Old Harris CNR Water Tower
208 Railway Avenue N, Harris, Saskatchewan, S0L, Canada
Old Harris CNR Water Tower
CNR Water Tower
Links and documents
1934/01/01 to 1934/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Old Harris CNR Water Tower is a Municipal Heritage Property located on a 290 square-metre parcel of land across from the railway tracks in the Town of Harris. The property features an octagonal-shaped wooden water tower that was constructed in 1934.
The heritage value of the Old Harris CNR Water Tower resides in its unique railway architecture. Built by the CNR (Canadian National Railway) to plan 150-99 and designed to hold 40,000 gallons of water, this eight-sided, wooden structure is an excellent example of the more than 500 railway water towers that were erected during the seventy year period (1880-1950) when steam engines crossed the prairies. Constructed to serve steam locomotives, water towers were a fundamental part of the steam-operated rail system because of the need to fill the locomotives' boilers at regular intervals. A key element in the filling process was the tower's water-level indicator – a float and ball on a mast that rose with the water level in the tub – which signalled to the engineer of an approaching train the amount of water available at that stop. With the shift to diesel in the mid-1950s, however, water towers quickly disappeared from the landscape. Once a common feature at many railway stations throughout the West, the water tower at Harris is one of only nine octagonal-shaped railway water towers in Saskatchewan.
Heritage value also lies in the structure's importance to the local community, whose farmers once used the tower as their main source of water. In 1991, in order to prevent its demolition, the water tower was moved from its original location along the railway tracks to a new location across the street. It remains an important landmark in the community and represents what was once a central part of a group of structures that defined the railway yards of many small towns in Saskatchewan.
Village of Harris Bylaw No. 77/92.
The heritage value of the Old Harris CNR Water Tower resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements that speak to its railway architecture, such as its octagonal shape, its materials and forms (wooden construction, original interior cedar water tank, windows, water-level indicator which includes the original cast-iron mast and float);
-its siting directly across the street from its original location on the railway tracks.
Local Governments (SK)
Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)
Municipal Heritage Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Department of Culture Youth and Recreation
Heritage Resources Branch
1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK
File: MHP 901
Cross-Reference to Collection