Historic Shellbrook Building Auctioned Off

It was a sad day for the community of Shellbrook on Sunday, March 13, as the train station and train station shed were auctioned off.

The Shellbrook CN Station, one of the oldest buildings in the town, dates back to 1909 and was constructed in the same year that the townsite was established by the Canadian Northern Railway.

From the time the rail service was introduced in January 10, 1910, the building was the depot for passenger service, mail and freight handling, ticketing and telegram services. With the development pattern of the town emanating from the station, the building symbolizes the station’s central historic role within the community. In 1920, the CNoR was incorporated into the newly-formed Canadian National Railway system and the building became a station for the new company. Occupying its original location at the base of Shellbrook’s main street, the building has been a landmark in the community since Shellbrook was established.

The Shellbrook C.N. Railway Station is architecturally significant as an example of a CNoR Standard Third-Class Station design that was constructed in the small towns of Western Canada. Upwards of 80 stations of this plan were built in Saskatchewan between about 1907 and 1917, though only a small number survive. Characteristic of the building features broad overhanging eaves supported by large triangular brackets; a projecting track-side bay for better visibility of the track and platform; and large freight doors at the end of the building for the storage area. Like many stations in small towns, the building also served as the living quarters for the station agent. The second storey of the building exemplifies this function and is arranged as bedrooms. The ground floor is divided into separate rooms that functioned as additional living quarters as well as an office and waiting area for passengers. The stucco cladding of the building’s exterior was added in the second half of the 1930s as part of Canadian National’s modernization programme.

In 1988, it was designated a Municipal Heritage Property, and since then, a group of volunteers had been working tirelessly to maintain the site.

The Rayside school, built in 1949, was relocated from eight miles north of Shellbrook to its present location near the museum around a decade ago.

The auction, organized by Schmalz Auctions, also included numerous historical items and artifacts such as antique furniture, rare collectible tins, WW1 & 2 memorabilia, pins, and badges, depression glass, spinning wheels, photo albums, Aladdin gas lamps, crocks, butter churns, and an antique Fairbanks fire hose wheel. A 1914 porcelain Saskatchewan license plate and an antique rocket in a display case were also among the auctioned items.

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