Throughout the late nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, the railway station at the "East End" has been the focal point of many town activities. An evening promenade "to the station" was once part of the daily rhythm of town life. The arrival and unloading of the circus at the CN Station always drew a large crowd of spectators. So too did the departures and arrivals of soldiers during both World Wars. The present railway station replaced an original older wooden version. It was built during a "flurry" of station building triggered by the "architectural war" between the Intercolonial Railway and Canadian Pacific at the turn of the century. The construction contract was won by Rhodes, Curry & Co. of Amherst, one of the largest building contractors in the Maritimes between 1880 and 1920. The new brick station was finished in 1908 and boasted many new amenities, including a men's and ladies' waiting room. In "splendour" it was believed to be rivalled only by the town's cathedral and university buildings.
The one-and-a-half-storey station was constructed in Craftsman Style, now regarded as one of the few "indigenous American styles" and one of the "first truly modern styles" of the 20th century. The station has an asymmetrical seven-bay facade as well as a hipped roof with wide unenclosed overhanging eaves all around the building; this latter feature with its accentuated horizontal effect is one of the most distinctive hallmarks of the Craftsman idiom . The flared awning-like roof, however, served a practical function by providing protection for passengers from the elements. On the top floor there is a large central dormer topped with extensive glass panelling in a half moon design; on both sides of the dormer are small eyebrow dormers. The gable on the far side features decorative trim and there are brackets used to brace the overhanging eaves. In his book, Old Railway Stations of the Maritimes, Peter Latta notes the striking resemblance between the Antigonish and Amherst stations; the latter was built in 1906, one year after the completion of its Antigonish counterpart.
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