19640355000-031 | House and general store owned by Theodore Brandley in Stirling, Alberta, September 1900
House and general store owned by Theodore Brandley in Stirling, Alberta, September 1900
September 1900, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
8.2 x 14.2 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
Keys to History
In his book Quenching the Prairie Thirst, John Gilpin provides the following details about the irrigation agreement between the Government of Canada and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church): "Each of the two towns had to have a minimum population of 250 people. The payment for earthwork on the proposed canal was to be 12.5 cents per cubic yard for ordinary soil or dirt from those sections on the level. A higher rate was to be paid for rock work, cement, gumbo and side-hill work. The LDS Church agreed to earn $75,000 in cash and 25,000 acres of lands within two years from 1 April 1898. The land was to be in two equal blocks as nearly square as possible and on the canal. The centre of one block was to be within 20 miles and the other within 35 miles of Lethbridge. Hamlets to be established at the centre point of each block were to contain at least 50 families averaging five souls each prior to 1 April 1898. If the hamlets were not established on schedule the settlers would have to pay $5 per acre rather than $3 per acre for the land."
The village plan was designed by the LDS Church for many of its North American settlements. The townsite was one mile square, 640 acres. It was divided into ten acre lots, with a road running around each, and laneways dissecting each lot into four 2.5 acre parcels. This provided room for residents to build homes, stables and outbuildings and keep large gardens.
Stirling has retained its original layout, possibly the last Mormon-founded community in North America to have kept its church-designed settlement pattern. For that reason, it was designated a National Historic Site in 1989.
This photograph taken in September 1900 shows the house and general store owned by Theodore Brandley in Stirling, Alberta.
Brandley was living in Richfield, Utah, with his family when the LDS Church called him to Canada. He and the other founders of the village arrived at the railway station on May 5, 1899.