ST. ANNE RANCH
St. Ann Ranch
Eckenfelder Log Cabin
Links and documents
1904/01/01 to 1906/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The St. Anne Ranch is a farmstead southeast of the town of Trochu in central Alberta. The site consists of three buildings, built between 1904 and 1906, located on a property of roughly 8 hectares: the Devilder house, a two-and-a-half storey wood frame building; the Eckenfelder house, a simpler one-storey log and frame house; and a monitor-style, wood-frame barn.
The heritage value of the St. Anne Ranch lies in its representation of early ranching settlement, and the effect of railways on rural settlement patterns. It is also significant for its association with Alberta's French-speaking community, as an unusual francophone presence in an industry historically dominated by Eastern Canadian and British investment combined with American ranching practices.
Three French military officers, Armand Trochu, Joseph Devilder and L.C. Eckenfelder, formed the St. Anne Ranch Trading Company in 1905. Trochu had arrived in Canada three years before and obtained a homestead, and an additional quarter section from the Hudson's Bay Company on which the ranch would be located. By 1906 the St. Anne Ranch was a focal point for a growing French-speaking community, offering such services as a stopping house, post office, store, blacksmith, and dance hall.
The St. Anne Ranch is also significant as an artifact of the land speculation that accompanied railway construction in the pre-First World War prairie west. The Trading Company, believing that the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) would construct a branch line nearby, subdivided a town site northwest of the ranch complete with a police barracks and commercial establishments. The C.P.R., however, never built that line, and when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway completed the first branch line near Trochu in 1913, it laid out its own town site. Settlers immediately abandoned the Ranch's town site, and the influence of the St. Anne Ranch declined.
The surviving buildings are good examples of vernacular log architecture. The Eckenfelder house is more representative of early ranch and farm residences, while the grander Devilder home reflects changing domestic building styles as the original 1904 section, with neo-classical symmetry, was enlarged in 1921 with details taken from the Queen Anne style.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 928)
The character-defining elements of the St. Anne Ranch include:
- restored historic colour patterns;
- viewscapes and layout of the ranch site;
- wood frame construction with horizontal drop siding;
- classical symmetry and detailing of the 1904 section;
- elements of the Queen Anne style in the 1921 section, including curved open verandah, and a fenestration pattern including bay windows, wood sills and replaced double-hung windows;
- gable roof with cedar shingles and brackets, with two dormers and triangular pediments;
- plaster walls and fir wood flooring;
- wood detailing.
- log construction, with dovetailing at corners;
- cedar shingles;
- wood frame lean-to.
- wood frame construction;
- fenestration pattern.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
- 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. 928)
Cross-Reference to Collection