North-West Mounted Police Sawmill c. 1880
In 1875, the NWMP detachment at Fort Macleod ordered a sawmill from their supplier, I.G. Baker, in Montana. The sawmill was the first of its kind in Southern Alberta, and the NWMP used it to make shingles and floorboards for the Fort's buildings. The sawmill used in the Park's exhibit today comes from the Jensen farm in Priddis. Chris Jensen and his son Victor built the mill in 1915 with parts ordered from Kansas.
Established by either the settlers themselves or the federal government, sawmills were one of the first industries to appear in many early Southern Alberta settlements. A sawmill could transform a settlement from a primitive assortment of sod houses, tents and log cabins to a civilized town with sidewalks, fences, frame houses, barns and churches.