Before 1912 the McIntyre Ranching Company, sub-leased a 90,000 acre tract of land between the United States boundary and the north branch of the Milk River from the Knight Sugar Company, which had held the land under lease from the Government of Canada since 1902.
By the time the McIntyre lease land was formally thrown open to homestead application on May 1, 1912 the intense and wide spread interest of potential homesteaders had already created the "last great land rush of Southern Alberta." In anticipation of the opportunity, 40 people camped at the door of the land title office a month in advance. Land seekers pitched tents and fashioned improvised shelters with blankets fastened to fences.
On May 1, some 350 applicants filed for homesteads in "The Lease Country." The pioneer settlers and succeeding generations converted the open range to a region of farming, ranching and oil extraction, developing communities around the original school districts at Twin Rivers, Del Bonita, Lens, Rinard, Shanks Lake and Hillmer.
Sign made by Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism;
Cairn at Del Bonita
1912 Del Bonita 1987
Southern Alberta's Last Great Land Rush Area
To the Original Homesteaders and early settlers of the "The Lease Country", for the hardships and sacrifices they endured to establish the community, we, the citizens of this generation, gratefully erect and dedicate this Cairn.
August 1, 1987
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