They Also Served
Percheron horses © Parks Canada
Canadian troops in WW1 © Simon Butler
Historically, the main focus on the Bar U Ranch was raising beef, but the horses were renowned. They were sold as stock horses after intensive on-the-job training or for heavy jobs. The Ranch provided purebred draft horse bloodlines from the largest Percheron operation of its kind in the world.
The year 2014 also marks the centennial of the start of First World War, which changed the face of the globe and life as it was known in southern Alberta. Whether working for the War effort or on the front lines, the life expectancy of a horse was measured in days.
The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is dedicating this season to the animals that served with their masters no matter what nationality.
A Work in Progress: The Root Cellar
The Root Cellar: "Belly of the Bar U" © Parks Canada
Gaze through the fence at the entrance to root cellar this summer as part of your visit to the Bar U Ranch.
The rest of the root cellar will be restored by the Mountain Parks Restoration at the end of the operating season. The root cellar is part of the “belly of the Bar U”, which also includes the cookhouse and garden. The cellar was complex with a network of passages and built in wood shelving.
The cellar stored food year-round for up to two dozen people. It may not seem a big deal to have a functioning root cellar, but consider that in the 1920s, there was no grocery store nearby, and Calgary was a couple of days away on horseback.
The root cellar was state of the art technology for root cellars, probably built in 1917 and used right through 1950.
Because it was built on level ground, it lasted longer than previous root cellars. C.E.Miller, most likely the construction foreman, and a cowboy known as Charlie, left his name on one of the stone walls.