CANADIAN PACIFIC LANGEVIN NUMBER 1 AND 2 GAS WELLS
Alderson Natural Gas Discovery Well
Alderson Gas Wells
Alderson CPR 1 and Alderson CPR 2 Wells
Natural Gas Discovery Well
Langevin Discovery Wells
Langevin Discovery Well
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The site of Canadian Pacific Langevin Number 1 and 2 Gas Wells is a railway siding north of the former town of Alderson, part of a legal subdivision on the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) line approximately 58 kilometres west of Medicine Hat.
The Canadian Pacific Langevin Number 1 and 2 Gas Wells are significant as the site of the discovery of natural gas in Alberta (and possibly Canada).
In December 1883, natural gas was discovered accidentally at Langevin when a C.P.R. drilling crew in search of water drilled Well No. 1. Water supplies were scarce on the prairies but essential to the completion of the rail line: for work crews, new townsites along the line, and most importantly, the steam engines. Drilling wells also provided the Geological Survey of Canada with data on the shallow geomorphology of the area. In 1884, No. 2 was the first well drilled in Alberta for the express purpose of using natural gas as a fuel.
After 1900 settlers disregarded the C.P.R.'s planned townsite north of the main rail line, where the wells were located, in favour of land south of the rail line which was closer to a water supply; water was more pressing a need for farmers than an unproven kind of energy. Later, however, natural gas proved to be a cheap, efficient, reliable source of energy, and was integral to the development of industry and manufacturing (notably of ceramics, i.e. brick and tile) in southern Alberta.
Well No. 2 demonstrated amazing longevity for such an early discovery. Continued leakage prompted concerns about possible explosions until both wells were permanently capped in 1954, although natural gas is still produced from the same Milk River formation.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 612)
The character-defining elements of the Canadian Pacific Langevin Number 1 and 2 Gas Wells include such features as:
- two wells, approximately 2.4 metres (8 feet) apart, 3.6 metres (12 feet) north of tracks, underground, marked by a commemorative cairn erected by PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd.;
- portion of railway siding on which gas wells are located.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1883/01/01 to 1954/01/01
1884/01/01 to 1954/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Petroleum and Coal Products Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 612)
Cross-Reference to Collection