19731722016 | Construction crew and horse-drawn equipment at work on the Milk River irrigation canal near the Seventh Mile Cut, AB, 1904
Construction crew and horse-drawn equipment at work on the Milk River irrigation canal near the Seventh Mile Cut, AB, 1904
1904, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
Keys to History
In his book Quenching the Prairie Thirst, John Gilpin explains the resulting irrigation agreement between the Government of Canada and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: "The contract covered the construction of an irrigation canal, its management thereafter and the settlement of two towns. The original 1895 plan of the federal government for the St. Mary Canal as modified by Anderson was the basis of the construction program. The Mormon workers received their wages half in cash and the balance in land at the rate of $3 per acre. The land was to be provided with a perpetual water right. Construction was to start no later than September 1, 1898 and by December 1, 1899 the contractors had to have earned at least $100,000."
The method of canal construction shown in this photograph is the same as the one that was used in 1898 to 1900.
In this 1904 photograph, a construction crew and horse-drawn equipment can be seen at work on the Milk River irrigation canal near the Seventh Mile Cut.
Ironically, the years 1898 and 1899 were two of the wettest seen for many years. Completed construction was damaged by flooding, and the torrential rain hindered both new construction and the settlement of Magrath, Raymond and Stirling.