Construction

The construction of Fort Livingstone was a project of considerable magnitude in 1874. 14,000 pounds of nails, 9,670 panes of glass for the 615 windows of the post, all of the hardware required for its 16 buildings, as well as all the supplies for the maintenance of men and animals had to be hauled some 350 miles over the old cart road between Winnipeg and Fort Pelly by brigades of Red River carts. The first steam sawmill to be brought into present-day Saskatchewan came over this trail to saw 1,160,000 board feet of lumber at Snake Creek and a shingle mill produced 550,000 shingles.

Work at Fort Livingstone commenced on September 11, 1874. Before the end of 1875 the following 14 major buildings had been completed:


  1. Commissioner’s House – later became the residence of Lieutenant-Governor David Laird and the meeting place of the first territorial council. The building was of frame construction two stories high, measured 35 by 40 feet and had 15 rooms as well as a kitchen and two large halls.
  2. Officer’s quarters – 100 by 26 feet. Also of frame construction. It had a kitchen 36 by 16 feet, 14 large bedrooms upstairs and offices, a dining room and reading room on the first floor.
  3. Men’s Quarters (3) – Three buildings. 156 by 26 feet. The center building was a two-story frame structure with kitchen, dining room, day room and dormitory. It was flanked by two log buildings of the same size, one story high and intended for sleeping accommodation.
  4. Quarters for married Men – a substantial frame building 250 by 26 feet. One storey high divided into nine apartments suitable for 9 families.
  5. Hospital – 22 by 42 feet. Built of planks, one story high lathed and plastered inside and outside, divided into three rooms and a hall. Furnished with double windows.
  6. Bake House – 22 by 40 feet, Built with logs one story high and fitted with bake oven built with stones.
  7. Storage Buildings (3)– three buildings 20 by 40 feet. Built in the same pattern as the bake house, all intended for storehouses.
  8. Guard House – 22 by 28 feet. Built of hewn logs with shingled roof and fitted with cells.
  9. Stables (2) – two buildings 190 by 26 feet. Built of logs. They were fitted with stalls to accommodate 128 horses. All the stables and harness rooms were laid with 2-inch plank floors.

 In total, $67,467.31 was spent on the buildings at Fort Livingstone. With an additional $15,000.00 allotted for the Governor’s House when Fort Livingstone became the temporary Capital of the North West Territories.

© Rick Kurtz 2011