Chapter 9: Mennonite and Hutterite Settlements
“The Mennonites refused to bear arms and…fled from one country to another in the
“In sharp contrast to homesteaders from
They were not…able to ignore the survey system entirely but they were able initially to modify the rectangular grid to satisfy their own requirements. And from 1876 onwards they did so legally, since in that year the government amended the Dominion Lands Act to allow both Icelanders and Mennonites to settle in villages, relieving them of the normal legislative requirement that every homesteader live in a house on his own quarter section and improve the land grant he himself had received from the Crown.”[ii]
“Each homesteader signed the village’s agreement to share the land, even though the official title for each quarter section belonged to an individual. A village was established in which each settler was allocated a narrow plot of land running back from the main village street. The plot was to provide space for a house, barns, and a garden, and overnight space for cattle. The remainder of the homestead land belonging to villagers was divided into three equal parcels plus a slightly larger one for pasturage.
Each villager was given a strip of land in each of the three fields for his personal use, so that all the land in each field was allocated. This not only preserved the old village pattern of land use but also helped assure equal land quality for all settlers. In the early years, neither pasture nor fields were fenced. …Some of the villages began to disintegrate almost at once, and the majority of them disappeared”[iii] but in 1995, 17 were still in existence in the west reserve. Also the field system soon broke down and “the last of the old field systems was abandoned in the nineteen twenties.”[iv]
Because of the land division system the remaining villages have a very definite linear form that contrasts markedly with the T-type railway-based villages and the angular grid of villages based on the DLS system.
[i] Tyman, J. and D. Where on Earth: Mid Latitude Grasslands (Library Edition). Brisbane, Atham Educational, 1978, 18.
[ii] Tyman, J. and D. op. cit., 1978, 18 and 35.
[iii] See Richtik, J. T. “Mennonite Reserves” in The Geography of
[iv] Richtik op. cit., 1996, 105-106.
9.3: Rosetown and Kronsthal in the West Mennonite Reserve
Rosetown 1 (originally called Rosenort) and Kronsthal 2 are located in the central part of the west Mennonite reserve. Rosetown still exists but “Kronsthal” is a good example of a fossilized settlement, abandoned in the twenties in favour of a new home in
Rosetown still exists as a village. Numerous long narrow buildings 3 exist on either side of the street 4 producing a linear village similar to the strassendorf (street village) found in many ports of
In this rich agricultural region sections and quarter section lines can be seen, but the land is divided into many long narrow fields trending east/west 6 or north/south 7. Outside the village there is little evidence of settlement, except one farmstead in the northeast surrounded by shelterbelts 8.
Two poorly defined
Figure 9.3: Rosetown and Kronsthal in the West Mennonite Reserve
Vertical air photograph: A11635-111
Flight height: 8,740 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 6 inches
Scale: 1:16,700 (approx.)
Date: July 29, 1948
Location: Township 1; Ranges 2 and 3 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H
1:50,000 62H/4 Altona