Description of Historic Place
Located at the source of the Sulphur Mountain Hot Springs, the Upper Hot Springs Bath House, is a rectangular, two-and-a-half storey, hip roofed structure with slightly bell-cast eaves, constructed of Rundle stone. The swimming pool lies directly in front of the bathhouse, with a wide terrace that runs in front of the building and wraps around three sides of the pool. The principle façade is dominated by a large, centrally positioned, half-timbered dormer resting on a projecting porch with flared stone buttresses. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Upper Hot Springs Bath House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Upper Hot Springs Bath House is a strongly associated with early plans to modernize parks by providing recreational facilities that would rival other international spas. The Upper Hot Springs Bath House, located at the source of the hot springs, is the only extant bath house of the three constructed by the Department of the Interior during the 1930s.
The Upper Hot Springs Bath House is an excellent example of the Queen Anne Revival style with rustic overtones. This design was used by the Department of the Interior to create a distinctive architecture for buildings constructed in Banff during the 1930s. Its vocabulary of natural materials create a rustic appearance that is in keeping with the natural setting.
The Environmental Value
Situated 600 feet above the town of Banff on the side of Sulphur Mountain, the Upper Hot Springs Bath House commands a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside and offers the exhilarating experience of bathing out of doors at an altitude of 5,280 feet. It is a conspicuous landmark in Banff National Park and a large number of people have used its facilities regularly since it was opened in 1932. The building’s design and use of natural materials establishes the character of its picturesque, mountain park setting.
Jacqueline Adell, Upper Hot Springs Bath House, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta
Federal Heritage Building Report 84-54; Upper Hot Springs Bath House, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 84-54.
The character defining elements of Upper Hot Springs Bath House should be respected.
Its Queen Anne Revival style with rustic overtones, very good quality materials and craftsmanship such as:
-its simple rectangular, two-and-a-half storey, hip-roofed structure with slightly bell-cast eaves whose principal façade is distinguished by a prominent mock half-timbered gable resting on a projecting porch with flared buttresses;
-its symmetrically placed hipped dormers and low eave line;
-its rustic character created by the use of materials which are natural in color and rough in texture and includes, irregularly coursed split-faced limestone walls, wood shakes on the roof, exposed wooden rafter tails at the eaves, and the half-timbering and stucco accents;
-its windows, contributing to the texture and interest of the facades, arranged in groupings of two, three and six and with segmentally-arched heads on the main level;
-its overall configuration of the windows with transoms over the large lower sash, which is consistent with Queen Anne Revival design.
The manner in which the prominent setting, distinctive design and ongoing relationship with the public pool, make the Upper Hot Springs Bath House a familiar landmark and well known to visitors of Banff National Park.