Description of Historic Place
Developed by W. R. Motherwell from 1882 to 1939, Motherwell Homestead consists of a 3.59 hectare farmstead including fields defined by fences and shelter belt shrub and tree lines, a collection of agricultural buildings, and a two-storey, stone farmhouse historically known as Lanark Place
Motherwell Homestead was designated a national historic site of Canada because of its architectural interest and its historic associations with the career of W. R. Motherwell, and as an illustration of a prairie homestead of western Canada's settlement period.
Motherwell Homestead's heritage value resides in its association with the career of W. R. Motherwell and in its illustration of an individual dispersed prairie homestead planned around scientific farming principles.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, May 1966
Commemorative Integrity Statement.
Significant character defining elements illustrating the career of W. R. Motherwell and scientific agricultural theories as applied to a prairie homestead include:
- siting of the homestead near commercial and transportation services (represented by the village of Abernethy, the Canadian Pacific Railway line, the farm market centres at Indian Head and Sintaluta)
- unimpeded viewscapes from the homestead to the original surrounding 160 acres
- landscape divided into functional quadrants defined by domestic functions, farmyard operation, garden, and water supply;
- the placement of shelter belts to protect from wind and soil erosion;
- collection of common Ontario building types, including house, barn, outbuildings and hired men's cottage.
Character defining elements also include the division of farmstead into functional quadrants as follow.
Domestic quadrant (northeast):
- domestic quadrant at front of homestead is characterized by the dominant fieldstone house, lawns, and woodlot/orchard as well as a hired men's cottage to the rear;
- the two-storey house is characterized by its fieldstone construction in the Italianate style, with two-storey front porch and hipped roof: its interior is organized around the separation of formal, family and service areas: finishes are relatively simple in the service areas and more elaborate in the parlours and lobby detailing includes wood wainscotting, pressed metal lobby ceiling, plaster rosettes in the parlours, wood fireplace mantel, high baseboards, and household objects directly associated with the career of W.R. Motherwell;
- the hired men's cottage is characterized by its simple wood frame construction, and rectangular, two-storey massing under a pitched roof.
Farmyard quadrant (northwest):
- the farmyard operation quadrant is characterized by a collection of functional structures informally placed in a farmyard landscape: they include the dominant barn, two wooden granaries, an Eastlake sheet metal granary, and a caboose;
- the Central Ontario-type barn is L-shaped, three-storey with a double-pitch, gambrel roof with ventilators: its interior arrangement is defined by livestock stalls and manger on the stone basement level, and a drive floor and hay loft in the timber-framed, wooden superstructure;
- the outbuildings (wooden granaries and caboose) are simple, functional structures, characterized by their small scale, frame construction, and rectangular massing except for the Eastlake granary, which is a small, cylindrical sheet metal structure under a ventilated, conical roof.
Garden quadrant (southeast):
- The defining feature of the garden quadrant is the extensive lawn surrounded by a high hedge
- the single structure is an implement shed set near the driveway and is characterized by its rectangular massing, pitched roof and lean-to attachments.
Water supply quadrant (southwest):
- this sector is characterized by its open space and the remains of a dugout for water collection: defining features include a depression and flanking berms constructed of excavated earth.