Thursday 29 October 2015

Railroad water tower, New Brigden, Alberta

From what I could find the Canadian National Railway built the water tower in 1925 as part of the branch line they put through the area. The water tower supplied water to the steam locomotives passing through the area, but the community was also able to use the water to make ice in the adjacent outdoor skating rink and later on, ice in a curling rink. Now it sits on a large empty lot beside an abandoned rail line.

From various internet sources it was constructed almost entirely of wood, the outer structure is covered with shiplap siding. Shiplap was common on the prairies. A tank was held about 5.45 meters above ground level and was laid on crisscrossed joists supported by a timber substructure. A unique water-level measuring device consisted of an external metal ball about 0.6 meters in diameter and attached to a float inside the water tank. As the tank filled the ball would rise above the water tower – it could be easily observed more than 1½ km away, where the pump was situated.

I saw this on October 10, 2015. There are cables anchoring it in place. I found out a severe windstorm came through the area and took off one of the walls the very next day. Via an internet site I read that they are going to repair it right away.

You can see that it has a lean to it.

This is a unique piece of prairie architecture and I am sure that it is in its original location.


  1. What a great building! Love the windows. Glad they are trying to save that bit of history. Nice post!

    1. I wish I could have got inside. The door was locked. There are photos on the internet showing the inside of this structure. I am not sure how secure it is though.