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Catalogue House Tour

catalogue house builit 1919

In mes” and catalogue operations like Eatons provided the plans, lumber, hardware...even the glazing...and delivered the house kit to the nearest railway station.

Except for the Prairie Bells B & B and the Pioneer Museum house in Oyen, the houses are not open for viewing, but take an hour or two anyway and drive by some of these houses on your way home at the end of the day.

Brochures and maps will be available at the galleries.


Drive-by House #1 Prairie Bells Bed & Breakfast in Oyen

This house began life on a farm south of town. It was builit in 1917 by the Josiah Hallman family and first occupied by Effie May Hallman aand her husband Robert Snell. The Eatons’ Plan 666 called for a single dormer, but this house was built with four roof dormers rather than one so that there was room in the attic for three bedrooms and eventually an additional bathroom.

In 1956 the house was bought by the Catholic church and moved to Oyen to be used as a convent, then a teacherage but was eventually sold once again and moved to it's present location by the town doctor in 1985. It's had several owners since then but was converted to a Bed and Breakfast by Cheryl and Manfred Schroeder in 1997.

The name Prairie Bells comes from the collection of 500 or more bells that are on display in the home.



Drive-By House No. 2 is an example of The Eastbourne from Eatons catalogue

You've probably noticed the similarities between this house and the Prairie Bells Bed and Breakfast.

Eatons featured this house as the four bedroom Model Home No. 666 in their 1917-18 Plan Book but it was renamed “The Eastbourne”the following year.

Earlier versions featured a gable roof. The plan called for the first floor of the house to be sided with fir and the second floor with shingles. The present owner has been remodelling and has put vinyl siding on the lower half and will eventually install new shingles on the upper half. She's also re-built the front verandah which had begun to collapse over the years.

The original kitchen included a pantry and convenient access to the icebox at the back door.



Drive-By House No. 3 is a modified United Grain Growers catalogue house

The son of the homesteader who built this house in 1917 lives in a nursing home in Calgary. He says it was ordered from a catalogue and the materials were shipped to the CPR station in Empress then hauled by horse and wagon to the farm.

Homeowners or carpenters often adjusted the plans and this is probably a modified version of a United Grain Growers catalogue home.

The original family sold the house many years ago and it has not been maintained by the current owner who still lives there.




Drive-by House No. 4 is "The Grange" model by Alladin Homes

This home was built in 1917 as a winter home for a family that ranched near Empress. They came into town in the winter because their homestead was so isolated.

The house is "The Grange" model by Alladin Homes, a company that was headquartered in British Columbia. They tended to specialize in more upscale designs compared to other catalogue companies. This home, for example, included a complete modern bathroom on the second floor and a holding tank for water in the attic.

Besides marketing to families, Alladin Homes provided staff housing for large Canadian companies. The sweeping lines of the deep verandah, it’s battlement railings and square columns must have impressed the common folk at the time.

In 1920 when the Bank of Commerce completed construction of their Centre Street branch, they purchased the house from the original builder for use by the bank manager.

“The Grange” is typical of 1 ½ story homes featured in the Alladin House catalogue at the time. The original advertising said, "The three essential ground floor rooms - living room, dining room and kitchen - are all large and well lighted and the pantry is of ample size for all the purposed of a farm home. The front door is accessible from any room without passing through any other room."

Although the houses were ordered from a catalogue the carpenters who built them often adapted the original plan to better suit the needs of the homeowner. This house plan called for a pantry near the back door, but it was never constructed. A later buyer added a back porch which was replaced much later when a young family renovated.



Drive-by House No 5 was known as "The Ealing" in Eaton's 1919 catalogue

This home...and the barn...were built from plans and materials that were advertised in Eatons’ 1917-18 Fall and Winter Plan Book. It was called Modern Home No. 660 but was renamed “The Ealing” in the 1919 catalogue.

It was one of eight two story house designs offered by Eatons. The foot print was 20' x 33' and included a kitchen, pantry, parlour and dining room on the first floor and three bedrooms plus a bathroom on the second floor.he second floor. The triple window arrangement was offered in the earlier catalogues, but the 1919 version only showed two windows.

At the time, the materials - including lumber, shingles, hardware, doors and windows - cost $1138. Freight charges (by rail to the CP Railway station in Empress) were extra.

Both the house and the barn were built by the pioneer ancestors of the McNeil family...who still live in the home and farm the land. The original receipts for the structures are family treasures.


Acadia Valley Elevator MuseumAcadia Valley Prairie Elevator
10 am - 5pm
Open 7 days a week

While you're on the Catalogue House Tour, you'll pass by the Prairie Elevator Museum. It's a fully functional example of one of the icons that at one time symbolized Canadian Agriculture.

See what went on in a real working elevator!

You can also shop for local crafts and have a light lunch in the Tea Room.


Oyen Pioneer Museum
9 -12 am 1- 5 pm
Monday to Saturday

The Oyen museum has a furnished pioneer’s house, similar to the catalogue homes on this tour. Unlike the private home on the Catalogue House tour, it is open to the public.




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