BASHAW FIRE HALL
1922 Fire Hall
Old Bashaw Firehall
Links and documents
1914/01/01 to 1915/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Bashaw Fire Hall is a one-storey building with a false facade and a bracketed cornice on the east (front) and north elevations concealing a gently sloping shed roof. It features pressed metal siding and a central tower with a flagpole. The fire hall is located on a corner lot in Bashaw's commercial district.
The heritage value of the Bashaw Fire Hall lies in its historical association with the provision of firefighting services and the consolidation of other necessary municipal services in a multi-use civic building. The structure is also characteristic of small town fire hall construction in Alberta.
The Town of Bashaw developed relatively late in Alberta's early twentieth century settlement boom. Although settlers began arriving in the region during the 1890s, the townsite itself did not develop until the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1910. Bashaw was incorporated as a village in 1911. With most buildings in new communities constructed from wood, fire protection was of paramount importance for most new communities. Communities that demonstrated an ability to offer fire protection received discounted rates on insurance. The Bashaw Fire Hall was the first public building authorized by the village council. Built between 1914 and 1915, it was to serve the village's volunteer fire brigade, but has also served numerous other purposes. It was used for many civic gatherings, such as public forums, meetings of the village council, elections and tax-revision court sessions, well into the 1930s. During the 1950s, a small library, maintained by the Women's Institute, was also housed at the rear of the fire hall. The building also saw significant use as a police station. Starting in the 1920s, the Alberta Provincial Police and/or the municipal police had their detachment here. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also used the building from 1948 to 1968. The town's fire department remained in the building until 1972. The Bashaw Fire Hall is an excellent example of the type of multi-use civic buildings constructed by small communities throughout Alberta in the early twentieth century.
The Bashaw Fire Hall is a fine example of a vernacular structure that was adapted to meet the changing needs of a small community. In its modest size and simple wood-frame construction, the building is typical of the kind of civic structures erected by rural Alberta communities in the early twentieth century. Decorative elements like the false front, red and white paint scheme, brackets and cornice, and diamond-shaped window in the tower define the building's distinctive character and may reflect the fire hall's civic importance as Bashaw's first public building. The numerous alterations to the building speak to the fire hall's easy adaptability to changing circumstances and needs. Its original identity as a fire hall is clearly evident in the hose-drying tower and 37,000 gallon poured-in-place concrete water tank. The jail cells on the main floor speak to its function as a police station and its versatile interior configuration embodies its general civic use.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1542)
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Bashaw Fire Hall are such elements as:
- original location along the Town of Bashaw's main commercial street;
- centrally located square hose-drying tower with diamond shaped window, pyramidal roof and flag pole;
- false facade with wood parapet, frieze with vertical boards and cornice with decorative brackets on the east (front) and north elevations;
- original pressed metal siding on former west (rear) elevation (now an interior wall in the building's storage area);
- extensive red and white painted trim on tower, facade, door and window frames.
- frame construction of 2x4 and 2x6 wooden beams support by 12 inch poured-in-place concrete footings;
- configuration of the interior floor plan that delineates the provision of multi-function civic services;
- two jail cells, one with a steel door and one with a heavy wooden door;
- wood slat ceiling;
- ceiling access door to the hose-drying tower;
- original lighting fixtures;
- fire resistant concrete storage vault with a steel door;
- 37,000 gallon, poured-in-place concrete water storage tank under the floor.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Fire Station
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1542)
Cross-Reference to Collection