Fonds BF 23 - Ralph Cook fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Ralph Cook fonds

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Reference code

BF 23

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1954-1996 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

260 cm of textual records : 1423 sets of architectural/technical drawings
43 color and 68 black and white photographs
56 cartographic items : 1 oil painting.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Ralph H. Cook was born on March 24, 1927. He attended Haultain school as a child and Central Collegiate as a teen, where he was active in student council, basketball, and army cadets and was an honours student. He graduated from Central Collegiate in 1945 and went on to earn a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 1949 from the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon. While attending university Cook taught classes in welding and blacksmithing at the university.

From 1949 to 1956 Cook worked as chief engineer for Northwestern Iron Works Limited in Regina, his father's company. In 1954, a group from the third generation of the Cook family, which included Ralph Cook, purchased the company from the second generation of the Cook family. In 1956 the company was sold to a local business consortium. Ralph Cook continued to work for the company through repeated name changes. In 1964 Cook formed his own private consulting engineering practice, acting as prime consultant for the business. Cook was an independent engineer who was also certified to do limited architectural work. These dual qualifications made Cook unique in his fields. In 1986, after heart transplant surgery, Cook semi-retired, working part-time from his home in Pilot Butte.

Cook's engineering and architectural work spanned a variety of types of projects, including businesses, schools, office buildings, hospitals and apartment buildings. Cook held engineering certification in many jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States. His projects include: a design for a large diameter pipe mill in Regina, Saskatchewan; the central library facility for the Provincial Library of Saskatchewan; central laundries for hospitals in Regina, Selkirk (Manitoba), Omaha (Nebraska), and New York (New York); a pipe mill in Red Deer, Alberta; and mobile home manufacturing plants in: Lloydminster, Cobourg (Ontario), Windsor (Ontario), and Fredericton (New Brunswick). His firm was also involved in the structural design of: the main clinker building of Sask. Cement Co.; the H.S.S. Truss design crane at the Big Inch Pipe Mill; the main crane runway at IPSCO; a fabrication shop to manufacture and assemble 60 ton sections of tunnel liner for the Gardiner Dam; and 100 ton gate hoists for the Squaw Rapids Dam. He designed the first light standards for Taylor Field, which enabled TV broadcasts of Saskatchewan Roughrider games. He also designed a 36,000 square foot portable stage for the opera Aida. Many of his projects were built in small towns, Indian reserves and smaller cities around Saskatchewan.

Ralph Cook married Norma Jean Robinson on June 25, 1949. They had two children, Mike, born in 1951, and Susan, born in 1955. They had two grandchildren from their son Mike: Stuart and Sarah. Norma Jean Cook worked with her husband in the capacity of executive assistant, which involved editing and specifications. They lived in Regina until 1972, when they moved to an acreage in Pilot Butte. In 1975 they began renovations on their "dream home", a former railway station. Their move to the country was necessary to accommodate their growing interest in equestrianism. Ralph Cook wanted to breed and train thoroughbreds, while Susan Cook was involved in riding and showing in dressage. Ralph and Norma Jean were avid equestrians. Ralph designed the selection trail course for the Saskatchewan Equestrian Team for the Summer Games. In 1976 Ralph and Norma Jean Cook both served as jump judges at the Olympics in Bromont, England.

Ralph Cook was a founding member of The Prairie Hearts, an organization for people who are awaiting or have undergone a heart transplant. He spoke often about the benefits of organ donation. He was also a member of the Masonic Orders and was a Shriner. Ralph and Norma Jean Cook were both active members of the United Church, and Ralph Cook designed the United Church in Pilot Butte in 1987. Ralph Cook died in 1996.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of architectural and technical drawings, cartographic materials, project files, office administration files, professional organizations files, bidding information for tenders, and technical information pertaining to the consulting engineering firm Ralph H. Cook & Associates, as well as the personal and financial files of Ralph H. Cook, and encompasses the years 1954 to 1994. series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The Project Files series was arranged using the quasi-alphabetical system employed by the staff of Ralph H. Cook & Associates. The Bidding Information for Tenders series was arranged using the subject-based system employed by the staff of Ralph H. Cook & Associates. Office Administration series was arranged in chronological order by the archival assistant. Personal series, Technical Information series, Professional Organization Files series, and Financial series were arranged in alphabetical order by the archival assistant. The Architectural/Technical Drawing series was arranged in chronological order whenever possible by the archival assistant.

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Some of these records are subject to access restrictions. See reference archivist for assistance. Architectural drawings are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication, and/or reproduction of these records are subject to an donor agreement (February 18, 2002).

Finding aids

Consult SAFA 35 for fonds, series descriptions, and file listing of textual records, and item listing of photographs. Item listings of architectural/technical drawings are accessible electronically in the Architectural Drawings Database. See reference archivist for assistance.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

These records were subject to adverse environmental conditions. As a result, many architectural/technical drawings were damaged.

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