List of locations of Manitoba Heritage Houses
Killarney x 3
Minnedosa x 4
Souris x 2
Winnipeg x 3
Brandon x 8
Miami x 2
Carberry x 2
Portage la Prairie x 4
MANITOBA HERITAGE HOUSES
A. G. Hay House, 402 Clark Avenue, Killarney, MB
I love this house!
The house itself, brick with tall, square massing and truncated hipped roof, is attractive but rather ordinary, despite its opposing one- and two-storey bays. Its location and Queen Anne Revival style decoration elevate its appeal and grandeur from great to wondrous.
Arthur George Hay from Ontario studied law in Winnipeg and practiced in the Killarney-Virden area after 1893. The main section of the Hay house was completed in 1904. The rear addition was added later.
The two-storey entry pavilion and wraparound verandah are the most striking features. The wooden enclosed porch and the balcony above topped with a pediment and sunburst design accentuate the height of the house. Tuscan columns support the porch and verandah, both of which are loaded with intricate wooden details. Notice the three distinct types of brackets under the roof of the balcony and the lovely turned pillars and balustrade.
The large and comforting verandah coddles the house adding to its grace with the conical-roofed corner pavilion topped with a classic pinnacle. The single and paired Tuscan columns, small under-eave brackets and complex use of the colour green make the verandah sing while the rest of the house completes the harmonic choir.
Windows are mostly tall in proportion to the house capped with segmented arches. A charming detail and one that speaks to the overall high quality of the design is the small cutaways above the windows that accommodate the arches.
Yet among all that, set back from the street and settled comfortably on its treed corner lot, the Hay house exudes grace and charm, satisfied with its unique presence in the town of Killarney, its provenance unquestionable.
For an all-angles view of the A. G. Hay house, watch my 1:51 video.
B. J. Hales House, 1312 10th Street, Brandon, MB
Benjamin Jones Hales came to Manitoba from Ontario and taught at MacGregor and Hartney Schools before becoming the first principal at Brandon Normal School, a job he held from 1911 to 1939. A keen naturalist, his collection became the B. J. Hales Museum of Natural History, a permanent fixture at Brandon University since 1965.
About a block away from Brandon Normal School, one of four such schools for teachers set up in Manitoba, Hales built his house in 1912. Leaning toward Arts and Crafts but declaring no particular architectural style, it’s the double eyebrow roofline that dominates the house along with its steep hipped and oddly truncated roof and prominent dormer.
Set back from the street on a wooded lot, the two and a half storey brick house is domestic, simple, genteel, a model of the times it was built. I love the little second tier sidelights next to the porch door.
The lot is partially surrounded by a fieldstone fence with a built-in stone fireplace on the south side. Much of the flora on the property was planted by B. J. Hales.
This is a 1930s postcard of Brandon Normal School.
Shaver House, Killarney area, MB
As I drove along the dusty country road toward the Shaver house north of Killarney I started to get the giddy sensation that arises when I approach something living and vital yet stationary and settled. Sacred places usually create that sense in me, sometimes buildings do, too.
As if painted directly on the prairie blue, a wondrous and unlikely vision, that switched back and forth between Italianate and Gothic Revival styles like a 2-D postcard, took shape against the distance. I was fascinated and curious, as ever.
Here’s an example of what prairie success did to an Ontario-born farmer, Arthur Shaver, who came to the Hullett area in 1889. Successful at farming and committed to a new and growing community, he served on Hullett’s first school board when it began in 1892. By the turn-of-the-century Shaver was ready to build.
Situated on a small rise overlooking rolling farm land to the south, Arthur Shaver built a house that recognized his success, his talent and his humanity. Two and a half storeys in tan brick, fanciful, one-of-a-kind design and decoration – a unique, top-notch quality house that the Shaver family made their home for several generations thereafter starting in 1901.
The wise old house and its tidy and tended grounds turns out to be a bed and breakfast called La Belle Vie (The Good Life) run by friendly and sociable Pam and Paul La Pierre. We sat next to the above-ground pool and rear sun room, both of which felt very compatible with Shaver’s dream, and shared some thoughts on the house and farm. The La Pierre’s, by loving and maintaining the house and sharing it with travelers, respect and enhance the heritage value of the place, located on the original Shaver farm.
I enjoy staying at curious bed and breakfasts and meant to get back to the area and spend a night living La Belle Vie, but, alas, it didn’t happen. Added to next summer’s list. My words and video then are about the exterior only.
What an exterior!! The generous rectangular massing has a shallow pedimented gable on the front and a wing on the east side. Scrolled bargeboard accentuates the pediment. The hip roof is cut with two dormers and the wide eaves are supported by scrolled brackets. Painted bricks add flair and interest to the house with stars, quoins on the corners and the detailed colour contrast highlighting the windows.
