ANDREAS MICHELSEN FARMSTEAD
Stirling Agricultural Village (Michelsen Barn and Granary)
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Andreas Michelsen Farmstead consists of a one-and-a-half storey farmhouse at the south end of the property; outbuildings including a barn, granary, calving shed, coal shed, machine shed, corrals and pens, and an outhouse; and landscape elements such as a dugout, cistern and filter, storage cellar, and plantings. It is located on the west half of four blocks in the northwest corner of the Village of Stirling.
The historical significance of the Andreas Michelsen Farmstead lies in its excellent representation of a pre-1950 Mormon farmstead in southern Alberta.
Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) played a critical role in settling the arid grasslands of southern Alberta after 1887, bringing an expertise in irrigation and dry-land farming from Utah. The Michelsen family immigrated to Stirling from Denmark via Utah in 1900, and were among the earliest settlers in the area. In 1902, the family constructed a house (expanded in 1912) on a property that originally encompassed 2.5 acres, a typical lot size for a family homestead in Stirling's village plan.
The farmstead is one of the best remaining examples of a Mormon homestead and an integral element of the town grid plan that was adopted by several Mormon communities in southern Alberta. Based loosely on the "Plat of Zion" envisioned by Church founder Joseph Smith, the village plan sought to create closely-knit rural communities through clusters of residences facing the village streets, with parcels of farmland located outside the town boundaries. With its distinctive large lots and wide streets, this settlement pattern differs from the widespread practice of establishing isolated homesteads on quarter sections.
The Andreas Michelsen Farmstead is an important contributing element within the National Historic District of Stirling, which is considered to be the best surviving example of Mormon agricultural village in Canada.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1943)
The character-defining elements of the Andreas Michelsen Farmstead include:
- one-and-a-half storey design on a square plan with truncated, slightly bell-cast pyramidal roof;
- cross gables on each elevation;
- open wrap-around verandah with low railing on south and east elevations;
- cedar shingles;
- exterior materials, including wooden drop siding;
- fenestration of double-hung, wood frame windows with decorative hood mouldings;
- extant historic interior elements and finishes, including lath-and-plaster walls and ceilings, fir flooring, baseboards and trim, and wood panel doors.
- exterior mass and form, particularly as conveyed through the gable roofs of the granary, coal shed, and outhouse, the shed roofs of the calving and machine sheds, and the gambrel roof of the barn;
- visible methods of construction, including frame construction of the barn, calving shed, and machine shed; and cribbed construction of granary
- building materials such as the cedar shingle roofs, exterior drop siding with corner board trim on the barn, shiplap exterior of the machine shed, and heavy plank flooring of the barn;
-fenestration pattern, notably that of the barn, with its simple four pane sash units and track doors on the front and end elevations, and of the windowless granary with its second floor door reached by a set of outside stairs;
-interior arrangement of buildings and the barn in particular, with its central aisle flanked by stalls and large, open loft.
Landscape elements such as:
- spatial configuration of the buildings and spaces within the site, including the transition from farmhouse yard to farmyard and corrals and, ultimately, to large open pasture on the north half of the property;
- varieties and location of vegetation, including cottonwood, maple, spruce and poplar trees;
- collapsed root cellar on north edge of property.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Food Supply
- Farm or Ranch
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. 1943)
Cross-Reference to Collection