Legacy of Stone: Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings.

Description

256 pages
$39.95
ISBN 978-1-55050-369-2
DDC 721'.0441097124

Publisher

Year

2008

Contributor

Photos by Photography by Larry Easton
Reviewed by Frits Pannekoek

Frits Pannekoek is an associate professor of heritage studies, director
of information resources at the University of Calgary, and the author of
A Snug Little Flock: The Social Origins of the Riel Resistance of
1869–70.

Review

This is a remarkable, well-considered, and well-illustrated volume on Saskatchewan’s stone domestic and public buildings. It is organized into chapters that deal with “why Stone, a historical overview, the stone mansions, farmhouses and barns, urban homes, town and country schools, places of worship, public buildings and ruins.” Everyone’s favourite stone building is included. One of my favourites, the Motherwell House, now a National Historic Site receives a few well-deserved pages. I was somewhat disappointed that some of the excellent landscape work done by Parks Canada’s Greg Thomas, and interior work by Sarah Carter were not considered in what might have been a useful analysis. Would their examination of the Motherwell house have any implications for the other prairie houses? These houses were all domestic structures based on Eastern designs and specifications. How were they adapted? How did they change? If the authors did not want to deal with this it would have been equally interesting to deal with construction techniques and their adaptation to a harsh prairie environment.

Frank Korvemaker, a senior official responsible for heritage preservation with the Saskatchewan government, knows his subject in detail and brings a passion to the assessment that is reflected in the text. However, neither Korvemaker nor Hryniuk provide an analysis of these buildings and their context. What do they say about the expectations of the early settlers? Why did they build with stone? Was wood so fragile that many feared impermanence? Would only stone withstand the erosion of the prairie sands whipped up by the northwesterly winds. Personally, I believe that the early settlers of Saskatchewan, more English than elsewhere in the West, had pretentions of creating a durable and permanent civilization that would be a beacon of civilization in a dessert wilderness.

The book and its illustrations make me want to visit each one!

Citation

Hryniuk, Margaret, and Frank Korvemaker., “Legacy of Stone: Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28403.