This log residence was built in 1929 on Prospect Point overlooking the lake for the first superintendent. J. A. Wood, assistant superintendent in Banff National Park, had been appointed as the first Superintendent of Prince Albert National Park in 1927. He was actively involved in establishing its boundaries, surveying the land for townsite development, and building the infrastructure to support the Park.
When not actively supervising construction, Wood toured the province promoting this beautiful area of forests and lakes to people who only associated wheat fields with the Prairies.
During the Depression, he used thousands of relief camp workers who were allocated to PANP to accomplish the early development of the Park. Under his direction, the relief workers cut the boundary, built the roads and utility infrastructure, created recreational facilities like the golf course, tennis courts, lawn bowling, and breakwater, and constructed community log and stone buildings, all while living in camps they constructed for their own accommodation.
Wood also hired the first wardens to protect and manage the wildlife and natural environment of the Park. Through his efforts, Wood assured that the Waskesiu was an affordable, family-oriented vacation destination and earned its reputation as Saskatchewan’s Playground (Bill Waiser in Saskatchewan’s Playground: A history of Prince Albert National Park).
As the first Superintendent, J. A. Wood stewarded Prince Albert National Park through its initial decade. Although a difficult era because of the Depression, it was a time of development and building in the Park thanks to the relief worker program. Visitor numbers rose from about 5,000 in 1928 to almost 30,000 in 1938 in spite of the tough financial times. (Saskatchewan's Playground, Bill Waiser, page 96)
Wood's significant contributions were recognized in Song of Waskesiu, a play written and performed by Park interpreter Bradley Muir. The play was based on sections of Bill Waiser's book and performed in the original Superintendent's residence among several locations in Waskesiu. It included Song of Waskesiu, composed by Alfred Nicholson in 1935 and used the art from the sheet music on the program.
The original program introduced the play like this:
"The times and life at Waskesiu Lake , Prince Albert National Park through the 1920's and 1930's as seen through the experiences of Major James A. Wood, first Superintendent of Prince Albert National Park.
A one person play in two acts.
We meet J. A. Wood in his log home on Prospect Point in Prince Albert National Park, the summer evening in 1938 when he has just learned of his transfer to Jasper National Park."
History greets you at every turn in Waskesiu.
Around the townsite you will encounter signs marking heritage buildings and places of interest from the past. Use the links below the map to connect to archival photos, historical facts, and entertaining stories connected to that place.
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