As promised, here is the first post in my series about buildings in Carberry’s Heritage District – two blocks of the town’s Main Street.
Pa Tuckett remembers stepping off the westbound CPR Night Flier in Carberry at three in the morning in 1912, the sky speckled with constellations and, there, across the street from the station, glowing huge in the full moon, a welcoming site – the Nelson Hotel.
Today, the Carberry railway station is gone, freight trains still ply the line regularily, passenger trains don’t, but the hotel is still there. Now it’s called the Carberry Motor Inn. A three-storey brick anchor in a prominent location at the south end of Main Street, the Nelson Hotel was the most hospitable place in town after it was built in 1909. Set flush to the Main Street sidewalk, the Nelson maintains an air of security with its flat roof, symmetrical facades and imposing bulk. Study the placement of the windows for a moment to get a sense of their unusual rhythm. The lone front entrance flanked by large awninged windows interacts playfully with the upper windows.
Somewhere between being called the Nelson Hotel and Carberry Motor Inn, the place was known as the Royal Alexander Hotel. Travel has changed from trains to personal vehicles and so did the hotel. Today Carberry Motor Inn also includes a one-storey, L-shaped motel next to the old place.
As part of Manitoba’s first Heritage District, the Nelson Hotel remains a conspicuous reminder of the hope and change early pioneers brought with them. And it’s just one of dozens of reasons for heritage buffs to visit Carberry.