VIEW-1378.1 | C.P.R. round house, Medicine Hat, AB, 1884

C.P.R. round house, Medicine Hat, AB, 1884
William McFarlane Notman
1884, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , Train (185) , transport (150)
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Keys to History

A roundhouse is a kind of barn for trains, built in a round or semicircular form (like this one) with the doors leading to a turntable that revolves to send the train onto a chosen track. The form was used in Europe as well. Here is a French one, photographed in the 1860s, and an English one from 1844 that was used for 120 years. Note the total absence of trees in this photo, typical of southeast Alberta. Notman's photographs are an interesting look at the simple industrial architecture of the period, plain and useful.

Source : Forging the National Dream [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    This is a CPR roundhouse.

  • Where

    It is in Medicine Hat, in what was later to become the province of Alberta.

  • When

    The picture was taken in 1884. The roundhouse must have been virtually brand-new then, or still under construction.

  • Who

    The photographer has chosen to picture a new industrial landscape without the workers who built it.