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401 - 1 Street West, High River, Alberta, T1V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/12/19

Museum of the Highwood, High River (April 2006); Town of High River, 2006
Front facade
Museum of the Highwood, High River (1964); Town of High River, 1964
Front facade
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Other Name(s)

High River C. P. R. Station
High River CPR Station
High River C.P.R. Station
High River Canadian Pacific Railway Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1911/01/01 to 1912/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Museum of the Highwood is a one and one-half storey sandstone building. Originally the High River Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station, it is situated prominently along the rail line in the commercial core of High River, Alberta.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Museum of the Highwood stems from its representation of unique Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) design and construction and from its association with the social and economic development of High River.

Designed by master architect Edward Calonna, the 1893 Calgary CPR Station was an impressive sandstone building comprised of two distinct sections: the ticketing and waiting area and the dining facilities. Unique in its deviation from the simple standardized wood frame stations of the period, the building was a demonstration of the CPR's investment in the booming community. In spite of the building's uniqueness and architectural beauty, the station was made quickly inadequate by Calgary's rapid development. In order to make way for larger accommodations, the CPR began dismantling the station in 1910.

The CPR then selected two growing towns along its southern railway line to be the recipients of 'new' stations. These new stations were to be comprised of the two sections of the earlier Calgary station. As such, the larger ticketing and waiting area was relocated and rebuilt in High River in 1911 (CPR Plan: CPRX-21B), and officially opened for public use in the summer of 1912. The High River CPR Station retained all the beauty and uniqueness of the original Calgary design - highlighted by exceptional period detail work, including a series of shaped knee-braces supporting the roof and upper half-storey. Largely unaltered to this day, it remains a unique hallmark to early CPR construction and contributions to the area.

The building is also significant for the vital role the High River CPR Station played in the development of the town. Not only did it foster steady economic growth by facilitating the movement of the region's agricultural goods, but it also served a primary role in the delivery of goods and service, communication (mail and telegraph), regional travel, immigration, and as a cultural centre in the community. Today it stands as a landmark and symbol, exemplifying the early growth (both economic and social) of the burgeoning town.

Source: Museum of the Highwood (History File: High River CPR Station)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Museum of the Highwood include elements of the original CPR design and construction such as:

- the rectangular form, scale and massing;
- the symmetric layout, including apertures and trim;
- the sandstone structure, including sills, lintels, surrounds and returns;
- the bellcast hipped roof with centered (front and rear) dormers;
- the use of wood (cedar) shingles as the primary roofing material;
- the symmetrical knee-braces, including atypical curve and stone supports;
- the double-hung windows and original trim;
- the original exterior doors, transoms and sidelights;
- the extant, original soffits;
- the sandstone chimney;
- the unobstructed view of all elevations.

- the symmetry, volume and form;
- the original remaining elements of the interior, including double-hung windows and doors, maple flooring, baseboard and trim, wainscoting with plate rail, lighting and fixtures, vaulted ceiling, exposed beams and brackets, radiators, ticket counter, office with built-in original shelving, desk and drawers, plaster walls and ceilings, and original tongue-and-groove walls and ceilings.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (AB)

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Architect / Designer

Edward Calonna



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Museum of the Highwood, 309B - Macleod Trail SW, High River, AB T1V 1Z5 (History File: High River CPR Station)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

Front facade


The Canadian Pacific Railway Station is a one and one-half storey building situated on four lots directly east of the Town of High River's commercial core. Built between 1911 and…


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