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  CPR Red Deer station and park

Forth Junction Project
Red Deer 1910 Canadian Pacific Railway Station

 
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Red Deer CPR station 2007
Red Deer station 'jewel' still
dominates Ross Street


After taking over the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway determined in 1907 that Red Deer would be the division point between Calgary and Edmonton. Several improvements were made to the yard and plant that included a new water tower, elevated gravity-fed coal chutes, additions to the roundhouse and stockyards, and a new steel bridge across the Red Deer River to replace the wooden one built in 1891.

It was fitting and timely that the company decided to build a new brick station to replace the existing 1891 combination station and freight house under the direction of CPR architect Fredrick Crossley in a style that was unique but similar to other major stations built in Western Canada.

Similar stations, but each architecturally unique, had been built at Lethbridge in 1905, Medicine Hat in 1906, Strathcona in 1907 and Saskatoon in 1907.  Characteristics of these stations included a chateau-style with a central polygonal tower topped by a conical roof and dormer windows. Local sandstone and brick added to the impressiveness of the building. Dimensions for the Red Deer station were 112'x32' for the foundation, 126'x36' roofline, and inside, a 14' waiting room ceiling.

Red Deer CPR new station 1910Construction began in the spring of 1910 using plan X-20B with J. McDermid and Company of Winnipeg acting as general contractors. It was completed at a cost of $34,050 in the fall of the same year. It stands at the head of Ross Street dominating the downtown streetscape even today. It was/is a 'jewel' for both the CPR and the community.

Photo shows both the new station and the old station on the north side prior to it being relocated to the south side and rotated to face the opposite direction (see photo below).

Red Deer station with park and freight house 1911

A beautiful ornamental park with a fountain was created in 1910 complementing the new station.

Once operational, the 1891 combination station was relocated from north of the new station to south of it and turned 180 degrees for use as a freight house until the mid-1960s.

Red Deer CPR station 1910 rendering

The main floor included a baggage room on the south end and an express office on the north end with the large waiting room, washrooms, station operator's office and ticket sales located between the two. The upper floor contained apartments for overnight train crews.


              Red Deer CPR station 1912 rendering




Within a few months of its completion, the new station was getting crowded and a 20-foot extension was built on the south end for use as the Dominion Express Office.

(Roof colour is by conjecture as there are no colour photos of the period although there is a hand-painted b&w photo showing a green roof)

 

 




              Red Deer CPR station 1941 rendering



 

At some point before 1941, a number of cosmetic changes occurred as part of its ongoing maintenance that included painting the shingled upper storey white, a change in roof colour, an additional door on the streetside, a new chimney on the south end and some changes in door and trim colour.

 






              Red Deer CPR station 1969 rendering

 

In 1969, a major renovation occurred which brought about several internal and external changes that included a new heating system, main doors relocated to the bay section both front and back, freight doors downsized, new windows on the upper floor, cream trim, new roof and, on the trackside, the addition of an outside door to the upper floor and repositioning of doors on the lower floor.








              Red Deer CPR station 1985 rendering





By the time passenger rail service ended in 1985, the station was starting to show its age.

Furthermore, plans were underway to close the station and relocate the railyards to the west side of the city. That relocation occurred in 1990.

Also, by this time, the bricks had been painted a number of times, the most recent a dark red.







Red Deer CPR station trackside 1985With relocation of the railyards, plans were also under way to connect Ross Street with Taylor Drive, initially involving the demolition of the station.

Red Deer station streetside 1987Due to some fast and intensive work by a few individuals, the station was federally designated a protected historic site in 1990, mere days before its scheduled demolition resulting in new plans to route Ross Street around the station. A few months later it was designated a municipal historic site and in 1993, a provincial historic resource.

It sat empty for a few years waiting for someone to propose a use for it. In 1996, it was purchased by architect John Murray and restored to much of its former glory on the outside and renovated to office space on the inside.

Red Deer CPR station 2007
This restoration included taking the paint off the bricks to reveal its original salmon colour. The railyards themselves were redeveloped into commercial and residential use and Taylor Drive was constructed along the CPR right of way south.






Note:
All renderings are the intellectual property of Paul Pettypiece and may only be used for personal or historical use. Photos courtesy of Red Deer Archives and Paul Pettypiece.

 

 
Railway Stations of the Region
C & ER Combination Stations
Portable Stations
Red Deer CPR 1910 Station
Role of Railway Stations
Red Deer's 4 Stations
CPR Stations in Central Alberta
CNR Stations in Central Alberta
Multiple Station Communities
Station Plans
 

 
The Railways of Central Alberta
Calgary & Edmonton Railway
C & E Railway at Red Deer
Alberta Central Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
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Canadian National Railway in RD
Grand Trunk Pacific Central Alberta
Lacombe & Blindman Valley RR
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Milestones 1910-13
Calgary Edmonton Trail
Transit in Central Alberta
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Jubilee 3001 Chinook
Locomotives Central Alberta
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail

 

Bridges, Structures, Heritage
Rail Structures of Region
Central Alberta Rail Bridges

Mintlaw Trestle
Alberta's Railway Bridges
Western Canada Rail Bridges



 

 

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