Murphy Block, 29 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

This is number four in the series on Carberry’s historic Main Street.

The Murphy Block, so named because it was owned and/or occupied by two of the area’s most prominent and successful businessmen: the Murphy Brothers, Gabriel B. and William George, was built by merchant Joseph R. Thompson in 1886. One of Carberry’s oldest business facilities, the Murphy Block stands as an excellent example of early prairie commercial buildings. Built of brick with a rubble-stone foundation, its practical two-storey rectangular design with a flat roof and recessed front entrance made for a solid, attractive and serviceable location.

Meshing splendidly with neighbouring buildings, the block still sports something close to its original first floor facade. The simple wood and glass storefront offers large display windows with transoms, double doors with early hardware and a separate second floor entrance. Older pictures of Carberry’s Main Street reveal that behind the ugly cladding you see today on the second floor of the Murphy Block may still remain two beautifully arched windows and some fine corbelling along the cornice.

Pa Tuckett remembers that during the time W.G. operated his department store in the Murphy Block, there was a young woman named Edithina working as a cashier in the store. Pa recalls how pretty she was and that he was sweet on her but every time he asked her out, she refused. Pa never knew why.

The site also served as a hardware store run by Richard Wilkie and Errol Berry and, more recently, a fabric store called BP Fabrics. Today, though not an actual store, the two front windows are packed with someone’s interesting personal collection of antiques and collectibles.

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Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

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