For a day of history, art and the outdoors, the Beaverlodge area historical homesteads make for a day of exploration and discovery.
Alexander Monkman was quite a guy. He ended up in Alberta by fleeing the Red River Rebellion. He was a rodeo rider, a Klondike Gold Rusher, a trading-post manager who successfully challenged the Hudson’s Bay Company, a farmer, rancher, and an explorer.
His explorations paid off in the discovery of a pass through the Rockies that proved to be a major shortcut for transporting grain from the Peace Country to the Pacific. You might be familiar with the Monkman Pass – or Monkman Provincial Park or Monkman Falls.
Monkman spent a lot of time in the Peace Country. In 1906, he was one of the first to file a homestead claim. He started out near Bear Lake, later moving a bit west to Cutbank Lake near Wembley.
There the homestead remains. You can see it just as it was in the 1910s: the log house with lean-to kitchen, barn with cupola, log machine shed and granary. The buildings and 67 hectares of land have been declared a Provincial Historic Site. The house is the oldest building (still standing) in the South Peace.
Euphemia McNaught was, like the rest of her family, a pioneer full of energy and activity. She lived with flare, taking an interest in everything and anything but most especially in art. Studies at the Ontario College of Art introduced her to great Canadian artists and teachers like Arthur Lismer and J. E. H. Macdonald, and led to her own college teaching career. Prime Minister Mackenzie King permitted her to record the the construction of the Alaska Highway in a series of paintings. Euphemia showed across Canada and was founder and member of several local art groups.
Euphemia (Betty from Beaverlodge) McNaught lived to 100, always finding ways to leave her community richer. Her homestead, now designated a Provincial Historical Resource, is her final legacy, offering a look at the Peace Country’s past. You can tour the buildings, an on-site gallery, or walk the trails through the woods. The McNaught Homestead is also an artists’ retreat, still providing local artists with inspiration, instruction and opportunity.
July 24th happens to be the McNaught Art Festival and strawberry tea. You can meet artists, see their work, and even try various types of art for yourself! It’s a fun afternoon, from 1 – 5 p.m.