Historically Airdrie

Airdrie’s First Municipal Historic Resource// The 1928 Nose Creek Bridge to the Elevators.

You may have noticed this little gem nestled between 1st Ave NW and Railway Ave SW. The area surrounding the Nose Creek Bridge was originally intended to be Airdrie’s downtown core as “all roads lead to the station”. Today’s Main Street is, in fact, a secondary location. In July 2019, City Council passed a bylaw protecting the Bridge as Airdrie’s first Municipal Historic Resource. Today the Nose Creek Bridge is a beautiful footpath connecting Airdrie’s parks and pathways. It is the last remaining structure associated with the railway station grounds and grain elevators in Airdrie. 

About the bridge:

  • In 1928, the Nose Creek Bridge provided a new route to the grain elevators that once stood at the station grounds directly southeast of the bridge's location.
  • The Nose Creek Bridge has gone by many different names throughout the years. Its designated name is the 1928 Nose Creek Bridge to the Elevators. In Airdrie, however, has been known as the Pony Truss Bridge, Edwards Way Bridge, Elevators Bridge and the Beer Bridge.
  • The Nose Creek Bridge continued to link the south and north sidings until 1983, when it was closed to vehicular traffic.
  • Now a beautiful footpath connecting Airdrie’s parks and pathways, the Nose Creek Bridge is the last remaining structure associated with the railway station grounds and grain elevators in Airdrie.
  • The Nose Creek Bridge symbolizes Airdrie’s agricultural origin. By the late 1980s the reservoir had been filled in, the elevators closed and the road west from the south siding was removed. In 2000, the final demolition of the last two Alberta Wheat Pool elevators marked the end of the 20th century landscape around the railway at Airdrie.
  • In July 2019, City Council passed a bylaw protecting the Nose Creek Bridge as Airdrie’s first Municipal Historic Resource, ensuring the bridge’s future in Airdrie.

Design and location

  • Its 80-foot pony truss design remains true to its original plans supplied by the renowned Dominion Bridge Company.
  • This open design, low (‘pony’) truss with a narrow width, has enough strength to support a twenty-ton truck without requiring additional support or an upper truss.
  • As the west boundary line of the village ran north south along the rail line, the land on which the Nose Creek Bridge is located was not part of Airdrie 1928. The Bridge was located in the Municipal District of Beddington #250.

The Original Downtown Airdrie

In 1909, Airdrie was incorporated as a village with a population of 250 people. The area was named after a village northeast of Glasgow, Scotland. The name "Airdrie" means "The King's Height." William McKenzie, a contracting engineer for the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, named the village in 1889. A unique feature of Airdrie is that its elevation makes it the highest city in Canada.

  • Historically, “all roads lead to the station”, which means that the railway, station and associated buildings typically make up the “core” or “hub” of a railway town. Airdrie was no different as it was C&E Rail’s intention that the Airdrie town site would surround the station and railway tracks.
  • By the mid-1890s the Airdrie Station was the centre of town. The CPR water tower was filled by a windmill that pumped water from a reservoir built on the west side of the tracks.
  • Ultimately, Nose Creek was dammed to a level that provided sufficient water for the reservoir but there was sufficient leakage and the surrounding area was often wet and prone to seasonal flooding.
  • In 1902, an early store building located on the west side of the rail line flooded; it was evident that the village needed to be located east of the rail line.

Read more: http://www.unlockthepast.ca/Airdrie
Copyright © Unlock the Past with Central Alberta Regional Museum Network


The Water Tower

Airdrie’s landmark – the 1959 Water Tower.

The original use of the water tower was to store water for emergency use. During the summer months, however, the water pressure was low and almost non-existent which was caused by the location of the tower being at an inadequate elevation.

In 1972, the tower became obsolete after a large reservoir was built and by 1977 the tower was no longer in use.
Information taken from One Day’s Journey, Wilk, Stephen, p. 74 – 75

As residents of Airdrie, we are all connected to the heritage of both our city and country in one form or another. Celebrating our history and connecting with tangible touchstones from the past enables us to see how we belong to a thriving community and that we are all a part of Airdrie’s collective story.

We encourage you to celebrate our past by visiting the Nose Creek Valley Museum, travelling along our parks and pathways to explore the beauty of our city, learning more about our public art and the history behind each piece, and reading about the historical information that transformed a village of 250 people in 1909 into a thriving city with more than 70,000 people who call Airdrie home.

If you have a collection of historical images, or stories to share, please send them in. We would love to hear them!