For an all-around view of the Shaver house, watch my 2:12 video.
Brick Italianate House, Ninga, MB
My summer travels took me to places I’d never been before, like Ninga, Manitoba. Not ninja, Ninga, apparently the Chippewa word for mother.
This lonesome seemingly deserted buff brick house caught my attention and I took one picture of it, the one above. So everything I say is based on seeing this one elevation.
The roofline is the foremost Italianate feature. Its low pitch hip jousted by the sweet angles of the matching gables evokes a smooth and gentle, almost erotic rhythm against the prairie sky. It sings!
The under-eave colour appears to have been reddish brown, which would have contrasted richly with the pale buff brick and feel right at home under the milky brown of the shingles. The pairs of tall windows under the gables have simple brick headers. The bricks overall are laid in common running bond.
The main floor conveys several elements of Italianate style such as bay windows It appears to have two of them but closer inspection reveals the one on the left of brick construction is incorporated into the body of the house and features the main entrance. The one on the right is a wooden addition, a back porch painted in trim colour. The bays are connected by a narrow but elegant verandah.
Oh, the verandah: the brackets are a contrasting green to the reddish trim. The low pitch of the roof in sighing reverence to the roofline above and the trio of turned squared-away pillars doing their important work slowly succumb to the creep of the foliage, already obscuring the stairs and entwining the bench against the wall.
Although the house remains in reasonably good appearance, the straggling strands of long-dead Christmas lights and the invading overgrowth herald its tomorrow, its future tangled in the vines and vicissitudes that encroach on its presence, that threaten its being. Only the prairie wind can determine how apt this all is.
Demonstration Farm House, 44 Water Street, Killarney, MB
The original intent of the Killarney Demonstration Farm, as created by George Lawrence, Manitoba’s minister of agriculture from 1911 to 1915, was to identify crop varieties and farming practices that would work in the region. Lawrence was from Killarney, thus this fine old pile!!
The architectural style of the house is typical of many houses built in the early 1900s in southern Manitoba. It’s called American four-square, four rooms down, four rooms up, nice and symmetrical inside and out. A summer kitchen with sun room above have been added at the back. The balance of the hipped roof cut with dormers, each with its own hipped roof, the window placement and the solid massing indicate order, purity and dominance over the elements. Though looking very shabby today, in its prime with gleaming white wooden siding illuminated by the prairie sun and black trim cutting definition into the vision, it would have been an inspiration!
Above and beyond all those fine wholesome details flies the wide and welcoming verandah. Lovingly embracing the house on three sides and covered by a low-pitched roof supported by square pillars, it’s the verandah that gives the place its life and its lift. The wide eaves and the airiness suggest wings attached to the house, the whole affair about to soar off into the sunshine. It also makes the house appear much larger than it is.
Completed in 1915, the Demonstration Farm manager and his family lived in the house. Since the farm closed in 1946, the house has served various duties since including RCMP barracks, private school and museum. Today it appears to be empty. Situated next to the campground on the outskirts of Killarney, it’s a rare, educational and stunning relic.
For a comprehensive look at the Demonstration Farm House from all angles, watch my 1:58 video.
Johnson House, 446-7th Street, Brandon, MB
In 1880, Samuel and Edwin Johnson moved from Seaforth, ON, where they ran a successful family hardware store, to Brandon with the same intention. The brothers built their store on the south east corner of Ninth Street and Rosser Avenue in 1885 and Johnson Hardware operated there until 1959. Under Edwin’s skillful management, the store prospered, making Edwin a prominent citizen of the city.
In 1904 Edwin commissioned one of Brandon’s up and coming architects, William A. Elliott, to design a home for him and his family. Elliott, who went on to design dozens of buildings all over southern
Manitoba, was just making a name for himself in Brandon when approached by Johnson. The resulting house is a beauty!
Begun in 1904 and completed in 1906 by builder C. Lillington, the Johnson house is a superb example of Queen Anne Revival architecture, the dominant home design style of the period. The main focal point is the veranda that wraps around the feature corner of the house. Its low pitched roof is supported by Classical columns. The veranda pediment with the cowl and anchor detailing is repeated on the dormers. The tan bricks are laid in standard running bond; all openings feature rectangular, segmented or semi-elliptical brick arches and windows have limestone sills. The oval window with its four keystones is striking. Don’t miss the pairs of sweet scroll brackets under the dormer eaves.
The house was inhabited by the Johnson family for 72 years. Beautifully maintained, right down to the patterns in the shingles around the veranda foundation, kudos to its present owners for their dedication to preserving local heritage.
