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NOBLE CULTIVATORS RETAIL MANUFACTURING BUILDING

914 Highway Avenue, Nobleford, Alberta, T0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/07/04

Noble Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building Provincial Historic Resource, Nobleford (May 2000); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management, 2000
Noble cultivator
Noble Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building Provincial Historic Resource, Nobleford (May 2000); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management, 2000
Front elevation
Noble Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building Provincial Historic Resource, Nobleford (May 2000); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management, 2000
Side elevation

Other Name(s)

Noble Cultivators and Sales and Service
Noble Cultivators
NOBLE CULTIVATORS RETAIL MANUFACTURING BUILDING

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1942/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/21

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Noble Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building is a rectangular wood frame building with a stucco exterior and vault roof. It is located on one urban lot on Highway Avenue in the Village of Nobleford.

Heritage Value

The historical significance of the Nobleford Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building lies in its direct association with Charles Noble, one of the most successful dryland farmers in western Canada and the inventor of the Noble Blade, an internationally renowned technological innovation in dryland farming. It is also significant for its association with the manufacture and distribution of the Noble Blade.

In 1909, Charles Noble acquired several sections of land south of Kehoe Lake. The rise in grain prices during the First World War helped Noble to prosper and acquire more lands. He won several world grain championships between 1912 and 1916 and by 1917 Noble was managing the largest farming operation in the region. At the end of the war, the Noble Foundation held 30,000 acres and employed up to 300 people, making it the largest dryland farm in the British Empire. Noble was more than just a farmer, however. Since growing up on a farm in Iowa, he had sold horses, managed a real estate firm, and operated both a butcher shop and a farm equipment business. He now applied much of his experience and his inventiveness to his Foundation, experimenting with different approaches to the difficulties posed by dryland farming. In the first half of the twentieth century western farmers and scientists sought effective dryland farming techniques, including different varieties of grain, crop rotation, strip farming, and the use of a protective "trash cover" of vegetation left on the soil. In 1936, while experimenting in his farm machine shop in Nobleford, and working with scientists at the Lethbridge Research Station, Noble invented the Noble Blade, a V-shaped plow blade that permitted weeding without removing the trash cover. Through its use, and other improved techniques in farm management, Alberta farmers began to at least partially recover from the effects of the Great Depression. Noble Farms Ltd. then became Noble Cultivators Ltd., as the production of plow blades soon eclipsed farming as the main focus of the company. News spread, and soon the Noble Blade was being used throughout North America. They were also developed and used in Europe and even the Soviet Union. In 1951 he became the first inductee in the Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The Nobleford Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building is the earliest remaining structural evidence associated with the Noble Blade. Although the blade was not invented at this site, the building housed its manufacture and distribution, and was the firm's main building from 1942 until 1951. In many ways it is typical of the kind of building erected throughout the province at the time to serve various commercial, industrial and recreational purposes. Its design is very simple: a rectangular footprint, with a clear span roof that allowed for complete flexibility in the arrangement of interior spaces. This building was divided into office and manufacturing areas, but could just as easily have contained a kitchen and hall or a retail business of some sort. Its simplicity is typical of rural industrial or commercial buildings in mid-twentieth-century Alberta, and is an important component of the overall agricultural complex of the village.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2077)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Noble Cultivators Retail Manufacturing Building include:
- distinctive quonset form and building scale;
- clear span roof and roof truss system;
- rectangular wood frame;
- pebble dash stucco of the exterior side walls;
- cedar shingles on vault type roof;
- sidewall flat sections are flashed with metal roofing;
- cupola roof vent;
- fenestration pattern including multi-paned wood frame on the side elevations;
- double-hung and single sash units on the front elevation and sections of the two level office portion;
- multi-paneled glazed doors and double freight doors;
- painted shiplap boarding on walls of original section;
- historic floor plan as represented in distinction between office spaces and manufacturing area;
- concrete floor slab of the interior manufacturing area;
- interior roof drainage system expressed on interior walls;
- cinder block welding shop adjoins the NW corner of the original building;
- interior plywood coverings (of roof trusses and walls);
- model Noble Blades.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Alberta

Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date

2002/07/04

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
People and the Environment
Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Industry
Machinery or Other Equipment Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

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. 2077)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

4665-0805

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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