The McNaught Homestead near Beaverlodge was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 2003. In order for a site to be designated a Provincial Historic Resource, it must possess province-wide significance for either its history or architecture. To properly assess the historic importance of a resource, a historian crafts a context document that situates a resource within its time and place and compares it to similar resources in other parts of the province. This allows staff to determine the importance of a resource to a particular theme, time, and place. Below is some of the historical information used in the evaluation of the McNaught Homestead.
In the spring of 1909, a group of excommunicated Methodists from Ontario known as the Christian Association (or Burnsites after their leader, Nelson Burns) made their way in convoy to the western edge of the Grande Prairie in northwestern Alberta and began to carve out homesteads. The district along the lower Beaverlodge River was just being surveyed, and this group of 31 settlers came to constitute what would become the first successful attempt at group settlement in the Peace River Country. They were soon joined by other settlers from Ontario, some of them Christian Association members, some not. Among the latter was Charles McNaught who, with his wife Eliza, arrived in the district in June, 1911 to visit his brother, Sam, who had settled in the area two years earlier.
Taken by the country, Charles and Eliza also decided to try establishing a farm there, taking two quarter-sections of land off the Beaverlodge River on NE15 and SE22 TP71 R10 W6 with half-breed scrip, and one on NE25 TP70 R11 off the Red Willow River by homesteading. They decided to reside on NE15, and so they constructed a log dwelling, a barn, and other structures, and proceeded to work the land. In 1914, they received title to both NE15 and SE22.
Being at some distance from the more heavily settled areas of the south Peace River Country, the settlers around the Beaverlodge constituted a tightly knit group, most of whom were members of the Christian Association. Many non-members participated in Association activities. Though the Association itself would eventually go into decline, due partly to the lack of any formal church structure, the community remained closely connected, with many families inter-marrying. The children of Charles and Eliza McNaught would remain on the family homestead for years, becoming strong pillars of the community. Indeed, three of them came to serve as local schoolteachers. Read more