Classified Federal Heritage Building
Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada, Alberta
© Department of Public Works, AES, PC, WRO / Ministère des Travaux publics, SAG, PC, BRO, 1992.
Longview, Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1909 to 1910
Building No. 6
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Harness Shop at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada, also known as Building No. 6, is a simple, single-storey structure of domestic appearance. It has a rectangular plan and a gabled roof of medium pitch. The building is constructed with milled lumber and sheathed with beveled siding. Two roof dormers are located on the front (south) slope of the gable roof, and these amplify its domestic appearance. The Harness Shop is located within a cohesive group of five buildings lining the north side of an access lane. The current colour scheme is barn red walls with white trim in keeping with tradition across the Prairies. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Harness Shop is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Harness Shop is one of the best examples of the national theme of the development of ranching in Alberta, and its importance in the development of Canada. Its function was significant in the daily operations of the ranch. The building provided a tack repair and storage facility, and served as a workshop and storage area throughout the ranches operational years. The structure is also associated with George Lane, a prominent Alberta cattleman who was hired at Bar U in 1884 to serve as the ranch foreman and who ran the ranch between 1902 and 1925. Finally the Harness Shop is associated with Patrick Burns, who purchased the Bar U Ranch in 1927 to add to his vast cattle empire. Burns, who is recognized as the kingpin of the meat-processing industry in western Canada during the mid-1920s, has been designated a person of national significance. Originally a short distance west of the Horse Stud Barn, the Harness Shop was moved to its current location beside the post office between 1927 and 1930.
The Harness Shop is a very good example of agricultural architecture. The walls are of light frame construction. Its simple functional plan separates activities into two separate areas.
The building is compatible with the adjacent buildings and arranged to great functional effect in a simple and beautiful setting. The colour scheme visually links the Harness Shop to other buildings on site such as the older post office. Part of a cohesive group of five buildings in an open and dramatic landscape the Harness Shop contributes significantly to the character of the Bar U Ranch.
Sources: Edward Mills, Historic Bar U Ranch Headquarters, Longview, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 92-017; Harness Shop (Building 6), Bar U Ranch, Longview, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 92-017.
The following character-defining elements of the Harness Shop should be respected.
The agricultural building type, its good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in: its simple single storey form and massing; the medium-pitched gable roof with two dormers on the south slope; its entrance via a shed-roofed vestibule; the long narrow plan and two bay arrangement of the interior; the exterior cladding of bevelled siding, cedar roof shingles, and shiplap interior; the red and white colour scheme.
The manner in which the building reinforces the character and setting of the Bar U Ranch.
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 Harness Shop at the Bar U Ranch was built in 1909-10, part of the second phase of building between ca.1902-05 and the 1940s. Alterations to the building itself are minimal, however the building had been moved from its original site to another location on the Ranch by 1930. The Harness Shop is a component of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Parks Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 92-17.
Reasons for Designation
The Harness Shop, as a component of the Bar U Ranch complex, was designated "Classified" because of the historical associations of this building and the ranch as a whole, because of the exceptional qualities of the site and setting, and because of its contribution to the overall aesthetic qualities of the complex.
The Bar U Ranch is strongly associated with the development of ranching in Alberta. The Harness Shop provided a tack repair and storage facility, and served as a workshop and storage area throughout the ranch's operational years. The structure is also associated with George Lane, a prominent Alberta cattleman, who was hired at Bar U in 1884 to serve as the ranch foreman and who ran the Ranch between 1902 and 1925. Finally, the Harness Shop is associated with Patrick Burns, who purchased the Bar U Ranch in 1927 to add to his vast cattle empire. Burns, who is recognized as the kingpin of the meat processing industry in western Canada during the mid-1920s, has been designated a person of national significance.
As part of a cohesive complex of buildings arranged to great functional effect in a simple and beautiful natural setting, the Harness Shop contributes significantly to the character of the Bar U Ranch. Located in the community centre, focused on Pekisko Creek, the building is part of a cohesive group of buildings lining the north side of the access lane within its area. It is also a component of the collection of pre-1927 buildings which contribute to the landmark value of the complex as one of the region's most important early ranch sites. This landmark value is reinforced by the designation of the complex as a National Historic Site.
The product of a simple, function-oriented design, the Harness Shop nevertheless has a strong aesthetic impact that combines with adjacent buildings to contribute to the overall character of the Bar U Ranch.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Harness Shop resides in the utilitarian nature of its materials and construction, its design, its exterior finishes, the history of its use as evoked by its interior layout and features, and its setting.
The Harness Shop has a simple, rectangular footprint and a medium-pitched gable roof with two dormers on the south slope. The long narrow plan accommodates the two-bay arrangement at the interior, which separates the building into two related but separate functional areas. The colour scheme (barn red walls and white trim) keeps with tradition across the Prairies and visually links the Harness Shop to other buildings on site.
Commercially milled lumber is employed for the walls, which are built of light frame construction. The exterior walls are clad with beveled siding, with shiplap at the interior. The gabled roof, covered with cedar shingles, is pierced with dormer windows on the front slope. These are believed to be part of the original design. All of these features contribute to the building's heritage character and should be protected in any future modifications or maintenance work.
The Harness Shop's interior layout and equipment provide evidence of the building's original purpose. An eave-height partition, placed across the width of the building, divides the interior into two spaces. The westernmost space is an open storage area, accessible by a sliding door through which harness would be handed out or taken in. The absence of a ceiling takes advantage of natural light entering the interior through the window in the gable end and the dormer window above.
The enclosed space to the east of the partition served as a tack shop. Some original furnishings and effects remain in this space, including a work bench, stove, numerous harnesses, and other related objects.
The layout, features and remaining original objects in the Harness Shop express its original function and merit retention.
Any development should seek to retain the functional quality of the site, and respect existing patterns of access and circulation. Any changes to circulation or access should consider historic patterns.