Established in 1988, the Spring Valley Guest Ranch is a long-time dream for owner Jim Saville. Born and raised in the area, Saville brought the Eaton House to its present location from Irvine, Alberta, over 160 kilometers away. Much of the house retains its original design, including the embossed wall coverings in the dining room. The ranch has seen guests from Europe, China and South Africa, as well as the United States and all regions of Canada.
Prairie visionary Jim Saville was set to tow a vintage church 50 kms from Consul, to his guest ranch situated in southwest Saskatchewan between the Montana Badlands and the famed Cypress Hills.
The budding impresario planned to run it as an arts centre. Saville hoped to revitalize this corner of Saskatchewan and run the arts and entertainment centre for all arts-related events from performance art, dinner theatre to opera, classical music, concerts, and cinema to drama workshops, poetry readings, dances and art exhibits where local and regional artists can show their work.
Towing buildings wasn't new to Saville. He was already a legend in Saskatchewan for having towed his guest house, an original three-story Eaton’s catalogue house (circa 1913), 160 kms in 1988 from Irvine, Alberta. His Spring Valley Guest Ranch, south of the Cypress Hills, opened the same year
It’s the second time the roving church had been moved. Originally built as a Roman Catholic Church in 1949 at Lemsford, Sask., it was subsequently purchased by the United Church of Canada which moved it to Consul in 1987. The church was deconsecrated in December, 2005.
The church steeple is 45 feet tall, and the building is 30 feet wide and 70 feet long with a full basement and a porch. Constructed of wood, the church - which comes with a full basement -seats 200.
The actual moving of the church was a five-day effort, entailing two days to load on to a semi-truck trailer, one day to move and two days to unload. Hydro lines and hills presented challenges en route. Ten power lines had to be cut to allow the steeple to pass through.