The Architectural History of Arcola and the Moose Mountains

Creator(s): South Saskatchewan Photo Museum

In southeast Saskatchewan the small town of Arcola and the area near Moose Mountain offer an intriguing display of architecture, from primitive First Nations sweat lodges, sod shanties and the largest round barn in North America to lovely Victorian-style heritage buildings. This Community Memories exhibit showcases the work of Arcola's pioneer photographer Donald Buchanan and others, and offers a remarkable insight into the rich architectural heritage of the Arcola area.

Historic Housing in Arcola, Saskatchewan

The remnants of early aboriginal settlements are detailed, the structures manifesting the symbol of the circle, a favourite shape in medicine wheels, tipi rings and sweat lodges of First Nations peoples. Sod shanties were the refuge of choice of early European settlers, whose supply of building materials was limited. However, the Saskatchewan climate is a hard taskmaster and these "soddies" were abandoned in favour of more substantial stone and brick structures in the 1880s. In the same era, the beautiful stone and brick buildings of Cannington Manor were also abandoned after a short-lived attempt to recreate Victorian England on the prairie southeast of Moose Mountain.

All images are from the South Saskatchewan Photo Museum, whose current inventory is one of the largest in western Canada outside of government archives.

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