Lorne Terrace, 1133-37 Lorne Avenue, Brandon, MB
Before apartment blocks became the norm for dense urban housing, row houses or terraces served a similar purpose. Originating in Europe in the 16th century, a row of identical or mirror-image houses that shared side walls made more efficient use of city land than detached houses. Row houses spread around the world and an excellent example can be found in downtown Brandon, MB. Located at the corner of Lorne Avenue and 11th Street, Lorne Terrace was built in 1892 and originally divided into four separate and quite luxurious, for the time, units. Today the terrace has 14 apartments.
Lorne Terrace was built by Bell Brothers Construction Company which had a reputation for top-quality materials and workmanship and attention to detail. Over four decades, Bell Brothers constructed many notable buildings in Brandon, some of which are now precious heritage sites. The Terrace is one of them.
The first thing that strikes you about Lorne Terrace is its substantial rectangular massing in fine buff brick laid in standard running bond with a medium-pitch hipped roof, cross gables on the front and rear and hipped dormers on all sides. Now drink in the symmetry of the front facade.
The pair of entrances feature identical gabled porches and arched hood moulds that replicate the ones under the third floor gable peaks. The fenestration offers a variety of openings: singles, pairs and trios of windows abound including the two lovely Palladian-style openings on the main floor between the entrances, both with raised brick hood moulds.
The craftsmanship of the brick detailing on the terrace is exceptional. Study the brickwork below each gable and you will discover an array of stylings from dog-toothing where the corners of the bricks protrude, to soldier, sailor and rowlock courses to a basket weave pattern right above the paired windows with blind arches and hood moulds highlighting the opening. In this picture you can also see the painted wooden bracket with a bit of scrollwork on the inside corner of the front gable. Several raised brick stringcourses, including the sills, wrap around the building.
Three Bricks in Portage la Prairie
These three fine brick houses sit on the 600 block of Saskatchewan Avenue, the main drag of Portage la Prairie, MB. Although modest and similar in many ways, each has its own distinctive qualities.
First I’ll mention the qualities all three houses share. Each has steeply pitched roofs on flaring gables and a rectangular dormer with steep roof. The fenestration (window positions) is the same on all three houses with brick sunbursts above the two front windows. All are built of the same buff brick, which on two of the houses, including this one, is laid in American bond, that is, every sixth row shows the header (end) of the brick rather than the stretcher (side of the brick). All have fish scale shingles on the large front facade gable, limestone lintels under the front windows and attractive, appropriate shutters. The floor plans are extremely similar. All front entrances are protected by a roof.
What distinguishes this house is the additions, mostly sympathetic, that have been made at the rear. The same colour of brick and trim was used and detracts little from the original house. The building is now occupied by an insurance company.
This is the most distinctive of the three houses and has many design features that set it apart from its neighbours. It has a substantial foundation which the other two lack. This results in the attractive stairs onto the porch, which is rounded with a fine contrasting dentil just under the eave. Contrasting columns support the porch roof and the corners sport quoins similar to the foundation material. This house is the exception to American bond. This building features standard running bond, that is, all bricks were laid end to end. It is currently a hair salon.
This is the only house of the three that is still used as a residence. The most obvious difference is the reversed design inside and out but the materials remain the same. American bond brickwork was used here as in the first house. The dormer roof is different from the other two. Because the building is a home, it has a warmer feel to it.
White House, 510 Fourth Avenue, Carberry, MB
I have previously featured this house on the Houses page. This post will update, elaborate on details and replace the original entry.
Carberry, MB has retained an enormous amount of its built heritage relative to most Manitoba towns. Two blocks of historic buildings with architecture dating back more than a century on Carberry’s Main Street have been designated as Manitoba’s first Provincial Heritage District. Walking down the town’s main drag is a rare and exhilarating experience for a heritage buff. I spent a couple of days in Carberry last summer photographing most of their remarkable buildings, including these new pictures of the White House.
The White House has stood on a corner lot on the outskirts of Carberry since about 1900 when James White built it to reflect his Ontario heritage where Queen Anne style developed its own permutations. White moved from Ontario in the 1880s, settling in Carberry where he was a contractor, sash and door manufacturer and business owner. In addition to his own home, he built his factory, the Charlie Sear Block at 19 Main Street in downtown Carberry and the town’s Presbyterian, Methodist (United), and Anglican churches. An inventive fellow, White devised a system that diverted waste steam from his factory to heat his nearby home.
