Heritage Inventory

Heritage inventory identifies significant local resources


   Athabasca now has a comprehensive report identifying more than two dozen of the community’s most significant historic places.

   Researched and compiled by Robert Buckle of Heritage Collaborative, Inc., the Athabasca Municipal Heritage Inventory highlights and profiles 25 buildings and residences within the Town of Athabasca that meet certain heritage criteria. The report also recognizes the Athabasca riverfront as a significant historic resource and cultural landscape.

   The Athabasca inventory project received funding from the Government of Alberta Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and the Town of Athabasca. The purpose was to prepare an inventory of heritage resources within the town that meet the requirements for listing on the Alberta and Canadian Register of Historic Places. A few examples of the resources listed in the inventory are the Anglican Church Rectory and Carriage House on 49 St., Athabasca Public School (the Old Brick School) on 48 St., the CNR Station on 50 Ave., the Grand Union Hotel on the corner of 50 St., the Hunter Building on 49 St., the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on 50 Ave. and Athabasca United Church on 48 St.

   Contributors to the project include the Town of Athabasca and executive staff, Athabasca University, the Athabasca Advisory Committee and staff from the Town of Athabasca Archives. Acknowledgement goes to the Government of Canada for supporting the Town of Athabasca’s participation in the Historic Places Initiative, and to the Government of Alberta for supporting the Town’s participation in the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program.


Project objectives well defined


   Initially, about 200 buildings and other recommended historic resources were reviewed. Guided by a clear set of objectives, the process identified 31 specific places of interest that warranted further evaluation. Ultimately, 25 resources and the riverfront were determined to have met the criteria for significance and integrity. Each resource was subject to evaluation in accordance with the provincial Municipal Heritage Resources Management Program.

   Project objectives also called for a context paper to describe Athabasca’s major historical themes and trends. The context paper was used as an historical reference point to assist in the evaluation of the resources being reviewed.

   Photographs and draft statements of significance for each of the 25 selected resources are included in the inventory report. The statements provide a description of the heritage resource and of heritage values associated with the resource, and identification of the character defining elements of the resource.


Report recommendations


   The report recommends that the 25 selected historic resources as identified should be considered for inclusion on the Athabasca Heritage Inventory and the Alberta Register of Historic Places.

   The report also recommends that Athabasca’s riverfront should be further researched to determine the possibility of having it listed as well.


Historical highlights from the Heritage Inventory


   Giving context to Athabasca’s significance in the history of the province, particularly in the north, the Athabasca Municipal Heritage Inventory provides an overview of historical highlights. Acknowledgement for information referenced in the report is given to the 1986 book, Athabasca Landing: An Illustrated History, by D.E. Gregory, assisted by Eileen Hendy and Robert Tannas; and to Athabasca Landing: Gateway to the Great North Country (2003), Town of Athabasca, retrieved Dec. 7, 2005 from the Town Web site.


Fur Trade: From the early 1700s, the Cree and Assiniboine Aboriginal Tribes first occupied the area and dominated the fur trading industry.

Settlement: The Hudson’s Bay Company established Athabasca Landing and put up the first permanent buildings. Farmers and businessmen followed.

Commercial Expansion: By 1907, Athabasca Landing had a multitude of buildings and services.

Community and Residential Development: The report gives highlights of the Boom Years: 1906-1914.

The Great Fire of 1913: The first major fire in 1912 turned out to be minor in comparison to the Great Fire of 1913 that destroyed half of downtown Athabasca.

Difficult Times Ahead: After the beginning of the First World War, the town suffered a variety of problems resulting in a long period of little or no growth.

The 1920s to Modern Athabasca: After a short period of recovery that included successful crops, business and social renewal and Athabasca’s first newspaper, the Athabasca Echo (1928), the town was hit hard again by the Great Depression, followed by an economic recession before the start of World War II in 1939.


   The historical overview of the Town of Athabasca concludes with the statement that, “the perseverance and strength of its people remains, as does its charm and the feeling of hope that has characterized its creation."


Heritage program moves to next stage


   Now that the heritage inventory is complete, stage three of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program is next.

   There are four basic stages to the MHPP. In brief, the stages are:


-Survey: gather information and identify historic resources in the community


-Inventory: develop a filtered list of significant historic places


-Management plan: develop municipal policies, guidelines and strategies for the stewardship of historic resources


-Designation: develop bylaws to protect the historic resources; also, register them as municipal, provincial and Canadian historic places


   More information about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program can be found at www.mhpp.ab.ca


The Athabasca Municipal Heritage Inventory


   Draft statements of significance were provided for the following Athabasca heritage resources:


1.      Anglican Church Rectory and Carriage House: 4812 – 49 St.

2.      Anton Schinkinger Residence: 4431 – 50 St.

3.      Archdeacon Little Residence: 4803 – 49 St.

4.      Athabasca Medical Centre: 4819 – 49 St.

5.      Athabasca Post Office: 4909 – 49 St.

6.      Athabasca Public School: 4720 – 48 St.

7.      Bishop Young’s Memorial Boy’s Hostel: 4811 – 48 St.

8.      Bissell Residence: 4710 – 49 Ave.

9.      CNR Station: 5101 – 50 Ave.

10.   Crown Lumber Company Building: 5018 – 50 Ave.

11.  Daigneau Residence: 4804 – 49 St.

12.  Dental Office and Apartments: 4912 – 49 St.

13.  Ernst Ludwig Silver Residence: 4801 – 47 St.

14.  Falconer Residence: 4806 – 49 St.

15.  Grand Union Hotel: 4924 – 50 St.

16.  Harvey Cull Residence: 4702 – 27A Ave.

17.  HBC Managers’ Residence: 4712 – 49 Ave.

18.  Hunter Building: 4906 – 49 St.

19.  Hunter’s Vehicle Dealership: 4908 – 49 St.

20.  Medical Centre and Apartments: 4902 – 49 St.

21.  Olivier Block: 4914 – 50 St.

22.  Sawle House: 4001 – 54 St.

23.  Ukrainian Orthodox Church: 4302 – 50 Ave.

24.  United Church: 4817 – 48 St.

25.  West Athabasca Schoolhouse: rear of 4717 – 47 Ave.


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