Indian Head is located in the heart of Saskatchewan's richest farmland, and beside the Canadian Pacific Railway's main east-west line. Those two facts have had a great influence on the history and development of the community.
A few settlers attracted by the fertile land had already built homesteads when the 53,000-acre Bell Farm began operations in 1882, a few months before railway tracks were laid through the district. The Bell Farm built a grain elevator, flourmill and hotel in the new town.
Many of the town's streets are named after the farm's original investors, and it also left its mark on how the streets are laid out. Where most prairie towns are laid out on a grid, with streets running parallel to, and perpendicular to the railway line, the streets in Indian Head run at an angle, making a shorter trip from town to the headquarters of the Bell Farm to the northwest.
View an illustrated map of the Town streets
Because it used the most modern equipment and farming methods available, the Bell Farm drew visitors from several countries. The CPR included a stop at Indian Head so that its passengers could view the farm's operations.
In 1887 a portion of the farm was sold to create a Dominion Experimental Farm, one of Canada's first agricultural research stations. Research into crops and dry land agricultural practices continues at the Research Station today. A tree nursery established in 1901 to supply farmers in the three prairie provinces with trees for shelterbelts continued to distribute millions of seedlings to farmers each year.
Indian Head was incorporated as a town in 1902, when it was one of the world's largest initial shipping points for wheat. Meetings held here led to the formation of the Territorial Grain Growers' Association, an early advocacy group for farmers. For more information check out the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation website.
Building on its rich, vibrant past, Indian Head is a growing, attractive and progressive community. Indian Head continues to have strong ties to the land, and is also attracting more and more people who want to be close to the provincial capital, Regina, while enjoying the best that small town life has to offer.
Images: Courtesy of Bell Barn Society, PFRA, Indian Head Museum