Ask an Expert: Early Stone and Brick Masonry in Alberta

Earlier this month, we received an “Ask an Expert” question via our Facebook page (Alberta’s Historic Places) about early stone and brick masonry in Alberta. The question was:

“I am wondering what information can be found on early stone and brick masonry in Alberta. I find a very limited amount of this type of information available and would love to learn more. Are there any experts in this field, websites, or books written on this subject? Are there any museums that may have displays? Historians or archivists planning guided tours in Alberta? Also, any information on quarries, masons, relative architects, and existing or demolished masonry buildings from the nineteenth and twentieth century would be much appreciated.”

Our experts here at the Historic Resources Management Branch have compiled the following list of resources on this topic, including books, webpages, historic sites and events. We hope that you find it helpful!


WRITTEN IN STONE: A Look at Traditional Stone Masonry and Early Calgary Quarries

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 @ 6:30 PM, Grace Presbyterian Church Gymnasium, 1009-15th Ave. SW Calgary

Open to the public and free of charge. This is a free evening of learning and networking. Lectures include “Early masons, stonecutters & quarries in Calgary”, “Bringing life to an historical quarry: the Glenbow quarry” and “Stone masonry today, using traditional methods for repair and restoration.” Information can also be found at:


  • Don Wetherell and Irene Kmet discuss stone masonry to a limited extent in their books Homes in Alberta: Building, Trends, and Design, 1870-1967 (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism and Alberta Municipal Affairs, 1991) and Town Life: Main Street and the Evolution of Small Town Alberta, 1880-1947 (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press and Alberta Community Development, 1995).
  • Jack Manson’s Bricks in Alberta (self-published, 1982)
  • Bryan P. Melnyk’s Calgary Builds: The Emergence of an Urban Landscape, 1905-1914 (Edmonton: Alberta Culture & Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 1985)
  • Volume 4 of Parks’ Building and Ornamental Stones in Canada is another good one, materials-wise.


  • Alberta Masonry Council: They have a small section on significant historical masonry buildings and have periodic awards recognizing excellence in masonry.
  • Prairie Forum journal can be accessed at Relevant articles include:
    • Fall 1980, volume 5, no. 2Diana Bodnar, “The Three Prairie Legislative Buildings,” page 143-156. It has relevant information regarding the Legislature Buildings.
    • Fall 1990, volume 15, no. 2 – Stephen Barber, “Conserving Winnipeg’s Built Heritage, 1974-1985,” page 301-327. It has information on historic masonry buildings in Winnipeg (it’s not Alberta, but it is a good resource).
  • Alberta Register of Historic Places has a number of masonry buildings listed. Use the search function to look up “mason” or “brick”.

Historic Sites

Medalta Potteries historic site and museum in Medicine Hat. This now includes the Medicine Hat Brick and Tile site –

Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site in Saskatchewan:

Past RETROactive articles

Compiled by: Ronald Kelland (Historic Places Research Officer) and Stefan Cieslik (Heritage Conservation Adviser)

Thanks to our readers for their “Ask an Expert” questions! We love to hear from you!

Ask an Expert and Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to everyone! We are excited for the New Year and look forward to sharing more of Alberta’s history with our readers. As many of you know, 2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary. We hope to touch on this theme throughout the year and highlight the role that Alberta has played in the country’s history. Another goal we have for this year is to connect with our readers more. We want to know what you would like to learn about! So, we are launching a new initiative called Ask an Expert.

Ask an Expert


The Historic Resources Management Branch of Alberta Culture and Tourism is responsible for the identification and conservation of historic resources in Alberta. Historic Resources include historic places and structures, archaeological sites and artifacts, and traditional use sites. We also deal with geographic place names in the province.

Do you have a question about any of the following topics (related to Alberta)?

  • Historic Places
  • Provincial Historic Resources
  • Heritage Conservation
  • Historic Structures
  • Geographic Place Names
  • Archaeology

If so, we’d love to hear from you! You can submit your question by commenting on any one of our blog posts (preferably related to the topic), or you can leave a comment on our Facebook page or tweet at us on Twitter.

Facebook: Alberta’s Historic Places

Twitter: @ABHistoricPlace

When we receive questions we will track down our resident experts to answer them for you. The answers will be in the form of blog posts or videos.

To get things started we will be giving away a one-time admission pass to one of Alberta’s historic sites or museums to the person whose question we choose for the first Ask An Expert feature!

Cheers to 2017! We look forward to your questions.