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The 76 Ranch

The 76 Ranch

The 76 Ranch GULL LAKE SouthWest Saskatchewan  Saskatchewan Our History 76 Ranch

The southwest corner of Saskatchewan, nearly all of it, had its start because of one, very large ranch. The 76 Ranch, the brainchild of Sir John Lister Kaye, who was the founder of the Canadian Agricultural Coal and Colonization Company after securing 10 blocks of 10,000 acres along the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Stretching for 100,000 acres, the ranch’s plan was to promote immigration, raise livestock and grow grain. Those settlers who came into the area would work on the ranch, and then settle on a half section of land with buildings provided.

On Oct. 6, 1888, the Edmonton Bulletin reported a contract had been tendered for two million feet of lumber for the construction of farm buildings on the ranch. In addition, 500 Clydesdale mares were bought from Ontario, and 7,000 cattle were purchased from the Powder River Ranch Company.

Shortly after, pigs and sheep were added, with 700 pigs coming into the ranch.

By 1889, there were 10,000 heads of sheep and within three years there were 30,000 heads of sheep.

Sir John would then have a large slaughter plant built in Calgary, where the cattle from the 76 Ranch would be processed.

Things were tough those first years for growing crops. During the dry years, Sir John paid to have 44 pine water tanks transported on rail to provide water, with each tank holding 575 gallons of water. Unfortunately, they couldn’t transport the water fast enough and the practice was abandoned.

Tough years continued, and a few severe winters, along with heavy losses of the livestock, resulted in Sir John admitting failure and retiring. Upon his retirement, ranch manager D.H. Andrews went to England in 1895 to promote the Canadian Land and Ranch Company, a new company that had been set up to manage the 76 Ranch. To provide water for animals and crops, a large area of flat land south of Andrews Lake was irrigated with melted water coming from the Cypress Hills through Skull Creek. A dam was then placed with planks to hold the water and divert it into various irrigation ditches.

Various ranch houses were built throughout the area, including the most important one in Gull Lake.

Under his leadership, the company did very well until 1906 when Andrews died. At that point, the ranch began to be sold off, piece by piece, to various ranchers. The site of the main complex, in Gull Lake, was sold to Conrad and Price, who turned it into the Town of Gull Lake that year.

The history of southwest Saskatchewan had its start thanks to the 76 Ranch, over 100 years ago.

via Canadian History Ehx

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