Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area - Fort Macleod, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 43.475 W 113° 24.442
12U E 326495 N 5510790
Quick Description: The town of Fort Macleod is home to what remains a rarity in Alberta, a Designated Provincial Historical Area
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 6/29/2020 9:28:22 AM
Waymark Code: WM12Q0E
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 1

Long Description:
It was the arrival of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) which gave rise to the town of Fort MacLeod in 1874. The NWMP established an outpost here to combat whisky traders from across the border, who were trading guns and whisky to the Blackfoot Tribe for furs. With the police presence, settlers quickly followed and a town sprang up around the fort built by the NWMP. Fort MacLeod soon became the trading centre for a large area around, with farms and ranches being carved out of the prairie.

The town progressed steadily until 1906, when a devastating fire razed most of the wood framed downtown businesses. A bylway was quickly enacted, ensuring that future building would be of sturdier, fireproof material. This bylaw ensured the longevity of the commercial buildings which came after, the result being that Fort MacLeod is home to one of only two locations in Alberta to become a Designated Historical Area (the other being Old Strathcona in Edmonton).

Of the downtown buildings in Fort MacLeod which contribute to the Fort MacLeod Provincial Historical Area, five were built prior to the 1906 fire, all having been faced with brick or locally quarried sandstone. They are the Fort Macleod Court House (1904 - now the town hall), the Union Bank Building (1899), the Grier Block (1900), the Queen's Hotel (1903), and the AY Young Drug Store (1903). Other historic buildings - the Renwick Building, the R.T. Barker Building and the Empress Theatre - were built between 1906 and 1912.

Coordinates given are at the old courthouse, now the Fort Macleod Town Hall.
Main Street Fort Macleod
In addition to the Fort, Main Street Fort Macleod is one of only two locations in Alberta to be a Designated Historical Area (the other one is Old Strathcona in Edmonton). In 1982 a government grant assisted Fort Macleod in restoring the original buildings of the 1910-1920’s era. After a fire razed the existing wooden structures in 1906, a bylaw was put in to only allow brick and stone buildings to be erected on main street. An amazing collection of architecture resulted, which is still on display today. Many films have been shot using our main street as the background. Walking tour maps explain the original uses of the buildings.
From Main Street Fort Macleod
Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area
Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area is situated in the northwest area of the Town of Fort Macleod. Encompassing approximately three city blocks, including 23rd, 24th and 25 streets, and second and third avenues, the historic area is the commercial core of the community, and possesses numerous buildings constructed before 1914. Contributing resources of the historic area include the Fort Macleod Court House, the Union Bank Building, the Grier Block, the Queen's Hotel, the Renwick Building, the R.T. Barker Building and the AY Young Drug Store.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area lies in its representation of pre-World War I development as a community that rapidly expanded from the first permanent North West Mounted Police post established in the Northwest Territories into an important and vibrant service centre for an expanding regional ranching industry. The historic area is also significant for the Edwardian Classical Revival style that characterizes the town's historic commercial and public service area.

Fort Macleod, founded in 1874 with the arrival of the North West Mounted Police, began as an island fort on the Old Man River. Persistent spring flooding resulted in the 1884 relocation of the North West Mounted Police barracks to a site on the south bank of the river west of the island. The community of businesses and settlers that had formed outside the fort followed the police, and the new site proved suitable for development as a service centre for the police force and the expanding cattle industry in the southern foothills. By 1892 when the Calgary and Edmonton Railway reached the community, Fort Macleod had become large enough to be incorporated as the Town of Macleod.

Development of the town's centre continued until 1906 when a fire on Main Street destroyed most of the wood frame structures. Town Council then passed a bylaw requiring future buildings to be constructed of brick or stone, thus ensuring that the look of the entire commercial core would exude the permanence and solidity of the brick and sandstone structures predating the fire. Most of the materials used in the construction of the buildings lining the area's two main thoroughfares were constructed by skilled craftsmen using materials produced by local brickyards, lumber mills and stone quarries. Although the fire was a setback to the owners of the buildings lost, the optimism of civic leaders for the town's increasing regional prominence continued unabated, and by 1911, the Fort Macleod Board of Trade was promoting the town as the hub of southern Alberta.

The Edwardian Classical Revival style depicted in the historic area's commercial core, which had been developing since the turn of the century, came to an end in 1914 with the start of World War I, and by 1920, Fort Macleod had lost its place as the primary service centre for southern Alberta. Because town officials had borrowed extensively to provide Fort Macleod's citizens with services fitting a regional and growing service centre during the years of expansion, the accumulated debt forced the town to accept a low interest loan in 1924. This loan carried with it a caveat that the town could not borrow money for improvements or expansion for 50 years. Combined with the depressions of the 1920s and 1930s and World War II, this commitment effectively stopped new construction and development in the town. The Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area therefore reveals the commercial core of a southern Alberta town with visions of permanence and prosperity at the turn of the twentieth century.
From the Alberta Register of Historic Places
Photo goes Here
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Address:
23rd, 24th and 25 streets
second and third avenues
Fort Macleod, AB
T0L 0Z0


Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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