Description of Historic Place
McAdam Train Station consists of an imposing 2 ½ storey Chateau-style stone building originally constructed in 1900-01, with later additions in 1910-11. It is situated between a large pond and Saunders Road in the Village of McAdam, New Brunswick.
McAdam Train Station is designated a Provincial Historic Site for its architecture and for being an important symbol of a bygone era when the village was an important transportation gateway to the rest of the world.
The architectural quality and grandeur of the McAdam Train Station is undeniably testament to this effect. It is a rare surviving example of both a station in the Chateau Style and one which combined station and hotel. It is a former Canadian Pacific Railway Station designed in 1899 by the esteemed Canadian architect Edward Maxwell and built in 1900-1901 by contractor Joseph McVay for $30,000. Two similarly styled wings were added in 1910-1911 for dining, hotel and increased baggage facilities. The station is a striking example of the Chateau style of architecture which was favoured by the CPR during the early 20th century as the style of choice for its grand stations and large tourist hotels across Canada.
During the early 20th century, McAdam was the principal junction for trains traveling east and west between Montreal and the Maritimes, and north and south from St. Stephen to Edmundston. At the station’s peak, up to 16 passenger trains a day passed through, and the waiting rooms were filled to overflowing. The strong horizontal emphasis is in an otherwise vertical composition provided by the wide sheltering overhangs at the platform level supported by large, evenly spaced timber brackets. This is a characteristic of the exterior of most late 19th and early 20th century railway stations. Much of the interior detail has been preserved and includes a collection of numerous original artefacts relating to railway and hotel operations.
This strategic position and the importance of the clientele prompted the CPR to erect an especially imposing and noble building, offering complete transportation, telegraph, dining, and hotel facilities along with a single prison cell. The stone façade of locally quarried granite and steep roofs sheltered the station, dining and hotel facilities. At the west end of the ground floor, a very popular lunch counter served refreshments to travelers, while the large formal dining room next door was also available to those waiting for connecting trains. During the heyday of the station, the lunch counter served upwards of 1200 meals a day. The counter closed in 1976. On the second floor, the CPR operated a five-star hotel. At the rear of the station, a six-acre man-made pond, created to provide water for the hotel and trains, is still visible.
Source: Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, Heritage Branch – Historic Places file
The character-defining elements that describe the site of McAdam Train Station include:
- imposing setting of the building on elevated ground at the hub of the village;
- adjacent to the rail yard;
- adjacent to man-made pond.
The character-defining elements that describe the Chateau Style include:
- stone-gabled pointed dormers which punctuate the roofline;
- tower with a pointed spire;
- stone corbelling string courses at the second floor level of the central and north pavilions;
- steeply pitched hipped roofs with bellcast eaves;
- copper roof finials and ridge caps;
- sizeable arched wood frame windows and combined window/door units throughout the main floor;
- 6 over 6 single-hung windows throughout the upper floors;
- oval windows along the lake façade;
- vertical composition provided by the wide sheltering overhangs at the platform level supported by large, evenly spaced timber brackets;
- exterior masonry made of locally quarried grey granite with large, regularly coursed, rock-faced blocks below the platform eave roof;
- some pink granite used at the quoins and window surrounds;
- dressed stone copings with spherical finials articulating the stone gabled dormers along the roof.
The character-defining elements that relate to the interior layout on the ground floor, which retains its principal elements of the combined railway station/hotel uses include:
- freight and baggage wing;
- ticket office;
- station agent;
- telegraph office;
- passenger waiting area;
- formal dining room & kitchen;
- lunch counter;
- neon “lunch” sign on the exterior of the station.
The character-defining elements that describe the second and third floors include:
- double-loaded corridor layout of small hotel rooms with shared bathrooms and an office wing;
- second floor accessible by multiple staircases with simple railings;
- third floor space divided into two towers containing the separate female and male servants’ quarters.
The character-defining elements that relate to the jail include:
- small single holding cell with a protected doorway.
The character-defining elements that relate to numerous original artefacts to the station include:
- original plumbing;
- brass light fixtures throughout the hotel;
- baggage trolleys;
- oak passenger benches;
- dining hall chairs.