Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Obadiah Place is a vernacular wood one and one-half storey "square house" with four farm outbuildings (and a phone booth) located in a rural setting on a 1.21 hectare parcel of land on the Obadiah Bowen farm in the Amber Valley district of the County of Athabasca.
The historical significance of Obadiah Place lies in its association with the Afro-American settlement of the Amber Valley area of the County of Athabasca in north-eastern Alberta, and two of the community's leading citizens, Willis Reese Bowen and his son Obadiah Bowen.
In 1911, a group of black Americans emigrated from Oklahoma and filed for homestead on lands north of Edmonton and east of Athabasca Landing. Obadiah Place is located on one such homestead, settled by Willis Reese Bowen in 1913. Bowen's original log cabin served as a central part of the community, housed as the first post office and was the site of the community's first telephone. The log cabin was replaced in 1938 when Obadiah Bowen, his son, built the current house. Obadiah was very active in the community, and served as pastor at an interdenominational church built in 1953 on land he donated about a half mile from the house.
The dwelling is a one and one-half storey square prairie vernacular wood frame building that retains most of its original architectural features. The farmhouse, yard and outbuildings, represent the experience of homesteading in an isolated area as well as vernacular basic wood frame construction that is becoming increasingly rare in rural Alberta. Though not the original homestead dwelling, this house is the oldest structure in the community. Owing to its size, it was frequently used for social gatherings.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2005)
The character-defining elements of the Obadiah Place include:
- farmhouse with restored horizontal cedar siding and 1959 addition to rear elevation;
- medium hip roof with four hipped wall dormers;
- restored cedar shingle roof;
- balloon frame system on stone rubble surface footing;
- brick chimney on a bracket in centre of building;
- original floor plan: central hall, stair case, kitchen, dining space, parlour and bedroom (main); bedrooms and bathroom off a square hall (second floor);
- fir tongue and groove floor laid over with linoleum floors;
- fenestration and door pattern;
- ancillary outbuildings: barn, chicken coop, smoke house, outhouse;
- phone booth;
- continued location on its original site.
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. 2005)
Cross-Reference to Collection