Categorized | News

Fort Macleod buildings provincial historic sites

The Union Bank building

The Union Bank building was recently added to the provincial list of buildings that are protected under the Alberta Historical Resources Act.

The R.T. Barker building

The R.T. Barker building is on the provincial list of buildings that are protected under the Alberta Historical Resources Act.

Two more Fort Macleod buildings have been added to the Provincial Historical Resource list.
The R.T. Barker building across from the Empress Theatre and the Union Bank building across from the old Java Shop have been designated to the provincial list of buildings that are protected under the Alberta Historical Resources Act.
Both buildings are now owned by Gary and Helen Temoin, who make the Union Bank building their residence.
“We had been in contact with the Government of Alberta, Heritage Division, since we purchased the buildings 10 years ago . . . to designate them as a provincial historical resource,” Gary Temoin said. “The designations were confirmed in January. We are pleased that future generations of Albertans will be able to visit Fort Macleod and see these buildings first hand along with several other buildings already designated.”
The two latest additions brings to eight the number of Fort Macleod sites on the Provincial Historical Resource list.
The others six are the present Fort Macleod Town Office, the Grier Block on Second Avenue, the Empress Theatre on Main Street, the Renwick Building otherwise known as Andrews Hardware on Main Street, the A.Y. Young Drug Store on Main Street, now home to Prairie Winds Gallery, and the 1884 North West Mounted Police Barracks.
The R.T. Barker Building located at 232 Main Street is a Sears catalogue sales outlet. It was originally built by Richard Thomas Barker, a businessman from Buffalo, New York, who arrived in Fort Macleod in 1882.
Barker built the present structure in 1909 after the original wooden structure was destroyed by fire. Barker continued to operate a dry goods store and clothing retail store, as well as serving on Fort Macleod’s first town council, until he died in 1932.
The R.T. Barker building is typical of the two-storey masonry construction and simplified Edwardian Classical Revival architectural style that was popular in commercial buildings in Alberta towns in the first decades of the 20th century.
The Union Bank building at 2301 Second Ave. was built by David J. Grier, a former North West Mounted Police officer who had established himself as a prosperous rancher and entrepreneur in Fort Macleod.
In 1900, the Union Bank of Canada moved into the two-storey brick building. The first floor accommodated day-to-day banking operations, while the second floor was reserved for office space and a dwelling for the manager. In 1911, a third floor with a mansard roof was added.
The Union Bank is a rare example of the Second Empire architectural style with its third storey mansard roof and iron cresting.
“Designation to the Historical Resources list means, essentially, that any changes to these buildings must now be approved by our ministry prior to taking place,” Historic Places Research and Designation Program manager Matthew Wangler explained. “Only projects that are consistent with good heritage conservation are approved. It also means that the sites are listed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places and that the owners of these sites are eligible to apply to the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation for matching grants to undertake conservation work.”
“Both these buildings were designated as resources that contribute to the heritage character of the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area,” Wangler added. “The commercial core of Fort Macleod is one of Alberta’s premier heritage districts, and these two buildings are vital contributors to the historic character of the area. The Union Bank Building also possesses individual merit as a representation of an early and significant financial institution in Alberta.”

Subscribe Online Current Edition

Explore Spectacular Southwest Alberta (PDF)

2021 Explore Southwest Alberta magazine cover