Eastend is a town situated 222.3 kilometres west of Assiniboia, where the Northwest Mounted Police established a satellite detachment in the Chimney Coulee area in the late 1870s.
The police force gave this area the name of East End, since the growing community was situated on the east side of the Cypress Hills – the name was later summarized into one word and dubbed Eastend.
Stegner House in Eastend represents one of Canada’s first artist/writer residency programs. The program is situated in the childhood home of environmentalist and Pulitzer prize winner, Wallace Stegner.
Wallace Stegner House is operated entirely by local volunteers from the community of Eastend, Saskatchewan (pop. 503).
Stegner House has hosted over 250 artists for over 30 years.
Wallace Stegner House is an example of living heritage – the former home is one of Canada’s six remaining community-operated artist/writer residencies.
Stegner was an American writer who was born in Lake Mills, Iowa. The author had lived in several places throughout his life in North America, including Montana, Utah and Saskatchewan.
In Stegner’s autobiography, Wolf Willow, he recounted his life in eight states and the province of Saskatchewan – he lived in Stegner House from the ages of seven to 12.
In Wolf Willow, Stegner wrote about his childhood in the Cypress Hills region of the province, where his family homesteaded from 1914 to 1920. Wolf Willow is said to be a unique work for blending fiction, nonfiction and history together.
Aside from writing several books, Stegner taught at the University of Wisconsin, Harvard University and California’s Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program.
Wallace Stegner House and other similar residencies aren’t qualified to accept funding either on a provincial or federal basis.
In response, the community started a GoFundMe campaign, because Stegner House required the public’s assistance to stay buoyant.
This historic, rural residency program for artists and writers needed the public’s help in raising awareness in order to keep operating. Their 50K fundraising campaign is 35 per cent of the way towards reaching their goal.
Some of the 250 renowned artists who have stayed at Stegner House have included the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (Canada’s 26th Governor General), author Lorna Crozier, author Candace Savage and writer and environmentalist, Trevor Herriot.