CN Water Tower
CNR Water Tower
Heinsburg Water Tower
Heinsburg Heritage Park
Heinsburg Railway Theme Park
CN Railway Station
Canadian National Railway Station
Heinsburg Rail Site
Heinsburg Railway Water Tower
C.N.R. STATION AND WATER TOWER
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The C.N.R. Station and Water Tower site includes 5.89 hectares of land situated in the Hamlet of Heinsburg, on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. Significant structures on the site include a late 1920s octagonal water tower and a one-storey, railway station built in 1950 according to an irregular compound plan and featuring asbestos shingle siding and panelled doors.
The heritage value of the Canadian National Railway (C.N.R.) Station and Water Tower in Heinsburg lies in its connection to the development of settlement and railway infrastructure in east-central Alberta and in its example of typical railway constructions in the province.
The extension of the Grand Trunk Pacific (G.T.P.) Railway lines from Lloydminster west through Mundare and Marwayne in 1909 opened the area north of the tracks to settlement during the 1910s. A small community emerged at present-day Heinsburg, with a post office and store and a ferry for crossing to the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. Settlement grew rapidly in the late 1920s, following the establishment of Canadian National Railway train service at St. Paul and, later, Elk Point. The railway reached Heinsburg in 1928, sparking a sudden boom in the community. A railway station, water tower, and two grain elevators were built the year the railway arrived and Heinsburg became an end-of-rail service centre for vast areas of Euro-Canadian, Native, and Metis settlement to the north, west, and south. Between the 1930s and the 1950s, Heinsburg developed into a robust community, boasting numerous businesses and facilitating transport of passengers and cargo within a large region of east-central Alberta and Edmonton. With the replacement of steam locomotives by diesel trains in the 1960s, the water tower fell into disuse. During the succeeding decades, improved road infrastructure led to a sharp decline in passenger and freight transport by rail and by the early 1980s, the Heinsburg line was abandoned. The track was torn up in 1983.
The C.N.R. Station and Water Tower in Heinsburg illustrate two typical railway constructions in Alberta. The water tower, constructed in the late 1920s, represents a variation of a standard design commonly employed to construct these structures. Water towers were situated every 30-50 kilometres along early railway tracks in western Canada to service steam locomotives. The location of the tower on its original site, the presence of the original tank and piping system, and its high degree of integrity marks this structure as unique in the province. The station was built in 1950 to replace an earlier station that had served Heinsburg. It embodies the C.N.R.'s Fourth Class Depot 4A design, used by the company after World War Two.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1694)
The character-defining elements of the C.N.R. Station and Water Tower at Heinsburg include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- basic gable end roof with centre gable over ticket agent's office, medium hipped roof over kitchen, and gablet on freight room roof;
- bellcast eaves on trackside elevation;
- asbestos shingle siding and use of horizontal whaling timbers;
- panelled doors and special freight shed doors of solid rails and stiles with laminated tongue-in-groove panelling;
- fenestration pattern and style;
- interior layout;
- rafter system of freight room roof;
- original interior elements, including flooring.
- mass, form, and style;
- slight tapering of outside walls;
- octagonal pyramidal cedar shingled roof;
- large galvanized ball on central mast to indicate water level;
- smoke stack;
- fenestration style and pattern;
- wooden tank;
- original elements, including ladder and parts of pulley system and spout mechanism.
- unobstructed sight lines between station and water tower.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Station or Other Rail Facility
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. 1694)
Cross-Reference to Collection