Oct 072014
Maple Creek SK post office

In this “then and now” we look at the Maple Creek Saskatchewan Post Office, first in 1911, via a photo from an old postcard, and then how the fine old building appears today. And it looks wonderful. This series was shot during our (now, almost famous) spring 2014 Saskatchewan grain elevator tour. We came for the prairie sentinels but when we had a spare moment we also photographed old buildings, trains, ghost towns and the like and even found time to shoot a few frames to be used in reports like this.

This building was constructed in the early 1910s – one source says 1910, the other 1911 – take your pick. I searched for a date stone or marking on its walls but could not find it, assuming it even exists. And if it does and I missed it, well, I miss a lot of things.

The Maple Creek Post Office is constructed in an Edwardian Commercial style, a design philosophy common in the early decades of the twentieth century and often used for retail establishments, businesses and public service buildings. Design elements common to this style include large windows, arches, keystones, prominent sills, dentilations and typically an overall confident and robust, yet often reserved or even understated form. Brick was often the main building material of choice although others were also acceptable, stone for example.

Outside the obvious entryway changes – the middle front one is gone, the side one blocked off and two new ones have been added – and the addition in the rear, the building appears much as it did. It’s looking good at well over a hundred years old!

I wonder how many letters and parcels (and postcards – maybe this one) have passed through this facility since it was built? All together, it must be in the many millions. With letter mail dying off (thanks email), Canada Post is putting more emphasis on packages and express shipments, and ad mail to a degree, to help take up the slack. The former in particular, with everybody internet shopping, is a growing field that they are a big player in.

We are often asked how exactly we compose our “now” photos. Is there any “magic” involved, extremely complex techniques or is photoshop or cropping used to help line things up in post production? The answer to all is no. We shoot them free-hand using a simple gird alignment formula we’ve come to develop over the years (we do these posts a lot), and that’s it. It’s not terribly hard to do, nor is it perfect, but it often allows us to get real close in layout and position when compared to the original.

I’m overall happy with our now shot, for the most part, but for some strange reason the building seems to drop off or fall away (for lack of more technical term) in ours then it does in the old photo. But in fact it doesn’t and if we overlay the two or put them side by side, that odd optical illusion disappears. Check this out in the last picture.

The “then” photo was taken from a postcard (front scan) sent to us by a reader of the BIGDoer blog. Thanks to Stephanie of Maple Creek. If you have an old photo or postcard showing a street scene like this and would like us to visit the location to see how it compares today, and them document it all on this blog, by all means contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Maple Creek is located in western Saskatchewan and is home to a couple thousand people. It sits alongside the Canadian Pacific Railway’s east/west mainline, but strangely not the Trans-Canada highway, which misses it by a number of kilometres. The town was founded in the 1880s, with the coming of the railway. There are many other old and interesting buildings in town worth exploring and photographing. But that’s for next time.

To see some other reports from this spring 2014 Saskatchewan trip, follow these links…
Saskatchewan old vehicles and equipment part one.
Prairie Sentinels – Coderre Saskatchewan.
Bay Island one room school.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: May, 2014.
Location: Maple Creek, SK.

Maple Creek post office

The Maple Creek SK Post Office, just over a century ago.

Maple Creek SK post office

Note the new entrance ways.

Maple Creek SK

This side by side comparison eliminates the “fallaway’ distortion seen above.


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2 Comments on "Maple Creek SK then and now – post office"

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David James Perkins
David James Perkins

Funny how one looks off, while the other is spot on.