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Root Cellar, Building 13

Longview, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/11/15

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Other Name(s)

Root Cellar, Building 13
Root Cellar, Building 13
Cave à légumes, bâtiment 13

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/05/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Root Cellar at the Bar U Ranch is a utilitarian storage structure, comprised of a subterranean cellar with a wood frame entrance shed above that is partially buried with banked-up earth. The cellar portion consists of an excavated cellar with rocks lining its interior walls. A mound of earth, probably over a substructure of logs or timbers, covers the hollow. The shed portion, of frame construction using milled lumber, shelters the stairs leading to the underground space. The shed is sheathed with shiplap and its roof clad with cedar shingles. The colour scheme of the shed (barn red walls and white trim) is in keeping with tradition across the Prairies. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Root Cellar is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Bar U Ranch complex is one of the best examples of the development of the ranching industry in Alberta and its importance in the development of Canada. The Root Cellar played a supporting role to this development, and is believed to have been constructed in association with either the existing Bunkhouse/Cookhouse or its predecessor. Root cellars such as this were commonly built in rural Canadian locations to store vegetables and other food items. The building is associated with George Lane, a prominent Alberta cattleman, who was hired at Bar U in 1884 to serve as the ranch foreman and who ran the ranch between 1902 and 1925. The root cellar is also associated with Patrick Burns, who purchased the ranch in 1927 to add to his vast cattle empire. Burns, who is recognized as the kingpin of the meat processing industry in western Canada during the mid-1920's, has been designated a person of national significance.

Architectural Value
The Root Cellar is a very good example of functional design and form, construction materials and techniques. Basic function was the main concern in its configuration and was achieved through the utilitarian nature of its design.

Environmental Value
The Root Cellar is part of a cohesive complex of buildings arranged to great functional effect and reinforces the present visual character of the Bar U Ranch. The structure is located within the community center and maintains a physical and functional orientation and relationship. The exposed section of the Root Cellar and its relationship with the mound of soil around it contributes to the building's visual cohesiveness within the site and to its utilitarian character. It is also a component of the collection of pre-1927 buildings, which contribute to the landmark value of the complex as one of the region's most important early ranch sites.

Edward Mills, Historic Bar U Ranch Headquarters, Longview, Alberta, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 92-017.

Root Cellar (Building 13), Bar U Ranch, Longview, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 92-017.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character defining elements of the Root Cellar should be respected, for example:

Its very good functional design and form, and materials as manifested in:

-The shed portion of milled lumber frame construction.
-Its shiplap sheathing and roof cladding.
-Its subterranean excavated cellar, its interior lined with rocks.
-Its wood frame entrance.
-Its relationship with its immediate surrounding terrain.
-Its colour scheme.

The manner in which the Root Cellar, as part of a cohesive complex of buildings, reinforces the present visual character of the Bar U Ranch.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

General view of Bar U Ranch

Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada

Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada comprises 148.43 hectares of rangeland that constitute the original headquarters site of an Alberta cattle ranch established in the…


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