Take a moment to drink in the overall Seussian effect of this Queen Anne Revival beauty. Fanciful yet formidable, subtlety and exuberance unite in striking accord on the Manitoba prairie. Notice its expansive harmony and superb craftsmanship. The picturesque roofline features double gables with a shallow pitch between them. Under the gables, bull’s-eye windows are perfectly centred between substantial brackets, each of which features a delicate drop. The peaks of the gables contrast with the smooth arc of the bargeboard below. The design on the elaborate bargeboard, the triangle and dot, is replicated on the upper verandah.
The colours are intoxicating. The distinctive red brick came from the brickworks in Edrans, MB where James White’s wife, Margaret, apparently had connections. The brick has developed a lovely patina over the century that accentuates the contrast with the rich white brick detailing. All windows are topped with elaborate headers in white brick, each with a drop, like on the brackets. Two belt courses in white brick gird the house and the bull’s-eyes are accentuated by the solid white brick enclosures. Every corner is loaded with white brick quoins. Notice the subtle use of the colour black on the building in the small details on the verandahs, window sills and lintels and under the gables.
The verandahs are exceptional despite being under repair. The arcade of arches on the upper level mimics the shape of the bargeboard and the arches over the windows. Both verandahs sport turned posts all around. The small porch over the rear door is delicate and adorable with its widely-spaced dentil and little picket balustrade.
Notice how the quoins next to the top and bottom of each window join up with the white brick header giving the appearance the window is supported from above. The design is almost hieroglyphic.
In addition to the variety of shapes in the brick design, each window features diamond and triangular shapes and a frame of square coloured panes. The exterior condition of the White House is remarkable. It is now part of the Carberry Plains Museum located next door to the house in the brick building James White built for his sash and door factory.
Quick Carberry fact: For a number of years starting in 1940 the British Royal Air Force operated Service Flying Train School #33 near Carberry. Among the thousands of airmen who trained there was actor Richard Burton.
Fieldstone Mansard Roof House, 66 Third Avenue SE, Minnedosa, MB
Among the collection of wonderful fieldstone buildings in Minnedosa stands this fine example of Second Empire architecture adapted to prairie needs. Commonly used for public buildings in Canada, especially those built by the Federal Department of Public Works in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Second Empire architecture was adopted by the Roman Catholic church and used for its schools and convents well into the 20th century. Built about 1896 from local fieldstone and first owned by Charles Currie, the house sports many well-defined details of the style. The red mansard roof dominates the house with the chimney poking up out of the top and tall dormers on all four sides. The dormers have pediment roofs with delightful sunburst detailing. The little house has two full bay windows with the street side bay featuring tall windows on all three sides. The scrolled brackets under the eaves are painted in two colours, a characteristic which complements the mottled colours of the fieldstones. Situated on a corner, the house gives the impression of stability and conveys a sense of its own history.
The Lyons House, Carberry, MB
Robert Fern Lyons was one of the early settlers in the Carberry area after emigrating west from Ontario in 1879. He purchased one of the first lots when the community of Carberry was established, on which he built a department store which he operated until 1888. Lyons owned 2700 acres of land around Carberry and raised crops and livestock. A Conservative, Lyons was elected to the Manitoba Legislature five times between 1892 and 1914.
What interests me most about Lyons is the house he built near Carberry. Though long abandoned and disintegrating quickly, the crumbling mansion retains enough of the detail to suggest its original magnificence. Located east of Carberry and Hwy #5, the house is visible among the overgrown trees from the highway, its brick construction standing out against the prairie fields.
Built around 1895, the red and buff brick two-storey house combines elements of Italianate and Queen Anne architectural styles into a striking and luxurious pile. The first floor features buff brick, the second floor red brick, both laid in standard running bond. The commingling of both coloured bricks on the second floor is fluid and dynamic. The asymmetrical massing of the house, round segmental arches over the windows and the accent quoins are all Italianate elements that give the house a villa feel. Queen Anne style is represented in the two-storey rounded rooms, the bargeboard and fish scale shingles on the gable ends, the ornate three arched windows, which I believe went up the stairway of the house, and picturesque roofline. The former Lyons farm yard still has the wooden barn collapsing into itself and a rusting car parked at the rear of the house. The interior picture shows how far the place has fallen from grace. It’s a shambles.
Fieldstone House, 77 First Street NE, Minnedosa, MB
Situated on a quiet street and peeking shyly from behind luscious evergreens, this dignified fieldstone house sports several rather rare Gothic Revival touches. Beyond typical Gothic features of its steep front gable and rectangular, symmetrical massing, this two-storey house features elegantly elaborate bargeboard (under the gable) in a pattern that is replicated on the low balustrade around the porch roof. The peak of the gable has both a pendant hanging below and a pinnacle pointing upward, lovely features with the pinnacles repeated atop the side gables.
