Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator is a traditional grain elevator clad in sheet metal with an attached drive shed and an office/engine house connected to the main structure by a covered walkway. The elevator is located on Meadowview Drive in St. Albert on a 0.8 hectare parcel of land. It is situated adjacent to the Canadian National Railway line and beside an Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator which is not included in the designation.
The Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator possesses heritage value as one of the oldest extant elevators in the province built by one of its earliest grain companies. Grain elevators possess significance as both embodiments of the dominant method of grain storage and transportation throughout most of the twentieth century in Alberta and as icons of the province's social and agricultural history.
The construction of two railway lines to Edmonton - the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891 and the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) in 1905 - opened up central-northern Alberta to agricultural settlement and spurred the growth of a grain economy in the region. In anticipation of the CNoR line being extended northwest, and caught up in the optimism about the area's prospects for development, the Alberta Grain Company built an elevator in St. Albert in 1906 (although the line was not extended for another three years). The 30,000 bushel, rectangular, gasoline-powered structure is one of the earliest extant elevators in Alberta; indeed, the first elevator of this type in Alberta had been built only ten years before. Throughout the course of its history, the Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator site was owned by a number of companies who played leading roles in the province's grain economy, including: the Alberta Grain Company, the Alberta Pacific Grain Company, the Federal Grain Company, and the Alberta Wheat Pool. In 1937, the grain elevator was raised vertically in order to increase bin capacity. This was a technique for moving higher volumes of grain before the construction of adjacent annexes became common. Consequently the elevator was able to operate until 1989 when St. Albert was closed as a railway point for grain export.
Grain elevators are singular symbols of the Prairies, reflecting the region's deep economic and social connections to agricultural life and providing striking vertical landmarks against the often monotonous flatness of the West. Like other grain elevators in Alberta, the Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator was an integral part of St. Albert's social fabric. The site encapsulates a pattern that defines the history of many of Alberta's early communities - the growth of settlement following the arrival of the railway and the construction of grain elevators, the rise of the co-operative ethos that changed the nature of grain marketing in western Canada, and the closing of older grain elevators in recent decades as a result of improvements to the province's transportation infrastructure and the development of mass storage facilities for grain. The elevator complex thus represents in microcosm a whole range of changes to Alberta economy and society during the twentieth century. Together, the Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator and the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator form an elevator row that is a landmark for the community of St. Albert.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (Files: Des. 1723 and Des. 2173)
The heritage value of the Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator lies in such character-defining elements as:
- the scale and massing of the grain elevator;
- the tall rectangular design expressing its grain handling function, with wooden crib construction, exposed structural members, sloping shoulder design, wood framing, and cupola;
- metal cladding of pattern pressed galvanized sheet metal overtop of lapped wood siding;
- in situ components of the grain handling systems, such as the elevator leg and distributor, weigh scale, hopper scale, and drive shed scale bed, control wheel and levers, electric motors, bins, hopper, belts and pulleys for the vertical conveyor belt, wood bins and chutes, and man-lift;
- fenestration pattern;
-prominent corporate signage;
- spatial relationships between the Alberta Grain Company Grain Elevator, the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator, and the railway line.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1937/01/01 to 1937/01/01
1989/01/01 to 1989/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Food Supply
- Grain Elevator
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. 2173)
Cross-Reference to Collection