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FORMER ENGINEER'S HOUSE

50 and 54 Evergreen Park Close, Brooks, Alberta, T1R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/03/19

Former Engineer's House newly built; Brooks Bulleton, 1912
Front elevation
Former Engineer's House, Brooks; Kathy Ramer, 2007
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Former Engineer's House is an elegant wood-frame bungalow that incorporates elements of classical revival architecture. Built circa 1911, it is located in Evergreen Park in Brooks. The home and yard have been recognized for their heritage value by the City of Brooks Bylaw 07/05.

Heritage Value

The Former Engineer's House has heritage value for its association with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and its development of Brooks and the surrounding area. It has specific associations with CPR engineers A.S. Dawson and Augustus Griffin. This striking bungalow also possesses heritage value as an architectural embodiment of the British colonial mentality still so prevalent in Canada before the first World War.

The CPR played an important role in the settlement of the "last best west." It was a lifeline to pioneers in the transportation of goods, building materials, people and livestock. The transcontinental railway company sent land agents across the world to bring farmers. The work of the CPR engineers to bring water to what surveyor Captain John Palliser called a "barren, infertile, and treeless land" was critical to the development of the community of Brooks. Designed by CPR engineer A. S. Dawson and constructed circa 1911 as his residence, the CPR Engineer's House is a monument to the efforts of CPR staff in the region. Dawson laboured to oversee the construction of the Bassano Dam, the Brooks Aqueduct, the Duke of Sutherland's fine home, and many other company buildings in the CPR's Eastern Irrigation District. The second resident of the home was Augustus Griffin, a widely known irrigation engineer renowned for his outstanding abilities. Griffin's horticultural expertise was of great benefit to the development of the CPR demonstration farm in the area. Research and trials became a valuable resource to farmers trying to understand an untamed, unfamiliar land. Not only did he work very hard himself, he had the skills to inspire others to great accomplishments. The stately elegance and restful shade of Evergreen Park is a living reminder of the days when the CPR headquarters farm covered the western half of Brooks

The bungalow, as a building type, originated in nineteenth-century colonial India, and then spread to other parts of the British Empire. It proved to be a versatile building form with strong symbolic associations. The expansive verandah, in this case with a pediment marking the main entry and supported by Tuscan Order columns, is a typical feature of a bungalow. True divided light window panes are present in the door, front windows, and dormers, providing a visual unity to the home.

Source: EID Archives and Tapping the Bow by Renie Gross and Lea Nicoll Kramer

Character-Defining Elements

The elements that define the site's heritage character include:
- location in Evergreen park amid a row of houses originally built to house CPR staff and affectionately known as "rotten row" because of the privileged lifestyle enjoyed by these residents;
- single storey, with uninterrupted sweeping roofline;
- cedar-shingled hipped roof with two unobtrusive, small dormers that provide light to the hallway;
- Tuscan Order classical columns;
- the verandah on the front and east side of the house to enjoy the yard and its diverse plantings;
- the historic window design with true divided light panes;
- the interior floorplan that speaks of a formal lifestyle, including butler's pantry and a maid's chamber;
- original hardwood flooring;
- yard full of the trial plantings of Augustus Griffin, including arthritic-looking black oaks, white plums that fruit yearly, century-old towering poplars whose girth requires the span of 3 peoples' arms to encircle it, and unusual species of maple and honeysuckle;
- excellent documentation of the life of the house, including original blueprints and historical photos of the house and yard from 1912-1935.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Alberta

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (AB)

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Historic Resource

Recognition Date

2007/03/19

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

A. S. Dawson

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Brooks, 201-1st Avenue West, Brooks, Alberta, T1R 0Z6 (Bylaw 07/05)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

4664-0180

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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