Porches on heritage buildings can be tricky and either add to or detract from the overall design and feeling. This porch, painted white to contrast the grey and reddish stones, adds further elegance to the place. The columns on the porch suggest Classical Revival architecture. The little balustrade on the roof is precious.
The Minnedosa Heritage Committee states the house was built in the 1890s for Joseph and Edith Burgess who raised their 11 children there. Joseph established the Burgess store in Minnedosa in 1896. Burgess Quality Foods still operates from the same location today. The house has changed hands several times over the decades with very sympathetic restoration being done after 1985.
Arts and Crafts Bungalow, Earl Grey area, Winnipeg, MB
This luscious example of an Arts and Craft bungalow, just down the street from me, has nearly every characteristic that defines the purely residential style which took root in Winnipeg about 1910. The word bungalow is an anglosizing of the Indian word bangala, meaning a typical one-storey native dwelling in British Bengal. The Craftsman magazine took the Indian style and adapted it into a new movement in North American home building. Mail-order companies sold designs for these modest homes and they sprang up like mushrooms in the night all over North American until about 1940.
Built in 1914, this house eagerly expresses the organic feel of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which emphasized honest materials, simple designs and open floor plans. The low pitched gable roof combines with the gabled dormers to form a picturesque roofline that spreads into broad eaves. The rafter tails, the ridge beams noticable above the front entrance and the elegant heavy brackets that support the roof are all exposed, displaying the simple structural elements of the house. Typically, as you see here, these details and the trim are painted a lighter colour in sharp contrast to the walls.
The Arts & Crafts style mixed inside and outside spaces. On this house, the porch is enclosed within the body of the house under the roof while several bay windows project outward. Wood shingles, stucco or brick were typical finishes. This house is covered with durable asbestos siding. It retains the typically double hung windows with multiple lights in the upper window and a single pane below.
I adore this place. The rubblestone planters in the front suggest the raw materials that would have formed the foundation of the porch on a traditional Craftsman house. The high contrasting purple and custard colours carry the tradition off perfectly, their hues changing with the seasonal light. A beautifully maintained and well loved home.
Fieldstone House, 101 Third Avenue NE, Minnedosa, MB
Autumn colours and the blue Manitoba sky set off this gorgeous fieldstone house on a quiet street corner in Minnedosa. Built about 1895 of granite fieldstones left conveniently behind by the retreating glaciers 10,000 years earlier, it is a variation on popular Gothic Revival designs.
Typical of the style is the steep gable paired with a more relaxed pitch on the larger gable. Together they create an attractive rhythm accentuated by the extended shape.
Usually on a rectangular plan, this home is L-shaped offering more interior space and design opportunities. The porch with its long tall wood sash windows inset cozily into the crook of the L adds lightness and visual interest to the place. The pair of second-floor windows and the slender opening below the steep gable have fine sunburst headers, as do all the windows.
There is some uncertainty among the Minnedosa Heritage Committee about who actually built the house. The builders were either Jackson Whiteside Brown or Frank and Marion Mashen. It appears the house has outlived many of the trees in its yard.
Fieldstone House, 27 Third Avenue NE, Minnedosa, MB
If there is one thing the prairies has, it is stones. Thank you retreating glaciers for sharing your billions of rocks. Minnedosa, MB, a small town nestled in the luxurious valley of the Little Saskatchewan River, has one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the Canadian prairies. Built over the course of just a few years, between 1892 and 1903, ten eloquent fieldstone buildings still stand in Minnedosa, all are occupied and maintained with love. Other stone buildings in the town have been demolished or stuccoed over, but these ten are the jewels in the town’s crown. Let’s start with this beauty built between 1892 and 1900 by stonemason Robert Gugin, one of several excellent masons who worked in Minnedosa and area.
This is a mesmerizing piece of work! Employing the popular Gothic Revival style with a bit of southern Ontario influence, Gugin found incredibly sympathetic stones in colour and size, creating an embracing texture on all sides. The lone steep gable suggests the style and the delicate woodwork on the porch adds to the lightness of the place.
The solid massing, soothing mottle of the stones and attention to detail make this a most attractive use of readily available materials in a popular attention-grabbing style. The rear of the house has a cinderblock addition that detracts somewhat from the lovely side façade. The contrasting red and white accent colours and the fancy woodwork give the house a delightful appeal.
Mansard Roof Houses in Boissevain and Waskada
On my recent travels in southwestern Manitoba I found two lovely examples of mansard roof houses, both have an additional distinctive feature. The first house, located on a residential corner in Boissevain, MB, is built of fieldstones with red brick accents. Each dormer has a small shed roof over it. The little brackets under the eaves have a pleasant appeal.
