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ALEQUIERS

Longview, Near

Other Names:
"Alequiers" Ted Schintz Homestead
Alequiers Log Cabin
Schintz Family Cabin

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Alequiers cultural landscape is an early twentieth century 0.661 hectare homestead site situated east of the Highwood River in a rural setting in the foothills of Alberta, in the Municipal District of Foothills, approximately nine kilometres southwest of Longview. The site comprises: a 1901 log residence with a 1920 addition; a 1920s log horse barn and ice house; a well; hillside dugout/root cellar; hayfield; vegetable garden area; and landscape elements including flower beds, a stone fish pond and tree plantings.

Heritage Value
The historical significance of the Alequiers homestead lies in its representation of the era of homesteading that followed the break up of the large corporate ranches in southwestern Alberta; its direct association with artists Ted and Janet Schintz, who painted the foothills landscape and ranching life; and the construction techniques utilized in the construction of the log buildings.

After 1896 the federal government sought to encourage settlement in the prairies by breaking up the leases of large corporate ranches into quarter sections. In 1900 Nellie and Alexander Weir settled on the property which was then owned by the North-West Ranch Company. In 1901 they constructed a log residence on the property. Like many new settlers, they combined dry land farming with cattle raising, and obtained title to the property in 1905. The Weirs abandoned the site in 1906 and it remained vacant until it was occupied by the Royal family in 1914. The Royal's named the site "Alequiers", derived from the spelling of Alexander McQueen Weir. In the1920s the Royals constructed a horse barn and an addition to the house.

Alequiers is also significant as the residence and studio of artists Ted Schintz and, to a lesser degree, his wife Janet, who lived there from 1939 to 1970. Ted received the greater renown for his oils of ranching, the foothills, and portraits of members of the Stoney First Nation, the largest collection of which is held at Calgary's Glenbow Museum. The natural setting of Alequiers, on terraces adjacent to the Highwood River in the foothills of Alberta, provided inspiration for many of the Schintz's works of art. The site is largely unchanged from its period of significance associated with Ted and Janet Schintz. The residence still contains furnishings and objects directly associated with them that provide insight into the personal lives of the Schintz family.

The Alequiers homestead buildings and environment have retained a high degree of integrity. Few examples of this type of low profile log structures remain. The residence is of particular significance as it illustrates both saddle notch and full dovetail log construction techniques. The saddle notch log horse barn and ice house are excellent examples of their style and method of construction. Few ancillary structures of this type remain which possess the structural integrity of the "Alequiers" log buildings.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2121)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Alequiers homestead include:

The cultural landscape of the homestead:
- three terraces: log residence, ice house, and flower beds on upper terrace; horse barn, barn yard, and ranch gate on middle terrace; garden, hillside dugout/root cellar, well, and hayfield on lower terrace;
- house landscaping including flower beds, stone fish ponds, flagstone paths (two: south and west from house), two spruce trees originally planted in barrels with staves around trunks;
-viewscapes of mountains (south and west) and coulee valley (north and east);

-rectangular horizontal log barn of saddle notch construction with low gabled, restored cedar shingle roof, feeding troughs, agricultural equipment;

The log residence:
- 7.9 by 7.9 metre original house with dovetail notching; additions (1914-1920) to the north and west, including open porch, done with saddle notch construction;
- low hipped roof on the front section with a low shed roof over the rear section; cedar shingles overlaid with asphalt shingles;
- fenestration pattern (including original front door/south elevation converted to window);
- floor plan/interior layout;
- wood doors and window sashes, trim, fir flooring;
- pantry with equipment, including cooler attached to north elevation outside the house;
- kitchen appliances such as the woodstove, furnishings (e.g. built-in cupboard), and utensils and supplies;
- brick chimney;
- stone fireplace constructed circa 1939;
- personal effects including reading materials; sketches, paintings and other wall-hangings; painting supplies;
- pot-bellied stove attached to original chimney aperture;
- built-in furnishings (e.g. bookcases);

- freestanding ice house.


Location



Street Address:
Community: Longview, Near
Boundaries: Plan 041 4204, Block 1, portion of Lot 1 (as shown on Plan 051 0536)
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 3
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 3
Structures: 2

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
3
18
18
1,2,7,8 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
0414204
1
1


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.513869 -114.394914 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: 2005/07/13

Historical Information

Built: 1901 To 1939
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Learning and the Arts
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, the foothills of what is now southern Alberta were given over largely as grazing leases to several big ranching companies, many of them with close ties to the Conservative Party. With the election of the Liberal party in 1896 however, more emphasis came to be placed on settling the West with small, independent farmers. Under Interior Minister Clifford Sifton therefore, many grazing leases, when expired, were not renewed, in order that the land could be subdivided into quarter-sections for homesteading, or given over to the CPR Land Department.

Among the many homesteaders to flock into the region during the turn of the twentieth century were Nellie and Alexander Weir who, in July 1900, filed for SE18 TP18 R3 W5, on the east bank of the Highwood River, some 20 km northwest of High River. This was on land previously occupied by the North-West Ranch Company. The Weirs were from Ontario, and, like many of the new settlers, they combined dryland farming with cattle raising. In May 1905, Alexander Weir received title to his land, and, in February 1906, the High River Times reported that he was erecting a new 26' x 26' log home on his ranch.

The Weirs never owned more than one single quarter-section of land, and, with grain prices declining during the early 1900's, they probably found it difficult to make ends meet. At the time, their property was surrounded by a large ranch owned by George Lane, which consisted of several sections. At any rate, as soon as Weir gained title to his quarter, he mortgaged it to the Fairchild Company of Winnipeg. Two years later, the Fairchild Company became owners of the land, while Weir apparently drifted off to some other form of employment. Shortly thereafter, the western portion of the quarter-section was sold to an Italian immigrant named George Pocaterra, who turned it into a dude ranch called the Buffalo Head Ranch. The eastern portion, which held Weir's house, was acquired by an English immigrant named Owen Royal, who seems to have had business interests in Calgary. It was Royal who upgraded the house, adding three bedrooms, a kitchen and a porch, while landscaping the yard and planting trees. Royal named it Alequiers, a name derived from the spelling of Alex McQueen Weir.

In 1939, the Alequiers property was acquired by an artist named Ted Schintz. Schintz had migrated to western Canada from Holland in the 1920's, taking odd jobs and cultivating his skills as a painter. In 1928, he stayed at the Buffalo Head Ranch and developed an affinity for the foothills environment. In 1931, he married Jeanette Kay from England, and the couple stayed for a while at Algequiers before traveling to Europe. While the couple took odd jobs, Ted enrolled in the Academy of Arts in Munich, studying under Angelo Yank. Upon his graduation, the Schintzes returned to western Canada, and, soon, Ted began to sell his paintings at reasonably high prices, mostly to magazines like Country Guide and Cattleman, which were interested in images of the prairie West. Jeanette was also able to sell some of her work. Finally, in 1939, the couple had sufficient means to purchase Alequiers, where they lived until retiring to High River in the 1960's. The property was eventually inherited by their son, Michael, and, in the 1980's, it was acquired by the Dennis and Kilnoch families, who are seeking to undertake its restoration.


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The historical significance of the Alequiers ranch house lies in its provision of structural evidence of the homesteading experience on the southern foothills of Alberta after the break-up of many of the large ranches that had dominated the area. The expanded house of about 1920 is also important as the showpiece home of Owen Royal and, more importantly, the artist Ted Schintz, many of whose works have graced magazine covers with images of the southwestern plains of Canada, and several of which are stored in the Glenbow Museum.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1044
Designation File: Des. 2121
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 31503
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 (Des. 2121)
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