The T. Eaton Co. Ltd. (part 2)

On the other end of the spectrum was the large two-and-a-half-storey house. A typical example still serves the Chris and Kathleen Bolink family near Monarch, Alberta.

The most popular type of Eaton's house was the one-and-a-half storey, and of those the most common style still in use in Western Canada was the Earlsfield. It first appeared as Plan 68 in the 1912 spring-and-summer catalogue with a list price of $696.50, f.o.b. the mill (freight on board, i.e., cost of freight added). In 1916, it was called Modern Home #668 and cost $887.50, with freight paid for the lumber, but freight charged for paint, hardware, nails, and paper from Winnipeg. Adding indoor plumbing cost another $150; hot-air heating was $90. In the 1919 and 1920 plan books, it was listed as the Earlsfield, but no price was given.

In 1919 and 1920, all Eaton's houses were given a name starting in Ea, thus, the Eatoncourt, Eastbourne, Easton, Eager, Earlswood, and Earlscourt, to name a few. But, the most common was the Earlsfield. Can you imagine the "think tank" sessions required to come up with all those names starting with Ea?

Not all houses that look like the Earlsfield were strictly Eaton's. Some just used the plan and sourced lumber elsewhere; some came from United Grain Growers. Nevertheless, the Earlsfield is a distinctive design not easily forgotten. In addition to the McGrath home in Fielding, Saskatchewan, Earlsfield houses are known in Alberta in Edmonton, Consort, Mannville, Irma, Nobleford, Viking, Coronation, Camrose and Carrot Creek. In Saskatchewan they were found in Conquest, Wawota, Lafleche, Central Butte, Lancer, Griffin, Craik, Eastend, Cabri, Wapella, Creelman, Tisdale, Star City, Ponteix, Reford, Verwood, Elrose, Maple Creek and North Battleford; and in Manitoba in Glenboro, Killarney, Holland, and Shoal Lake.

A common misconception about the Eaton's houses is that they were prefabricated. Although they were shipped as a single item, they were not prefab; the lumber was not even precut. Other companies, such as the Canadian Aladdin Co. Ltd., did have precut houses and one company shipped prefab materials.
by Les Henry

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

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