The other mansard roof house is in Waskada, MB and its construction is of formed cement blocks. This technique was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and meant each block was made on-site in a press with various textures available for the face of the block. You can see the top row of blocks has a different texture than the rest of the blocks below it. This house has a much larger second floor with more elaborate dormers, each with a little pediment roof and brackets. The steepness of the roof pitch is accentuated by a swoop creating concave corners. This makes it appear as if the second floor is larger than the first giving the place an unusual massing.
Mansard Roof House, Cypress River, MB
This fine example of a mansard roof house sits prominently on a street corner in Cypress River, MB. The mansard roof is denoted by the different slopes of the roof with the lower slope steeper than the upper slope. This little house is loaded with detail! The massing is solid and practical with two bay windows, both featuring decorative coloured glass framing panes surrounded by wooden block and column design. Each projecting bay has three windows, all have the glass detailing and a simple but attractive design above the foundation, which I suspect was painted black.
Mansards usually sport large dormers on each face of the roof. The coloured glass is continued around the upper portion of the rounded dormer windows which are hooded, have flares at the corners and extend above the bays on two sides. Instead of a bay window but complimenting the arched dormers, the plain side features a small rectangular window and a round bull’s-eye window. Under the eaves is a broken beltcourse of black panels between the delicately detailed brackets that add credence
and visual interest using the high contrast black and white colour scheme. Black and white is frequently seen on mansard roof houses, affording the opportunity to be striking yet precious.
Italianate House, 135 Hamilton Street, Neepawa, MB
Local contractors Jones and Fusee constructed this fine Italianate house in Neepawa in 1900. It was built for J. H. Davidson, the manager of the flour mill, and his wife Dr. Mary Davidson, Neepawa’s first female physician. Although the main floor porch has been altered, the balance of the pile retains many original features. Notice the delicate iron cresting on the roofs. There are matching Palladian windows on the east and west dormers of the house, which is built of locally made buff brick. The colour scheme of the house is similar to the original popular colours of the time.
The second floor central bay sports a flamboyant gable with a sweeping curve, bull’s-eye window with floral motif in blue and white glass, oversized brackets and fish scale shingling. Neepawa has at least three other houses whose architecture has Italianate influence but this house is the style’s finest example in town.
Burchill House, 404 11th & Louise, Brandon, MB
Quiet eloquence, Queen Anne style is once again represented in this handsome brick house, one of three fine homes that grace this Brandon intersection. Built in 1905 for William Burchill, co-owner of Burchill and Howie Meat Market in the Burchill Block on Rosser Avenue, its roofline is distinctive with its steep hipped roof descending into the rounded porch cut with an impressive dormer and small balcony. The semi-circular window beneath the clipped gable end adds further visual interest. Every opening has a sunburst header. This house has a twin at 322 11th Street in Brandon.
American Foursquare House, Baldur, MB
American Foursquare was popular from the late 1800s until about 1930, combining elements from other architectural styles to dress up its simplicity. Many of the same elements Frank Lloyd Wright used can be found on American Foursquares. Sometimes called prairie box style, the houses were a simple box shape, two storeys with each floor having a four-room floor plan (thus the name), a low-pitched hipped roof with a large central dormer and deep overhang. This buff brick example may once have had a wide porch. In this case the dormer is replaced by a steep gable, a visual feast, elaborately decorated with delicate bargeboard and the bull’s-eye window behind. Decorative features are the overbuilt corners, the small belt course of raised brick between the floors, the carved elegant brackets under the wide eaves. The style was practical in several ways: the houses fit nicely into small city lots and their simplicity meant they could be sold as mail order house kits by Sears and Eatons. The metal roof cresting tops this lovely well-maintained house. Though the colour scheme and materials of the front porch do not complement the rest of the house, the place overcomes this minor glom and presents a solid and stately elegance, a quiet history of service to generations.
Pioneer house, Glenhope, MB
Long abandoned but well-lived-in, this humble pioneer home is slowly being absorbed into the prairie from which it originally arose. Thousands of basic woodframe homes like this one were built across Manitoba. Spartan and practical, they were constructed of local materials, used family and local labour and served generation after generation. Today many of them still wilt away in the heat and cold, their former inhabitants obscure, their builders long forgotten. I have no idea about the origins of this house but its history probably includes conceptions, births, stillbirths, ecstasy, death, grief and love. The house is located southeast of McCreary on the east side of Riding Mountain National Park. The only vestige of Glenhope remaining is this church across the gravel grid road from the house, St Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, built 1918.
This view shows another old building once part of the yard. The house, tumbling down atom by atom, is surrounded and almost overgrown by the windbreak.
