Description of Historic Place
Seager Wheeler’s Maple Grove Farm National Historic Site of Canada is a 17-hectare (42-acre) farmstead 6.5 kilometres east of Rosthern Saskatchewan, established by farmer, agronomist and pioneering seed breeder Seager Wheeler on the prairies in 1898. The site includes various buildings, archaeological resources, and landscape features that depict a model farm of the Wheat Boom era from 1898-1940. Official recognition refers to legal property boundary at the time of designation.
Seager Wheeler’s Maple Grove Farm was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1994 because of:
- the close association with the career of Seager Wheeler for his contributions to the development of wheat and fruit strains suited to the climate of western Canada;
- the extant resources, including the numerous shelterbelts and hedgerows as well as the remnants of test plots in which Wheeler conducted important seed selection experiments;
- the well preserved farmstead layout and buildings seen to typify the modest grain farm as it was developed during the “Wheat Boom” and its aftermath, 1898-1940.
The heritage value of Seager Wheeler’s Maple Grove Farm lies in its association with the agricultural contribution of its original owner, Seager Wheeler, in its representation of a typical prairie farm of the 1898-1940 era, and in the integrity of its multi-dimensional cultural landscape whose buildings, layout and planted landscape survive as a reflection of the work of their owner during that era. Maple Grove Farm was established by Seager Wheeler in 1898 and operated by him until 1947. He constructed most of its remaining buildings during the 1908-1928 period, and used the farm property and facilities to conduct experiments important to the development of agriculture in western Canada from 1898 to 1940. Although most of the 57-hectare (140-acre) farm continues to be owned and operated by the Wheeler family, 17 hectares (42 acres) constituting the original farmstead has been severed for operation by the Seager Wheeler Historic Farm Society as an agricultural tourism site.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, November 1994; Commemorative Integrity Statement, October 1998.
Elements of the site that contribute to its heritage value include:
- the cultural landscape of a late 19th- early 20th-century prairie homestead including its original organization and layout with planted features and the farmstead building complex;
- the buildings in their found scale and massing (the 1908 house, the 1925 house, the barn, the seed cleaning plant, the chicken coop, the blacksmith shop, the ice house/storage shed, the outhouse, the 1918 vehicle garage), their wooden construction, original interior layouts and finishes;
- archaeological resources on the site from the Seager Wheeler period such as remnants of the original log house, the 2 wells, the packing shed, 5 wooden granaries, a sod shanty, a sod barn, a chicken wire fence, and a machine shop;
- the functional and spatial relationships of buildings, structures and archaeological remnants in relation to one another;
- viewscapes between the buildings, structures and facilities represented by archaeological evidence;
- surviving evidence of original planted features including the orchard site, flower garden, crop fields, tree nursery, shelter belts, hedgerows, tree-lines, and other aspects of its man-made landscape such as maple grove lane, spruce driveway, orchard lane, north farm lane, home quarter, and remnants of test plots and orchards;
- remnants of crop varieties associated with Wheeler, particularly wheat (Marquis 10B and Red Bob), oats, barley, field peas, rye, potatoes and fruit strains;
- the continuity of aspects of the farm associated with Wheeler’s soil conservation and husbandry initiatives including fixed features such as shelter belts and hedgerows and practices such as summer fallowing, crop rotation and composting;
- objects related to Wheeler’s management of the farm such as the Carter Disc, elevation legs, fanning mill, Three in One, Belting and Power Shafting and bagger in the cleaning plant, various pieces of orchard equipment, the wooden threshing machine, hay mower, manure spreader, binders, wagons, and gardening tools;
- objects associated with Wheeler’s agricultural experiments and their recognition including photography equipment, awards, medals, and archival materials such as his notes, books, photos and catalogues;
- viewscapes from the historic farmstead to other Wheeler farmlands.