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It’s hard to imagine just how far we have come in North America, from the way things were just over a century ago, This is a picture of a fairly typical frontier home: rough hewn lumber, with mud for mortar to seal some of the drafts, housing a family so big that it would feel overcrowded in today’s large suburban homes.

Frontier Family

This family has 9 kids, two parents and a dog. Imagine trying to use the outhouse, or to get some sleep in such a noisy crowded environment. This kind of lifestyle would be unthinkable to most North Americans, but our ancestors not only lived like this, they were proud to meet the challenges of the frontier. I wonder what the background of this family was, and how they ended up homesteading on the frontier of the Canadian north. Most likely they were emigrants from a poor region of Europe, and to them the possibility of owning their own land and to live free of the oppressive culture and politics of their home country, must have made this hovel seem like a palace to them. They may have been too poor to own shoes (notice that all of them are barefoot) but what they had hope that their toil and sweat would lead to a better life for them and their children.

This photo is a time machine back to a frontier and a life that is no more. All of the people in the picture are now long gone, as is this way of life. I hope that they found their dream on this desolate frontier.

This page was last updated on April 16, 2021 by setting the featured image. No other changes were made.

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Victor Doppelt

Victor Doppelt

Victor Doppelt explores the world of yesterday through vintage photographs and informative articles.