Fairbanks Mansion, Emerson, MB
Another Italianate beauty in southern Manitoba! Built in 1880-81 on the north side of Emerson between Second and Third Streets, lawyer, real estate broker and municipal official William Newton Fairbanks spared no expense constructing his mansion. A true and wonderous example of the Italianate Villa Style, which was just becoming popular in North America, the pile sports low-pitched roof, tower, extended eaves, arched windows, angular bay windows and a sense of Mediterranean wealth. Constructed of “Emerson” brick – distinctive yellow brick with pink undertones – produced in Emerson’s early brickyard. The house had been the residence of the Forrester family for over 100 years. Today it stands empty and unprotected by any kind of historic designation.
Villa Louise, 707 Louise Avenue, Brandon, MB
After 1840 architects began reinventing older romantic architectural styles in what became known as the Picturesque Movement. The results all had a romantic notion and gave us Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Second Empire, Stick and Italianate, my favourite. In a city with a disproportionate number of incredible examples of styles, Brandon’s Villa Louise stands alone. Built in 1888, the low-pitched roof, wide eaves, substantial decorative brackets, generous verandah, ornate brickwork over the openings and bay windows all allude to Italianate Villa style. Exceedingly rare in Manitoba, Italianate Villa houses were common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Recently renovated with great care taken to maintain its original stylish integrity, Villa Louise is a family home once again. Apparently it is the earliest known Brandon commission of Walter H. Shillinglaw (1864–1957) who was an architect and the City Engineer, designed for pioneer physician Alexander Fleming (1841–97). Villa Louise is designated as a federal and provincial heritage site.
Two-storey buff brick, Roland, MB
Boy, did I catch the right light on this Queen Anne style beauty! The detailing is rich and varied on this old house. Let‘s start at the top. The large gabled dormer on the front has dark brown shingles under the eave giving a perfect background to the elaborate and delicate bargeboard at the gable end. The medium pitched roof works wonders with the rest of the mass. On the front and sunny side of the house, the embellishments are many. Every opening has a brick label over it dripping with pendants. It appears there was a peaked porch over the door which would have shielded the oval window next to the door which is oddly missing its keystone. It matches the oval window between the second floor windows with its short spokes. The quoins on the corners are captured well here by the sunlight and shadow. On the shady side the window decoration is continued as are the quoins and the brick detailing. Overall brickwork is standard running bond. The main floor dissolves in the green hedge.
One-and-a-Half Storey, Empress Avenue, Altamont, MB
This little one and a half storey gem, next to the United Church, is in glowing condition with its eye-catching red shingles, double clipped gable roof and matching entrance roof. The arch and brackets below the entrance and the mix of stucco and roof textures add unknown pleasures. Its fenestration and blind position suggest the house is winking at you. Wink back.
Mansard roof, next to St. Felix Church, Dunrea, MB
This classic example of a square Mansard-roofed house with added wraparound rooms has tasteful dormers and colour combination. Mansard style afford use of garrets as living space and the tall dormered windows ensure plenty of light at all times of day. The subtle combination of colours sets off the house among mature trees and the yawning prairie just beyond.
Italianate House, 103-2nd St NE, Portage La Prairie, MB
Italianate is one of my favourite styles for houses and public buildings. This fine example, built around 1889, richly demonstrates the style with its low pitched roof, bay window with shallow roof, brackets in two sizes and intermittently paired, running bond brickwork and effective quoins. The dropdead awesome feature is the unique brickwork used to make the shaped details of the window heads. The hood mouldings over the windows are excellent with the single brick pendant on either side. The pendant is repeated at the end of the heavy paired wooden brackets under the eaves. The place has a stalwart aura, solid and dependable despite its dreadful purple colour.
12 MANITOBA HERITAGE HOUSES
Janz House, Third St. & Fifth Ave. W, Souris, MB
To accommodate the superintendent and his family, the Canadian Pacific Railway built this elegant wood frame two-and-a-half storey Queen Anne style house in 1901. Set on a corner lot it displays a roofline cut with gables and peaked dormers, one with a stylish pinnacle. Under the gable, among fish scale shingling, two arched windows are topped with a spray and a gable angle signature. The colours are especially attractive. The striking verandah features delicate woodwork
Beechmount, 134 West Gate, Winnipeg, MB
Built by barrister Lendrum McMeans in 1895, it was bank manager John Benning Monk who named it Beechmount after his home back in Ontario. Few architectural styles are as picturesque as Queen Anne Revival, sporting jaunty roofs, effusive decoration, elaborate verandahs and often, turrets or towers. Beechmount is an extraordinary example of the style, rendered with class, sincerity and just a touch of whimsy. Call it genteel. Fully restored, Beechmount is now a four and a half star bed and breakfast.
