NWMP - Harness Shop
The Harness Shop / Building “G” is a unique rehabilitation and restoration project for the reconstruction of the North West Mounted Police Fort Macleod Barracks. The challenge was to reflect or convey its Heritage Significance through its history of varied uses and association with the NWMP Police, First Nation and the Town of Fort Macleod during its 130 year history.
It was built in 1884 as a harness shop, but was soon converted into barracks in 1886. For the next 50 years the building functioned in varying capacities for the Barracks. It served as harness shop, barracks, band room, single officer’s quarters, offices, tailor shop and stores, territorial courtroom and canteen & billiards room. It was decommissioned and vacated in 1922. In 1935, the building was sold and relocated into the Town of Fort Macleod to serve as the Church Hall for St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. It functioned as this community gathering place for 73 years. In 2008, it was returned to the Barracks site, where it is currently stored for restoration and rehabilitation.
The study outlined a rehabilitation plan that is consistent with the overall conservation plan for the NWMP Barracks Fort Macleod to reconstruct and to recreate the 1884 Barracks. This report determined that 1886/87 be identified as the period that would best meet convey the significant heritage value and character defining elements associated with this building.
The 1886 period would allow the continued use of the interior finishes and best match the original exterior of 1884. Extending the period to 1887 would allow for the restoration of the brick chimney. This will also require the removal of the porch which was added in 1901.
Historic Photo credits - National Archives