DICKSON STORE AND SITE
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Dickson Store and Site consists of three main buildings: a two-storey, L-shaped, wood frame building, a garage, and a lumber storage shed. The site also contains several significant landscape features, including the lawn, flag pole and garden. It is located on one lot in a rural area about 3.2 kilometres south of Spruce View.
The heritage value of the Dickson Store and Site lies in its association with Danish immigration to Alberta. It also possesses heritage value for its representation of a rural commercial establishment supporting a local agricultural economy.
In 1903, Carl Christiansen and 17 of his Danish compatriots settled west of Innisfail. Like many Scandinavian immigrants to the Canadian West, they had spent several years in the United States before pulling up stakes and crossing the northern border. Six years after arriving, Christiansen opened a general store in the community, then known as Dickson. The Dickson Store and Site became the commercial heart of the Danish settlement: in addition to providing lumber and dry goods, the store also bought and sold locally-produced eggs, butter, and fresh meats. Christiansen provided other services to the community as well, serving as the first postmaster, a deacon in the nearby Danish Lutheran Church, and a contact person for new Danish immigrants during the inter-war period.
Over the course of its history, the Dickson Store and Site evolved to meet the needs of the area's growing agricultural community. The store is a simply constructed, balloon-framed building. Three additions to the store were built between 1911 and 1930 and a lumber storage shed was constructed in 1928. An ice cooler was acquired in 1919, allowing the store to become the central local distribution point for the nearby Markerville Creamery. In 1947, Christiansen established some of Alberta's earliest rural freezer lockers for a processed meat plant. These expansions reflected the growth of the settlement in the inter-war period, as Danes discouraged from settling in the United States by new quotas on European immigration opted instead to take up land in central Alberta.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: 1584)
The character-defining elements of the Dickson Store and Site include:
- form, scale, massing and wood construction of the store, garage, and the lumber storage shed;
- the store's balloon frame construction with drop siding, gable roof, and fenestration pattern including inset entrance door and display windows on the main facade;
- original store interior finishes such as fir flooring, as well as exterior siding visible on interior walls indicating building's evolution and expansion;
- original store equipment such as accounts register and coffee grinder, as well as store merchandise complete with original packing;
- store layout, including the post office and meat locker with cold room door;
- layout of second floor residence with some original family belongings;
- lumber storage shed, with its distinctive form, raked front facade and sloping interior lumber bins;
- landscape features including lawn, flag pole and garden.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
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. 1584)
Cross-Reference to Collection