Bell Barn

Why it matters

Built by Major William Bell in 1882, the round fieldstone Bell Barn is one of Saskatchewan’s oldest agricultural buildings. Located just north of Indian Head it is all that remains from Bell’s attempt to establish a corporate farm in the Canadian West. Built with evenly spaced gun ports around its circumference and a central silo that doubled as a lookout tower the 20-metre-diameter barn could store 4,000 bushels of oats, 100 tons of hay, and housed an office. Sadly, it is now in jeopardy of disappearing from the Prairie landscape. Like so many other agricultural structures from the province’s past it is simply falling apart.

Why it’s endangered

Today the barn sits on a privately owned 10-acre farm. The owner is worried that the harsh Prairie winters and wind will eventually turn the field stone barn into a pile of rubble. Ravaged by harsh weather and neglect survival of the barn now depends on people’s passion to preserve such buildings and the financing to make it possible.

A few local activists are trying to have the barn designated a national historic site and to obtain federal funding to restore the fieldstone building. But to date they have been unsuccessful.

 

Update 2008: With the energy of Saskatchewan archivist and heritage consultant Frank Korvermaker, the community of Indian Head raised over $1 million. In 2008 the stone walls were carefully taken down and reconstructed on land donated to the municipality located about 200 metres north of its original site, while still remaining on the 1882 farmyard.

 

Location: Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Top 10 Endangered Places List: 2006

Status: Saved

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