After toiling across the prairies for several months, the men of B, C, F and part of A Divisions must have been pleased to see the cottonwoods and plentiful water at the site of their winter quarters. Assistant Surgeon R. B. Nevitt certainly was: "We have come to our journey's end at last, a beautiful place in the valley of the rivers. We have already begun building, but probably it will be five or six weeks before we get into our winter quarters."
There was still much work to be done and it was already October 14. The men were sent in teams up river to cut logs and float them downstream to the island in the Oldman River where Fort Macleod was to be built. They started with the stables and the hospital, followed by the men's and officers' quarters.The buildings were rough, "Log huts, with mud roofs and floors, surrounded by a log stockade, were build in severe winter weather, and by Christmas time all hands were under cover. Light was furnished during the daytime through windows and doors of dressed rawhide, and at night time partly from the fires in the fireplaces built of mud and stones and partly from the lighted ends of rags soaked in buffalo grease hanging over the edges of tin dishes." Fred Bagley
While the location of Fort Macleod was scenic, it was impractical. Each spring the river would flood the island. After 1883, new larger barracks were built on the south bank of the river, well above the high water level.
When Macleod was named the new NWMP Commissioner in 1876, he moved headquarters from Swan River Barracks to the Fort. When headquarters moved to Fort Walsh two years later, Fort Macleod remained an important divisional center until 1919. From 1919 until today, Fort Macleod has remained a subdivision.