Stopping house

From HousingWiki

a private residence that also offered room and board, located on early pioneer trails particularly in western Canada. 

"A stopping house was essentially a private residence that also offered room and board, and were located on early pioneer trails. They were similar to the coaching inns of Britain and Ireland except that they were not located on well-traveled routes, but on frontier tracks. Eventually, however, scheduled stagecoach services were started in the West.

Stopping houses often became the nucleus of newly formed communities. They generally disappeared after the railway or highway reached an area, and were replaced with railway hotels and motor hotels in the 20th century.

Some examples of stopping houses include Froggie's Stopping Place on the Whoop-Up Trail, a National Historic Site in Montana, and Robert Telford's House, on the Calgary-Edmonton Trail, near present-day Leduc, Alberta." -Wikipedia, "Stopping house." 


McDonald Stopping House

McDonald Stopping House

Near Waskatenau, Alberta, Canada

"The heritage value of the McDonald Stopping House lies in its identity as an excellent example of a rural stopping house, a once common building type in Alberta of which few remain. The founding of Victoria Settlement in the early 1860s and the Hudson's Bay Company post at Fort Victoria (now Pakan) soon after, resulted in a significant amount of travel on the trail between these locations and Fort Edmonton. Along this historic path, which became known as the Victoria Trail, numerous stopping houses were established. Operated mainly by farmers to generate supplementary income, these facilities offered travellers shelter for the night and occasionally provided meals and other goods and services needed on long overland journeys. Stopping houses often became important local commercial and social centres. One such facility on the Victoria Trail was operated by Samuel A. McDonald."



Johnston-Stevenson Stopping House

Johnston-Stevenson Stopping House
Johnston-Stevenson Stopping House

Dan Overes. "Johnston-Stevenson Stopping House." 
DanOCan blog, December 15, 2017.

Once a common site across the prairies, these stopping houses were strategically located to allow travelers a place to grab some food and water and perhaps stay the evening.  They were often stops for stagecoaches.  Clearly this was one of the stops between Calgary and Edmonton, as was the aforementioned Dickson-Stevenson stop just a bit further north of here.


The Black Creek Stopping-House (1912 story collection)

McClung, Nellie. "The Black Creek Stopping-House, and Other Stories." 1912.

excerpt from "Chapter II. The House of Bread": 

"Across the level plain which lies between the valley of the Souris and the valley of the Assiniboine there ran, at this time, three trails. There was the deeply-rutted old Hudson Bay trail, over which went the fabulously heavy loads of fur long ago—grass-grown now and broken with badger holes; there was "the trail," hard and firm, in the full pride of present patronage, defying the invasion of the boldest blade of grass; and by the side of it, faint and shadowy, like a rainbow's understudy, ran "the new trail," strong in the certainty of being the trail in time."
"For miles across the plain the men who follow the trail watch the steep outlying shoulder of the Brandon Hills for a landmark. When they leave the Souris valley the hills are blue with distance and seem to promise wooded slopes, and maybe leaping streams, but a half-day's journey dispels the illusion, for when the traveller comes near enough to see the elevation as it is, it is only a rugged bluff, bald and bare, and blotched with clumps of mangy grass, with a fringe of stunted poplar at the base.
"After rounding the shoulder of the hill, the thick line of poplars and elms which fringe the banks of Black Creek comes into view, and many a man and horse have suddenly brightened at the sight, for in the shelter of the trees there stands the Black Creek Stopping-House, which is the half-way house on the way to Brandon. Hungry men have smelled the bacon frying when more than a mile away, and it is only the men who follow the trail who know what a heartsome smell that is. The horses, too, tired with the long day, point their ears ahead and step livelier when they see the whitewashed walls gleaming through the trees.
"The Black Creek Stopping-House gave not only food and shelter to the men who teamed the wheat to market—it gave them good fellowship and companionship. In the absence of newspapers it kept its guests abreast with the times; events great and small were discussed there with impartial deliberation, and often with surprising results. Actions and events which seemed quite harmless, and even heroic, when discussed along the trail, often changed their complexion entirely when Mrs. Maggie Corbett let in the clear light of conscience on them, for even on the very edge of civilization there are still to be found finger- posts on the way to right living."


Egge's Stopping House markert

Egge's Stopping House
A reconstruction of the original house which was built in 1898 and located on the Athabasca Trail, about 45 miles north of Edmonton
The House provided meals and rooms for travellers as well as food and shelter for the horses. It also served as the post office and telegraph office for the area.