the museum continued to be developed. In 1983, the station-museum was designated a registered historic resource.

Description of Historic Place
The Canadian Pacific Railway Station is a one and one-half storey building situated on four lots directly east of the Town of High River's commercial core. Built between 1911 and 1912, the station features a rough-faced sandstone exterior, bellcast hip roof, wide bracketed eaves, and gable dormers.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station in High River lies in its fine and rare representation of early sandstone railway station architecture. It also possesses heritage value for its historic role as the main facilitator of transportation for the district and as a symbol of the centrality of the railways in opening Alberta to settlement.

High River's Canadian Pacific Railway Station is an architectural rarity in the Prairies - a rural sandstone railway station not constructed according to a standardized plan. Most other stations in the rural communities of western Canada were made of wood and built on the basis of architectural templates. The High River station was originally constructed in Calgary in 1893 and consisted of two buildings joined by a continuous canopy. The desire for a new station in Calgary and the growing need for improved railway facilities in the promising settlements of High River and Claresholm convinced the Canadian Pacific Railway to dismantle the Calgary station stone by stone between 1910 and 1911 and to reconstruct - with modifications - the west half of it in High River and the east half in Claresholm. Built between 1911 and 1912, the High River station featured a rough-faced sandstone exterior, bellcast hip roof, and wide bracketed eaves. Unlike its predecessor in Calgary, the High River station possessed no second floor and included decorative dormers on only two elevations - the front and track-side - rather than on all four. This impressive sandstone structure, built according to a modification of the original Calgary plan, remains a significant local landmark in High River and an elegant model of railway design.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station in High River was intimately related to the economic and social development of the surrounding district. In 1891, construction on a southern extension of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway line was initiated. High River initially emerged along the track as a siding and was later integrated into a newly subdivided townsite. The community expanded rapidly. In 1901 it was incorporated as a village; by 1911, it boasted five banks, four hotels, and had become a stock- and grain-shipping centre for southern Alberta. High River's growing importance and future promise suggested the need for an upgrade of the simple wood frame station erected in the community in 1893. The new sandstone station was completed in 1912 and became the main transportation facilitator in the district between 1912 and 1965. Improvements in highway infrastructure led to the closure of the station in 1965, though the Dayliner continued to stop at High River until 1971. It remains a powerful symbol of the historic significance of the railway in fostering economic and social development in Alberta.

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Station in High River include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- wood-shingled, bellcast hip roof;
- decorative dormers and rough-faced sandstone chimney;
- rough-faced sandstone exterior;
- wide bracketed eaves;
- fenestration pattern and style, including stippled office windows;
- pattern and style of doors;
- box beams in roof;
- original interior features, including wood panelling, mouldings,flooring, doors, windows, fixtures, and fittings.

From the Alberta Register of Historic Places

CP Railway Station - High River, AB

Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: Depends on the day - there is a parking lot just to the north

Placement agency: Province of Alberta

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