Nelson Butt Building, 31 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The fifth heritage building along the main drag is a beaut!

Although similar to its neighbour, the Murphy Block, the Nelson Butt Building makes a striking impression along Carberry’s Main Street, Manitoba’s only Heritage District, due to its distinctive design, use of colour and lack of alternation. Joseph R. Thompson built both these commercial establishments; the Butt Building was erected about 1896 and over the decades housed a variety of businesses including law offices, a bank and a butcher shop. In its early days it was called the Joseph Thompson Building. The place earned its present name by being home to the jewellery store of Nelson J. Butt from 1946 until 1992.

The streetview of the building is a symmetrical dance of depth where brick arc and wood angle sway and commingle in sweet baths of white or red, figure and ground. The dancing balance is embodied in the superb stepped corbelling along and below the cornice, enlightened by large display windows that bare and entice, sidelights and transoms in the recessed entry which promises unknown delights within.  Three sensuous white arches pride the roofline and the two pairs of second floor windows. In this early picture you can see the front elevation is virtually the same today as it was when it was constructed 116 years ago.

 A little tearfully, Pa Tuckett recalls the first time he set eyes on Amelia Lusk, a teller at the bank that once occupied the Butt Building. She was new in town, from Souris, and had raven hair that shone in all kinds of light, almond-shaped pale grey eyes with thick lashes and a reluctant smile. She took Pa’s breath away and left him trembling and speechless at the wicket, unsure what to do with his paycheque for $14.42. It was 1917. They got married a year later.


Filed under Carberry, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

2 responses to “Nelson Butt Building, 31 Main Street, Carberry, MB

  1. Nelson and Bertie Butt who owned the jewellers were godparents to my husband, Jeffrey Houghton. Jeff’s father was in the RAF and stationed in Carberry during WW2. Jeff was born in 1954 and still has the gift of a silver sooon and fork sent from their gift shop. It’s only today that I’ve discovered the building on Google and been able to read about the couple and their wonderful building. So glad it’s being preserved as part of Carberry’s heritage. Would be lovely to visit one day! Thanks for your write-up.

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