Links and documents
1909/01/01 to 1909/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The R. T. Barker Building is a two-storey commercial building situated on a single lot along Fort Macleod's historic main street. Erected in 1909, the building features a rusticated sandstone exterior and a storefront with a recessed entryway and transoms.
The heritage value of the R. T. Barker Building lies in its identity as a contributing resource to the heritage character of the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area.
Shortly after the North West Mounted Police established Fort Macleod on an island of the Oldman River in 1874, a community developed outside the fort. When the police relocated their quarters in 1884 to the south bank of the river west of the island, the settlement followed, and Fort Macleod became a commercial centre for the expanding cattle industry in the southern foothills. By 1892, the Calgary and Edmonton Railway had been extended to the community and Fort Macleod was large enough to be incorporated as the Town of Macleod.
Being the centre of an expanding ranching and farming industry, Macleod saw much activity in its downtown core. One of the early entrepreneurs to establish a business in the community was Richard Thomas Barker, who arrived from Buffalo, New York in 1882. Trained as a cabinet maker, Barker's first enterprise was a furniture store. In 1889, he expanded his business into a large general store, and in 1902, he reduced his product line to dry goods. Barker served on Macleod's first town council, and he was an active member of the Board of Trade for several years. Barker died in 1932.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Macleod's commercial area included a well developed main street complete with boardwalk. A fire in 1906, however, destroyed most of the street's wood frame buildings and resulted in the passage of a bylaw requiring future main street buildings to be constructed of brick or stone. The presence of several sandstone quarries in the Macleod area resulted in this material being particularly prominent in the re-construction of the community's downtown. Barker had a new building constructed of sandstone and brick in 1909, and from this location, he continued to operate his dry goods and clothing retail business. Although it has been altered, the R.T. Barker Building retains the robust, two-storey masonry construction and simplified Edwardian Classical Revival architectural style that was typical of buildings in commercial cores throughout Alberta towns in the first decades of the twentieth century. The building contributes to the heritage character of the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area, one of Alberta's premier historic districts.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2279)
Character-defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the R. T. Barker Building include:
- mass, form and symmetrical fenestration;
- two-storey sandstone facade with rock-faced blocks flanked by piers;
- raised parapet;
- carved lintels on second storey windows;
- sign band;
- recessed entry with large symmetrical store-front windows.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
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. 2279)
Cross-Reference to Collection