Jul 10, 2012

Alberta Clay Products Factory Site

One of the lost treasures in Medicine Hat is the Alberta Clay Products factory that was constructed in 1909, but consumed by a fire in 1961.  Located in the historic clay district, the factory was next door to the still standing Hycroft China Factory along the train tracks.  The scale of the plant was impressive with 14 round draft kilns surrounding a 6 story factory.  It produced brick, building tile, and sewer pipe for over half a century.

Alberta Clay Products ca. 1912
Wilfrid Laurier, the Prime Minister on the five dollar bill, visited the site with British investors in 1910.   By 1911 the Alberta Clay Products factory was in full production, operating 21 hours a day, and by 1912 it was the largest clay products plant in Canada employing 200 men.  The storage yards along the tracks were brimming with sewer pipes, and a postcard that I've posted below from the 1940s shows just what an impressive operation it was.

Today the site is a clay and gravel yard, but there are no remnants of the factory anymore.  The only surviving piece of the complex is a single kiln, now fenced off. There was a single pallet of sewer pipe inside one of the fenced areas that I photographed, but today you'd never guess that the area used to be such an industrial hub.    

Sewer pipe stockyard ca. 1940s

Wilfrid Laurier at the site ca. 1910

Alberta Clay Products ca. 1953

The factory burning down ca. 1961

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