A favourite among visitors and staff is our Replica Skid Shack in the Leduc #1 Gallery.
What is a Skid Shack?
These 1-2 room structures were a popular option for bachelors and families whose work had them relocating often, like oil workers. The shacks were designed to fit on train boxcars, flatbeds of trucks, and trailers so they would be easy for the occupants to move. These sorts of buildings could be made for around $100 ($2,000 today) or purchased pre-made for around $400 ($8,500 today). The owner would then need to find land to place the skid shack and likely pay the landowner rent.
Looks pretty small hmm?
Compared to some of the alternatives, a Skid Shack was a mansion. For individuals and families who needed to move regularly, the skid shack allowed them to have their own space that would travel with them. The alternatives were to rent a room in the nearest town or city and then commute to their work site, often by a sharing vehicle; bachelors could bunk in a shared dorm with other men; or in some extreme cases, men might even sleep in road culverts! Compared to these, skid shacks gave occupants their own private space that could be parked close to worksites.
What Ammenities Did a Skid Shack Have?
These buildings typically had no running water, no indoor bathrooms, and when they did have electricity it was only available for limited hours and sometimes unreliable. Water would be gathered by visiting water tankers or by travelling miles away. Activities like laundry and washing would be done outside, sometimes using communal spaces alongside their neighbours. Heating would often come from small woodstoves, with cooking done on the stove’s hot plate.
About Our Skid Shack
This replica skid shack has been furnished to reflect the 1940s-1950s, housing a fictional young family of three — Mother Peggy, Father Trevor, and child Barbara.
This skid shack was kindly donated by Stan Rose and Geralyn Stacey