The Town of Indian Head

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To celebrate Canada’s 150 Birthday, the Indian Head Community Development Committee has teamed up with the Museum to dive into the depths of their archives, searching through forgotten boxes and dusty shelves, to find the most interesting and unique artifacts from Indian Head’s past! Join the adventure by reading and make sure to visit the Museum to see the real thing!

The Indian Head Museum remembers:

The Orange Home in Indian Head was a home for dependent children that operated for 83 years (1923-2006). The painting shown is an artefact in the Indian Head Museum which marks the 50th anniversary of the existence of the Orange Home. It was painted by E. McDermott in 1973 and was donated to the museum. The Orange Home was an important institution in Indian Head, from its opening on November 29, 1923 until the last child left on June 27, 2006.

At the suggestion of Indian Head resident John Blair, members of Indian Head’s local Orange Lodge (#1665) went to the 1919 provincial meeting of the Grand Lodges of Saskatchewan in Moose Jaw with an offer to acquire 26 acres of land in Indian Head if the provincial body would approve the construction of a Protestant home for children on the site. At that time, the Roman Catholic Church provided care for children whose parents were unable to care for them. The Orange Lodge considered it important that children from Protestant homes should be cared for in a Protestant environment and created the Orange Benevolent Society for the purpose of raising funds and governing the operation of the new home. The Orange Home was not created as an orphanage – it was not intended for parentless children.

The first children to come to the Orange Home were six siblings from Prince Albert whose mother had died and whose father asked the Orange Home to care for them. The number of children quickly became so great that the Orange Benevolent Society built a second building the following year. One of the buildings (Pavilion #2) was designated for boys and Pavilion #1 was for the girls. The maximum age for children at the Orange Home was eighteen.

In addition to the Orange Home in town, the Orange Home Farm (Downing Memorial Orange Home Farm for Boys) was created in 1944 on 560 acres just southeast of Indian Head that was donated by William Downing. Older boys lived there and were engaged in farm activities such as growing crops, gardening and raising livestock and poultry. A new farmhouse which was suitable for accommodating the boys was built in 1966.

A Recreation Hall was constructed in 1953 between the two pavilions which had been connected by an underground tunnel a few years earlier. By 1984, over 1,000 children had lived at the Orange Home or Orange Home Farm, some for short periods and some for many years. The children were all enrolled at Indian Head elementary School or Indian Head High School. During the 83 years of its operation, most children of Indian Head and district would have been classmates with children from the Orange Home. The institution and the children who lived there were, for many years, a normal part of the fabric of Indian Head Society. Many dedicated Indian Head residents worked at the Orange Home and the Farm over those years.

As the institution of the Orange Home was wound down in the years before its closure, the buildings and land were sold or re-purposed. The Orange Home Farm is now a private residence, while Hayes’ Haven was built on the site of Pavilion #1, the girls’ Pavilion. The Recreation Hall was retained for the benefit of the residents of Hayes’ Haven.

Submitted by: John Kort, Indian Head Museum – with information from the Indian Head History Book and research by Kaiden Thompson – museum volunteer.

 OrangeHomePainting2