ROSSDALE POWER PLANT
Links and documents
1931/01/01 to 1954/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Rossdale Power Plant is a power generation plant constructed during the middle part of the twentieth century and located on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. The designation applies to three separate but interrelated structures: the Low Pressure Plant including the Turbine House and Boiler House, Pumphouse No. 1, and the Administration Building, occupying 16.97 hectares of land in Edmonton's river valley.
The Low Pressure Plant, Pumphouse No. 1 and the Administration Building constructed between 1931 and 1954 represent the history of electrical power generation in Edmonton and Alberta. The site is associated with Maxwell Dewar, a prominent Alberta architect responsible for designing part of the plant, and who later served as Edmonton's City Architect. As a municipally-run electrical utility, the plant illustrates government involvement in industrial enterprise. These elements of the Rossdale Power Plant are also very good examples of architectural design, style and construction methods characteristic of the late 1920s and 1930s. It is the only power plant from this period of this scale remaining in Alberta.
Electricity has been generated continuously on the site since 1902, when the first electrical generating station in Edmonton was relocated here. Its functional design was influenced by contemporary industrial and factory architecture in the United States. The plant is one of the oldest surviving examples of mid-twentieth century industrial design in Alberta; no other steel and brick buildings of this size and period remain in Edmonton. The Low Pressure Plant is also notable in that its expansion - with six additions over a twenty-two year period, as the site evolved to incorporate technological advances - maintained Dewar's original style.
The plant continued to generate electricity until 1989 and, with its series of seven large smoke stacks, remains a conspicuous and familiar landmark in Edmonton.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2102)
The heritage value of the Rossdale Power Plant is contained in such character-defining elements as:
- reinforced concrete foundations, structural steel framing, nonload-bearing masonry walls;
- historical location on the river bank.
Low Pressure Plant
- overall form and massing made up of three large, parallel, flat-roofed 'building' blocks of different heights and cross sections - located side by side and running perpendicular to the river;
- classical design features interpreted in a contemporary industrial manner;
- masonry materials, design features and details and its use of pre-cast concrete focal elements;
- strong horizontal white precast cornice bands containing the dates of each phase, coping and belt course;
- large and frequent openings of metal windows / glassblock / ventilation openings for industrial components;
- large simple interior spaces, especially the Turbine Hall, reflecting the scale of the industrial processes being accommodated;
- remaining industrial support equipment, such as the interior crane track and structure;
- darker clinker brick on the exterior and lighter, buff coloured brick on the interior (Turbine Hall);
- the use of industrial detailing, such as pipe rails, concrete and steel stairs;
- a consistent approach to materials, detailing and finishing over the period of six phases of construction resulting in a unified whole;
- seven roof stacks.
Pumphouse No. 1
- form, scale and massing of the one-storey reinforced concrete 'T' shaped structure with cast-in-place concrete construction;
- lower chambers, catwalks and levels to a depth of over fifty (50) feet below grade;
- interpretation of classical forms.
- form, scale and massing of the simple, flat-roofed two-storey rectangular brick building with reinforced concrete structure;
- clinker brickwork, corner quoins, and stone sills;
- regular fenestration pattern of wood framed six-over-six double-hung windows, and with parapets over doors;
- interior features such as: terrazzo floors, office partitions, staircases, balustrades, doors and window elements.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1932/01/01 to 1989/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Power Generation 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. 2102)
Cross-Reference to Collection