Description of Historic Place
The Brazeau Warden Cabin is a single storey log cabin with an overhanging medium-pitched gable roof projecting in the front and forming a porch. The cabin is located at the Brazeau Warden Station in the Brazeau River Valley on the South Boundary Trail of Jasper National Park of Canada in a large, open, gently sloping, grassy area enclosed by a fence. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Brazeau Warden Cabin is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Brazeau Warden Cabin is associated with the 1950s and the 1960s post-war modernization program in the national parks and is directly associated with the central role and long-standing tradition of warden patrols in the development of the Mountain Parks and the associated recreational activities and wildlife management within the park boundaries. Replacing an earlier 1920s cabin, the Brazeau Cabin was built as a year-round residence for the park wardens enabling them to carry out their responsibilities of fire protection and enforcement of regulations to protect wildlife within the national parks. The Brazeau Cabin is also associated with several wardens, including Max Winkler and Mac Elder, who lived there with their families and who went on to become Chief Park Wardens and Superintendents.
The Brazeau Warden Cabin is a good example of a year round residence for the wardens’ families and a good illustration of the Rustic tradition of architecture in Canada’s national parks, which is characterised by the use of local materials and construction techniques to harmonize with its natural surroundings. This rectangular, single storey cabin features horizontal saddle-notched log walls, gable roof, off centre door and window in the front, two windows on the two sides, and an imaginative design of the porch employing small wooden posts that retain the natural knots. The design of the cabin is based on a standard plan developed by Parks Canada engineer, James T. Childe, which was modified by Art Allen, a prolific and skilled builder. Though a simple building type, the cabin exhibits a good understanding of the needs of the warden’s families through its multi-room interior consisting of a kitchen and dining area, two bedrooms, and a root cellar. The Brazeau Warden Cabin demonstrates very good quality workmanship, handling of materials, and attention to detail.
The Brazeau Warden Cabin is compatible with the natural surroundings of the park due to its design and construction materials and methods. Located within the Brazeau Warden Station in the centre of an open and gently sloping grassy area surrounded by a fence, the historical relationship between the building and its associated natural landscape has changed but its character is retained. Due to its remote location and visibility from the trail, the Cabin is only familiar to frequent backcountry visitors to this area of the national park and to Parks Canada employees of Jasper National Park.
Sources: Rhona Goodspeed, Three Buildings: Warden Patrol Cabin, Equiment Shed and Wood Shed, Brazeau, South Boundary Trail, Jasper National Park of Canada, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 05-102; Brazeau Warden Cabin, Brazeau Warden Station, South Boundary Trail, Jasper National Park of Canada, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 05-102.
The character-defining elements of the Brazeau Warden Cabin should be respected.
Features that illustrate the 1950s and the 1960s post-war modernisation in the national parks:
- its remote location near the South Boundary Trail;
- its standard vernacular log-cabin design typical of a patrol cabin.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, as manifested in:
- its simple, well-proportioned, one storey rectangular massing with a overhanging, medium-pitched gable roof over the front to form a porch;
- its Rustic aesthetic, as expressed by the use of locally available materials such as wood and indigenous construction techniques such as horizontal saddle-notched logs;
- its rectangular plan and simple elevation with an off-centre door and two windows on either side and one beside the door;
- its functional and versatile multi-room interior layout, comprising a kitchen/dining area in the front, bedrooms at the back, and a root cellar beneath the kitchen;
- the use of natural and rustic finishes including horizontally laid peeled log walls, exposed purlins and rafters on the ceiling, and plywood floors;
- the well executed and imaginative detailing of the porch including small wooden posts of peeled knots supporting the projecting roof purlins.
Its compatibility with the natural character of the setting as evidenced in:
- the choice of locally available materials, rustic design and detailing;
- its scenic and remote location.