THE WARD CABIN: A TYPICAL PRAIRIE CANADIAN LOG DWELLING
By Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society
The Ward Cabin represents a typical late nineteenth century hand constructed dwelling and lived in by many homesteaders and small ranchers across the Canadian Prairies. Built of logs and roofed with roughly-hewn lumber, this 1897 structure utilized timbers from Wood Mountain (west of Twin Butte) and may have accessed planks from the Hanson Sawmill at Waterton Mills. The one-room floor plan was featured in many an early cabin – where a family’s entire living was in a common area. An informal bedroom, tucked into one corner, was adorned by a series of trunks which stored a family’s clothes and bedding in an era before wardrobes and closets were commonplace. Opposite was the old cook stove, in this case manufactured by the Puller-Warren Company of Wisconsin. It was used by the Wards for nearly half a century after its circa 1906 purchase, not only providing cooking quarters but also heating the entire structure. An adult or older child, wary of the perils of letting the fire burn out on a cold winter’s night, would rise every couple of hours to re-fuel the stove. An ice box, essential refrigeration in the era before electrical hook ups, proudly adorned another corner. Nearby was an old ironing board, on which sat an array of sad irons which were heated on the stove. An ornate wooden cabinet, similar to the one depicted in the 1912 Eaton’s advertizement, was ordered through Pincher Creek’s Scott Furniture company. On display are samples of Maude Ward’s handwritten recipes which guided her through making many a mouth-watering homemade meal.
This cabin was constructed by the Faulkner Family adjacent the Drywood Creek near Twin Butte. They resided here for two years when the dwelling was taken over by their cousin Peter Ward (1873 – 1941), his wife Maude (1872 – 1958) and their two children Earle and Sylvia. On display in this cabin is a pair of beveled glass photos of Mr. and Mrs. Ward. Originally filed on as a homestead, this thriving ranch operation was owned for over seventy years by two generations of the Ward family. The community-minded family was active in the Western Stock Growers Association, with Maude being involved in the Rebekah Lodge and the United Church. Son Earle had a passion for local history, and as a senior volunteered with the Pincher Creek and District Historical Society.