Brick Bungalow, 1604 College Ave, Brandon, MB
This brick bungalow’s distinctive low-slung porch roof offers a deep sheltering space to enter the home. The whole building feels comfortably hunched against the sky. The landscaping, hedges, topiary and large evergreens on each side frame and complement the symmetry of the house, which is broken only by the chimney. The low-pitched dormer with its rafter tails and brackets replicates the pitch of the main roof giving lightness to the solid massing. Likely built in the 1920s, the fine red bricks have attained a sweet patina.
J. D. McLean House, South Chestnut Street, Shoal Lake, MB
J.D. McLean, a tinsmith and hardware merchant, built this delightful two-storey Queen Anne style house about 1909. The masonry overall is exceptional with creative and contrasting brickwork all around. The major feature of the home is the fine corner turret with its many windows and a steep six-sided roof. Two gables with fish-scale shingling and bull’s eye windows balance the turret. The iron cresting along the roof ridges remains in good condition. Shoal Lake, by the way, is my hometown.
Brick two-storey house, Third & Cliff, Wawanesa, MB
This eloquent two-storey Queen Anne style house demonstrates the early prosperity of Wawanesa. Executed in pale buff brick with sleek vertical massing, it features a variety of openings with small arches on the first floor and full arches on upper windows, gable and dormer. Paired brackets, slim chimney and metal cresting add visual interest. The shingle colour complements the pale brick.
Mansard roof house, 415 Kerby St., Miami, MB
Well-kept and charming, this fine example of a mansard-roofed house was built around 1900. The house is constructed of concrete blocks, formed and scored to look like stone. This was a popular technique around this period when the blocks were made on site using a press. The delicate details on the verandah, striking colours and the setting make it enticing and rustic. Notice the pleasant interplay of the gables over the dormers and the one over the porch entry. Other Manitoba towns with mansard-roofed houses include Oak Lake, Dunrea, Holland, Roland and Mariapolis.
Classic Two-Storey, Garwood Ave, Winnipeg, MB
Built in 1914 when its west Fort Rouge neighbourhood was being developed, this standard off-centre entry, side staircase design is one of probably 10,000 similar houses in Winnipeg. Set on a thick fieldstone foundation, the house sports a full porch with substantial gable softened by a fine dentil. Contrasting with the inviting playfulness of the porch, the front elevation uses solid symmetry to move your attention to the dormer and beyond. One of the few remaining wooden picket fences in the area surrounds the front yard. The interior features an oak staircase, oak trim and hardwood floors.
McBurney House, Third St & Fifth Ave W, Souris, MB
This house is a beauty! Built in 1909, architect Charles Hawkins Brindle loaded the house with Classical Revival elements. The massive front porch features heavy columns with Ionic capitals, flat brackets and dentil under its eaves and a low-pitched roof. The extended and hipped roof above the front corners suggests towers. Notice the sweet pitch of the roof and dormer. The brick chimney sports a chimneypot.
One & a Half Storey, Blight St, Miami, MB
Another lovely pridefully maintained home in little Miami. This classic example of a one and half storey bungalow with a beautiful open verandah sits contentedly in its well-preened yard among friendly mature trees. Take a few minutes the study this home. There is myriad of detail everywhere you look. The delicate turned spindles and the fine filigree brackets along the verandah roof crown turned posts. The shingling on the gable ends complements the window decoration. The patina of the red brick chimney sets off the whole affair.
Former Paterson/Matheson House, 1039 Louise Ave. Brandon, MB
This splendid 1895 house exudes extreme Queen Anne style dripping with Eastlake decoration. The great opportunity of Eastlake style is unlimited decorative potential. The shaping of wood using basic hand tool technology – chisel, gouge and lathe – becomes fine art in the able hands of an imaginative artisan. The design invention and craft displayed on this house is a consummate delight to the senses. The first floor porch and the round balcony above dominate your attention. The upper balcony’s conical roof topped with the orbs and finial gives the roofline a fantasy feeling abetted by the rich colours and whimsical bargeboard designs on the gable ends.
Brick Gingerbread House, 228 Fifteenth St, Brandon, MB
A coin toss decided which gingerbread became Christmas Day house. Appropriately, this unusual place won. Built in 1893, it combines so many design elements that it feels weighed down by its own delight, covered up in aces. A classic gingerbread house, the roof has two large dormers that add some space to the upper floor. The front gable has a doorway that opens onto a tiny balcony. There is a nice bit of fret saw bargeboard under the gable tip. The cream details give heavy contrast to the candy apple red and the surrounding greenery provides a festive feel