Links and documents
1906/01/01 to 1939/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Monkman Homestead comprises roughly 64.7 hectares of land on the southwest bank of Cutbank Lake, twenty kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie. The site includes a log house, barn, machine shed, and granary constructed between 1906 and the 1930s.
The heritage value of the Monkman Homestead lies in its association with early settlement and agriculture in the Peace River district and its connection to Alex Monkman, a pioneering trader, rancher, and farmer in the area.
The township survey of the Peace River Country was begun and the area opened to settlement in 1909. Alex Monkman laid one of the first homestead claims in 1910, filing on a quarter section of land along the southwest bank of Cutbank Lake. Monkman relocated the home he had constructed in 1906 at his ranching operation on Bear Lake to the site and likely erected the extant machine shed and barn during the mid-1910s. The granary was built later, probably in the 1930s. The utilitarian design and humble materials of the buildings express the North American vernacular style typical of frontier structures, emphasizing functionality and pressing need over artistry and elaborate construction. These four buildings provide some of the earliest structural evidence of the initial settlement wave into the Peace River country, the last agricultural frontier in North America to be opened to homesteaders.
Alex Monkman was a prominent figure in the early settlement of the Peace River Country. Descended from Metis of the Red River Settlement, Monkman travelled and worked throughout the North American West during the 1880s and 1890s before arriving on the Grande Prairie in 1899. In the fall of that year, he established a trading post for the Bredin and Cornwall firm at Lake Saskatoon. The post proved successful and attracted Hudson's Bay Company traders and Christian missionaries, both of whom established posts nearby. The Lake Saskatoon Settlement, effectively begun by Monkman, represented the first Euro-Canadian settlement on the Grande Prairie. While at Lake Saskatoon, Monkman created a small farming operation, one of the first in the district. When the Revillon Freres bought out Bredin and Cornwall in 1906, Monkman moved to Bear Lake and set up a ranch. Four years later, he was one of the first to file a homestead claim in the Peace River Country, settling on Cutbank Lake. During his time in Northern Alberta, Monkman was an important figure in the region's public affairs, most notably in his championing of a transportation route from the Peace Country to the Pacific Ocean. From the early 1900s until the late 1930s, he advocated for a new transport avenue - first for trains, later for cars - through a pass in the Rocky Mountains through to Vancouver. Although his proposal was ultimately unsuccessful, the mountain pass was named in his honour and is now incorporated into British Columbia's Monkman Pass Provincial Park.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1992)
The character-defining elements of the Monkman Homestead include such features as:
- spatial arrangement of buildings and structures.
- mass, form, and style;
- round log facade, hand-hewn flat on the inside, held together by saddle notches;
- lean-to kitchen on west elevation featuring squared logs and shed roof;
- medium pitch gable roof.
- mass, form, and style;
- double pitched gambrel roof with cupola on center of rooftop ridge;
- loft supported by regularly spaced floor joists placed on heavy-timber beams-on-post;
- stall dividers, open stalls;
- barn doors;
- small openings for ventilation.
- log construction featuring square wall logs joined with dovetail notching;
- medium pitched gable roof.
- squared log construction featuring dovetailed joins.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- 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. 1992)
Cross-Reference to Collection