Logged in as user  [Login]  |
AHSP
Return to Search Results Printable Version
 





Cochrane Ranche

Cochrane, Near

Other Names:
British American Ranch Co.
Cochrane Creamery
Cochrane Ranch Co. (Ltd.)
Cochrane Ranch Co. Ltd
Western Heritage Centre

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Cochrane Ranche is the site of Alberta's first large-scale ranch, which operated between 1881 and 1888. The designated area consists of archaeological remains and landscape features on approximately 137 acres, located in a sheltered valley on the west bank of Big Hill Creek, west of the Town of Cochrane and overlooking the Bow River.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of Cochrane Ranche lies in its representation of large-scale cattle ranching in southern Alberta prior to 1896.

In 1881 the federal Conservative government initiated a policy of granting large-scale grazing leases in hopes of establishing an Anglo-Canadian ranching elite in the North-West Territories. The first such lease, for 109,000 acres west of Calgary, was secured by the Cochrane Ranche Company, a group of Eastern capitalists under the leadership of Senator Matthew Cochrane of Montreal. As the first lease-holder the Company was able to choose land that appeared to have all the criteria for success. The lands straddled the proposed route of the Canadian Pacific Railway and was blessed with good agricultural land in the Bow River valley, a climate of chinooks and plentiful grasses. It also had ready access to markets for cattle in the nearby North West Mounted Police (NWMP) posts, Stoney and Sarcee Indian Reservations, and with future settlers. In 1881 the I.G. Baker Company of Fort Benton was contracted to drive cattle up from Montana and the ranch's first manager, James Walker, a retired NWMP superintendent, began constructing buildings beside Big Hill Creek.

Despite these advantages, the Ranche suffered drastic losses in its first two years, due to hard winters, lack of winter fodder, and poor herding practices. In 1883 the Company relocated its cattle south to a new lease on the Belly River and tried to raise horses and sheep on the original Cochrane Ranche, now reincorporated as the British American Ranch Company. This was not profitable, either, and in 1888, amid increasing pressure from incoming settlers to break up the large leases for homesteads, the property was sold. Nonetheless, the Cochrane Ranche is a prominent part of the history of the beef cattle industry in Alberta and reflects the relationship between Eastern Canada and southern Alberta in the period after Confederation.

Between 1898 and 1919 the property was also the site of two brickyards, which played a role in Calgary's booming construction industry prior to World War One.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Heritage Resource Management Branch (File: Des. 395)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Cochrane Ranche include:
- archaeological remains associated with historic buildings and structures including the manager's house, bunkhouses, stable, blacksmith shop, dugout, brickyards, barns and sheds, corrals;
- information potential of affiliated archaeological deposits, which provide an opportunity for additional archaeological research;
- landscape features such as a quarry, viewscapes, elevations, creek;
- documentary records relating to the history of the ranch, which support existing interpretation and provide opportunity for additional study, including: plans of survey, maps, managers diaries, photographs, etc.;
- records resulting from archaeological studies previously undertaken including: reports plans, maps, photographs and substantive artifact collections, which provide an opportunity for additional research and interpretation.


Location



Street Address:
Community: Cochrane, Near
Boundaries: Parcel E, Plan 2290EU, Public Work Site, Plan 731674 and Parcel D, Plan 5812CH
Contributing Resources: Archaeological Site/Remainss: 9
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 4

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
26
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
3
3
3
3
1 (ptn.)
2 (ptn.)
3 (ptn.)
4 (ptn.)
5 (ptn.)
6 (ptn.)
7 (ptn.)
8 (ptn.)
11 (ptn.)
12 (ptn.)
13 (ptn.)
14 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
731674
5812 CH
2290 EU



N/A
N/A
N/A

D
E

Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.200944 -114.476825 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1976/03/26

Historical Information

Built: 1881 to 1881
Significant Date(s) 1881 to 1888
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Extraction and Production
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

The Cochrane Ranch is significant to the economic history of Alberta in that large scale cattle ranching was first undertaken at this ranch. Though itself a failure, the Cochrane Ranch experience enabled subsequent ranches throughout Alberta to become successful and an important aspect of this province's development. In addition, the ranch site housed the LIttle Brick Company and Collins Brick Company between 1898 and 1919--two significant early participants in the production of brick in Alberta.

Site Data Form (June 13, 1977)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0153
Designation File: DES 0395
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 73348
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 395)
Return to Search Results Printable Version



Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.


Home    Contact Us    Login   Library Search

© 1995 - 2020 Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility