Pearson Building, 110 Main Street S, Minnedosa, MB
The art of stonemasonry thrived in Minnedosa, not just in house building but in commercial buildings as well. Situated on a prominent corner of Minnedosa’s Main Street, the Pearson Building is an extremely rare example of a commercial building combining the rustic charm of fieldstones with a bit of eye-catching Gothic Revival flair in the two proud steep gables, and Italianate style with the paired rounded windows and the beautifully detailed wooden cornice.
Built in the 1870s, the exterior of the building has survived virtually as it was built with very little apparent cracking or movement of the stones. It’s a solid piece of stonemanship! Though currently called the Pearson Building, in the past it was the Setter Building and the Bruce Building. As often is the case with small town commercial establishments, it has housed many businesses over the years: movie theatre, stores, offices, meeting rooms and halls. Sir John A. MacDonald is said to have orated in its second floor meeting room.
What distinguishes this handsome building are the simple, but not plain, uses of style elements and their effect on the overall feeling from the structure. The window pairs wrap around the exposed sides of the building, creating in us the comfort of pairs. The marvellous wooden cornice with its hundreds of dentils tucked into tiered rows and the evenly spaced double brackets help achieve perfect symmetry, an interesting contrast to the various colours of rocks. The wooden brackets are the most ornate feature of the place and the fact they are still original and well-maintained speaks to the tenderness and love this building has enjoyed over the last 140 years. It deserves it!
All the Minnedosa fieldstone buildings in this series are still in use, either as homes or as their original purpose. I find it wonderfully heart-warming to know these old piles still thrive with life and continue to nurture new generations as they grow up and old.