Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1992.
313 Buffalo Street, Banff, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1920 to 1921
Event, Person, Organization:
Major and Stacey-Judd
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Superintendent’s Residence is an integral member of the residential row that extends along the Bow River in Banff. Sitting on a spacious riverfront lot, the residence is a two storey, rectangular, horizontal log structure with a projecting vestibule on the river side of the building, and a one storey bay addition on the rear. It has a cedar-shingled hipped gable roof with fieldstone chimneys. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Superintendent’s Residence is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The historic value of the Superintendent’s Residence lies in its strong association with the growth of Banff after the First World War. As a result of improved automobile access, both park visitation and the permanent population of Banff increased and the responsibilities of the Park Superintendent were greater than before. To reflect this enhanced status, the Superintendent was provided with a substantial new residence constructed on the same site used for the superintendent’s residence since 1902.
The Superintendent’s Residence is a very good example of rustic log design. Designed by a Calgary architectural firm and based on a construction tradition established in Banff during the 1880s, the rustic log design and use of local natural materials reflects the broad purpose of the park as a natural reserve.
The Superintendent’s Residence is located in a residential enclave, a short distance west of the commercial and institutional facilities concentrated along Banff Avenue. The Superintendent’s Residence is compatible with the residential nature of its unchanged riverside setting. The building’s distinction from those built for public use, and its prominent location makes the residence a community landmark.
Sources: Edward Mills, Superintendent’s Residence, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Federal Heritage Building Report 92-009; Superintendent’s Residence, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 92-009.
The character defining elements of Superintendent’s Residence should be respected.
Its rustic design, quality craftsmanship and materials such as: its two-storey structure, rectangular in plan, with a projecting vestibule on the riverside, and a one-storey frame bay addition on the rear; its sturdy horizontal log construction, with vertical corner posts, stick-style detailing,
fieldstone chimneys and cedar-shingled hipped-gable roof; its windows which have multi-paned top sash over single pane lower sash; its interior layout, tongue and groove wood wall sheathing, and the fieldstone fireplace.
The manner in which the Superintendent’s Residence is compatible with the residential character of the riverside setting in Banff National Park of Canada.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
The Superintendent's Residence is a two-storey log structure built in 1920-21, then modified by the construction of a one-storey bay addition in 1936-37. The house continues to serve its original function. Parks Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 92-09.
Reasons for Designation
The Superintendent's Residence was designated Recognized as a result of its environmental qualities, its log construction, and its association with the growth of Banff after the First World War.
The house is located on a spacious riverfront lot on the edge of the town centre. This location has been home to the Park Superintendent since the construction of a previous residence there at the turn of the century. In keeping with its rustic design, a wood rail fence extends along Buffalo Street at the rear of the building, while mature conifers enhance the natural setting. The continued use of the residence by the Superintendent and its prominent location make the house a community landmark.
Designed by the Calgary architectural firm of Major and Stacey-Judd, this was the last major park building constructed at Banff under local control. Based on a construction tradition established in Banff during the 1880s, the rustic log design reflects the broad purpose of the park as a natural reserve and differs from the more elaborate half-timbered designs adopted by the Architectural Division when it acquired responsibility for the design of national park buildings in 1922.
The Banff Superintendent's Residence is one of the few park buildings constructed shortly after the First World War, when most Parks Branch financial resources were directed toward the construction of roads. As a result of improved automobile access, both park visitation and the permanent population of Banff increased. In the absence of a municipal government, community affairs became part of the Park Superintendent's responsibilities. To reflect this enhanced status, the Superintendent was provided with a substantial new residence, constructed on the same riverside lot as the previous residence and, in the interest of economy, incorporating some of the logs salvaged from that structure.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Superintendent's Residence resides in its design and materials, and in its historic relationship to the townsite.
The two-storey structure is rectangular in plan, with a projecting vestibule on the front (river) side and a later one-storey frame bay on the rear. The sturdy horizontal log construction, with vertical corner posts, stick-style detailing, fieldstone chimneys and cedar-shingled hipped-gable roof are characteristic elements of the design and should be retained.
The original building fabric should be carefully maintained. The original windows, which have multi-paned top sash over single pane lower sash, contribute to the design and should be retained. In the 1950s, plate glass was installed in the windows on either side of the French doors; consideration should be given to reglazing in keeping with the original window configuration. Replacement of the original vestibule balcony railing with milled lumber is inappropriate; a railing matching the original should be installed. The use of a contrasting colour for window and door surrounds emphasizes these openings to the detriment of the building's overall appearance. Historic photographs and paint analysis are recommended to provide guidance for future painting.
The interior layout of the building remains largely unchanged, and should be respected. The original tongue and groove wood wall sheathing is extant, as are the fieldstone fireplace and most mouldings and doors. Care should be taken to preserve these design elements. Modifications necessary for the building's continuing use as a home should be designed to have minimal impact on early features.
The residential nature of the riverside setting remains essentially unchanged. A modern garage, on the far side of the driveway to the west of the house, detracts from the rustic character of the site. Appropriate plantings would minimize its visual impact. A picket fence extending from the house along the riverfront footpath is out of keeping with the log construction; a rail fence similar to the Buffalo Street fence would be more appropriate when its replacement is required.