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

Duke of Sutherland Site Complex

Brooks, Near

Other Names:
The Bungalow
Duke of Sutherland's Bungalow
Duke of Sutherland's Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Duke of Sutherland Site Complex consists of a 1.93 hectare site including a yard with many of its original shrubs and trees; a collection of agricultural structures including a pump house, barn, Delcogenerator building, outhouse and a two-storey wood-frame farmhouse northeast of Brooks.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Duke of Sutherland's Site Complex lies in its association with the history of irrigation agriculture in eastern Alberta and the role that British investment played in the expansion of agriculture and the promotion of settlement in Alberta in the early part of the twentieth century. The Fourth Duke of Sutherland was a major investor in irrigation agriculture and bought land, buildings, equipment, and livestock in the Brooks area. The site complex is a strong complement to the Brooks Aqueduct, a nearby national historic site.

The reason for settlement in this area is that the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) hoped to bring agriculture and settlers to the land that it had received as part of its bonuses for railway construction, so in 1909 the C.P.R. began creating the Eastern Irrigation District in southeast Alberta. The Sutherland family was a major shareholder in the building of the C.P.R. and the Duke was a man of enormous wealth. He eventually purchased 2,752 hectares east of Brooks from the C.P.R. and become a major force in the settlement of the area.

In addition to being one of the chief proponents of irrigation, the Duke of Sutherland encouraged settlement by bringing about thirty families from England and Scotland to colonize his land. He had the C.P.R. oversee the preparation of several ready-made farms with a cottage, barn and byre. He advertised in Great Britain for labourers and tradesmen and paid for their passage to his farming estate. By 1914 nearly all the farmland was in crop and the Sutherland Colony was used as an advertisement by C.P.R. officials to prospective settlers as proof of the benefits of irrigation.

The main residence was built by the C.P.R. for the personal use of the Duke when he came from Scotland to view his farm estate. Within its bungalow format, it contains a sizeable living space with elements far more imposing than its exterior. Arched doorways and two large arched fireplaces within buttressed alcoves, extensive use of paneling and mouldings, a main staircase with flaring bottom steps into the lobby, the double doors into the lobby, the ox-eye window in the bathroom and the glass skylight above the stairs are features which would not normally be found on the prairies. The C.P.R. was attempting to provide suitable accommodation for their wealthy patron and his guests. The four acre garden retains many of the original plantings.

When the Duke was not in residence, the Bungalow was occupied by the Estate Manager, his family and their governess. The Duke made only one visit to his farming estate before he died in 1913 in Scotland. With his death, the Sutherland family lost immediate connection with the project. As the Fifth Duke of Sutherland had less interest in irrigation agriculture and colonization, the Sutherland estate was overseen by a series of managers with directions from the Sutherland family in England and Scotland. While the estate operated profitably for two decades, the effect of absentee landlords and difficult economic conditions led to the sale of the land in 1935 to the Eastern Irrigation District; the estate was divided.

The Bungalow and the land on which it is situated have been in private hands since 1936. The Bungalow, along with the names of many of the communities in the County (such as Millicent, Patricia, Sutherland, Duchess and Rosemary) serve as reminders of the instrumental role that the Fourth Duke of Sutherland played in opening southeastern Alberta to irrigation agriculture and settlement.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1895)

Character-Defining Elements
Character-defining elements of the Duke of Sutherland's Site Complex include elements associated with the site as a whole and elements associated with each building type.

Key elements of the Duke of Sutherland's Site Complex as a whole include elements associated with irrigation agriculture such as:
- the layout of the historic farm estate, including traces of the irrigation ditches visible throughout the site and vestiges of the original ornamental planting and orchards;
- the collection of agricultural structure types including: a Delcogenerator building, an outhouse, a barn, and a pump house;
- the dense shelter belts and original plantings.

Key elements of the Duke of Sutherland's Site Complex's agricultural structures include:
- light frame structures clad in cedar shingles, beveled board and drop siding covered with cedar shingle roofs;
- the gabled hip roof barn/motor garage and pump house with hip roof and flared eaves, both having distinctive drop siding and cedar shingles;
- the gabled hip roof of the Delco generator building and outhouse.

Key elements of the Duke of Sutherland's Bungalow include:
- the mass and form of the craftsman style bungalow;
- its low, broad proportion and linear form;
- its twin medium gabled hip roof extending over the full-length front veranda;
- its deep covered full-length front veranda;
- its symmetrical front elevation with classical column detailing;
- the original double-hung single-glazed windows with storm sashes, some with large three-part units with multi-pane lights;
- its spacious rectangular plan consisting of kitchen, parlour, dining room, bathroom and bedroom on the main floor; five bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor; and a half basement and crawl space;
- its interior detailing, including original light fixtures, skylight above the main staircase, round (ox-eye) bathroom window, woodwork, wood flooring on the main floor and substantial living and dining room fireplaces;
- its interior finishes, appropriate to the formal and service areas, with simple painted finishes in the service areas and more elaborate varnished-wood finishes in the lobby, parlour and living room.


Street Address:
Community: Brooks, Near
Boundaries: Portion of SE 2-19-14-W4
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 4
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 2
Structures: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
2 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.572765 -111.837640 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2000/01/25

Historical Information

Built: 1911 to 1912
Significant Date(s) 1911 to 1935
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Extraction and Production
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Residence : Single Dwelling

In 1909, the Canadian Pacific Railway began construction of the Bassano Dam and miles of irrigation ditches in southeastern Alberta. In creating the Eastern Irrigation District, the railway hoped to bring agricultural settlement to a vast area of land it had received as part of the bonuses for railway construction offered by the federal government in the 1880s.

The Duke of Sutherland became interested in the project, and bought 6,800 acres of land north of Brooks. He farmed using dry farming techniques until the irrigation system was functioning. His huge farm produced wheat, and the Duke ran cattle and raised hogs as well. He also helped bring additional settlers out from Scotland and England.

The bungalow was built in 1911. The Duke of Sutherland played an important role in the agricultural settlement in the Brooks area. His large farm and his support of other settlers helped ensure agriculture was firmly established in that part of Alberta.

Duke of Sutherland Bungalow

The Duke of Sutherland Bungalow was built for its namesake in 1911. No indication of who designed it is given, but its sophistication indicates that an architect was probably involved. This bungalow is of an unusual, double-gabled type, with the gables facing toward the front of the house. More commonly, bungalows had a single gable orientated to the sides of the house. Drop siding originally clad the main floor, and shingles were used in the gable ends and dormers. Today, the house is sheathed with aluminum siding on both levels, though apparently the original finishes remain underneath. It appears that all window openings are as originally set out, and many original windows remain. The hip-roofed verandah is open, as it was in 1911. In 1912 windows or screening were added to enclose the verandah. The Duke of Sutherland Bungalow is interesting as an example of the larger, more up-to-date farm and ranch houses built before World War I.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0494
Designation File: DES 1895
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 22500
Website Link: www.archivesalberta.org/walls/eid.htm
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. 1895)
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    Contact Us    Login   Library Search

© 1995 - 2022 Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility