Sandhills Wardens Cabin
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1996.
Sandhills, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1931 to 1931
Event, Person, Organization:
James T. Childe
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Situated on the edge of a mature spruce forest, fronting an open glade facing the Red Deer River, the Sandhills Warden Cabin is a simple, rectangular, one-storey, gable roofed structure built of rustic round-log wood construction style with saddle-notched corners. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Sandhills Warden Cabin is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Sandhills Warden Cabin is a good example of a building designed to provide shelter, both to wardens on patrol and also to the general public when not in use by park officials. It is also associated with the ideals of protecting and enhancing designated wilderness areas for the pleasure and benefit of the Canadian people.
The Sandhills Warden Cabin is a good, early example of a Number 3-type rustic design one-room overnight patrol cabin. This type reflects the aesthetics favoured by National Parks in the west during the early to mid 20th century. Consistent with Parks’ tradition local gathered building materials were used. It is a good functional structure exhibiting good workmanship.
Situated on the edge of a mature spruce forest, fronting an open glade, and facing the Red Deer River the Sandhills Warden Cabin maintains its relationship with its natural surroundings. It is familiar to wardens and hikers within the park. The Cabin is compatible with the present character of its mountain park setting.
Source: Sandhills Warden Cabin, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 96-025.
The following character-defining elements of the Sandhills Warden Cabin should be respected.
Its Rustic style with Tudor Revival details and very good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
Its utilitarian design and rustic character and quality craftsmanship as evidenced in: the simple low massing of the one-storey structure; the rectangular plan, and gabled roof clad in cedar-shingles; the rustic round-log wood construction style with saddle-notched corners; the entrance door to one side counterbalanced by a window; the red-brown paint with white trim.
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 Sandhills Warden Cabin at Banff National Park was constructed in 1931 to an earlier design by James T. Childe, Dominion Parks engineer in Banff. Built to provide overnight shelter for wardens on extended patrols, and also available for public use when unoccupied, this one-storey cabin comprises a rectangular room and verandah. The cabin maintains its original use. The windows, door and floor have been replaced in recent years. Parks Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Docket 96-25.
Reasons For Designation
The Sandhills Warden Cabin was designated Recognized for its environmental significance, its architectural importance and its historical associations.
The Warden Cabin is strategically located for backcountry travel within Banff National Park between other warden cabin destinations positioned at intervals on a trail along the Red Deer River. With its adjacent equipment shed and round rail horse corral, it is an important and distinctive local landmark within an otherwise sparsely populated locality. Built of locally gathered materials, the cabin is uniquely sited on the edge of a mature spruce forest, with trees to the sides and rear, and fronting an open glade facing the Red Deer River. By its form, scale, design, round-log construction and finishes, the cabin integrates very harmoniously into the park’s wilderness character.
Small, simple and rectangular in form and characterised by its stain-finished round-log construction, the Warden’s Cabin is architecturally an early example of a Number 3- type rustic design one-room overnight patrol cabin. This type, designed in 1918 and built thereafter, with minor variations, through to the 1960s, reflects the aesthetics favoured by national parks in the west during the early to mid 20th century.
Historically, the cabin is significant for its association with the National Parks Service and its mounted staff, and with the development of the western mountain national parks.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Soundhills Warden Cabin resides in its site relationships, overall form, scale, rustic design, round-log construction and interior details.
Contextually, the original setting remains intact. The Cabin, with its shed and corral, conserves its layout and rustic character. Any future developments or landscape alterations should respect and maintain the integrated visual and physical relationships with the surrounding spruce forest and the glade area. The round log construction of the cabin, shed and corral contribute significantly to the site as a whole.
With its simple rectangular plan and massing, cedar shingle-finished low pitched roof and gable ends, the Sandhills Warden Cabin is characterised by its rustic round-log wood construction and red-brown external paint finish with white trim. The high standard of workmanship should be matched in any future works. Feature elements, details and finishes should be respected and maintained. These include: the entrance gable elevation with the entrance door to one side, counterbalanced by a window; the painted wood cabin sign centred prominently in the upper entrance gable area; the saddle-notched corner detail; and the tall post centred on, and fixed to, the apex of the entrance gable roof. Chinking between logs should be maintained and repaired to match original detailing and materials.
The Cabin’s original windows and wood plank door have been replaced. If replaced again, the new elements should be based on the original precedent in terms of design, dimensions, materials, finishes and operation.
Internally, the Cabin retains its original function and volume. The exposed paint- finished round log framing and walls, ceiling, wood trim and stove should all be respected and maintained. New components should match originals in dimension, materials, tooling, hardware, workmanship and finishes, and should be consistent with the simple rustic design character of the cabin.