This is part two of our stroll up one side and down the other of Carberry’s Main Street, Manitoba’s only Heritage District.
When he began working at Sear’s Garage in Carberry, Pa Tuckett was just a lad of eighteen. He started out as a “mechanically-inclined grease monkey” and wound up being “the best mechanic for fifty miles.” Pa always said one of the best parts of the job was going to work in the great building that local contractor and entrepreneur James White had built between 1903 and 1905.
Located prominently on a double lot on Carberry’s Main Street, the Romanesque Revival style Charlie Sear Building makes a striking contribution to Manitoba’s only Heritage District. Large and elegantly imposing, the brick two-storey building on a stone foundation was designed specifically to distribute and service farm machinery and vehicles and provide commercial space to other businesses. Besides Sear’s Garage, several businesses and agencies have inhabited the place over the decades including Reilly’s Hardware, Plumbing and Electrical Supplies, Spirit Sands Support Service, Home Hardware and Central Garage.
The place sports many attractive exterior elements, not the least of which is a gorgeous street elevation. The front facade’s symmetrical second floor features several defining elements of Romanesque Revival style. These include the three large arched openings with keystones surmounting pairs of windows, the corbelled and arcaded cornice with a central arcaded pediment, the corner pilasters with raised capitals and the horizontal banding accentuated by rusticated stone window sills. The tiny off-centre window is a curious anomaly to the otherwise balanced facade.
Unfortunately the appearance of the Sear Building we see today is a muted phantom of its original grandeur. Somewhere in its 110 year history the workmanship and decorative detailing of the brickwork was severely obscured by a covering of plaster. This archival picture of the building shows its original design and beautiful detailing. Instead of sharp-edged brick elements that jump out, today we get an almost adobe feeling from the place, fuzzy and bulbous. In my picture of the front and side of the building, you can see some covering is falling off revealing red bricks beneath.
Nonetheless, the Charlie Sear Building is one more reason for heritage buffs to visit Carberry this year. The living, changing history of Carberry is written large and lovingly, not just on Main Street, but all over the little town and its outskirts. I have posted often about the area’s heritage aspects which you can access on this blog by selecting Carberry from my Categories menu. Happy heritaging!