Tag Archives: cemetery

Look What I Found While Driving Around

Reid Dickie

“I’ll be driven, eyes always moving, riveted to the task…” 

– Gordie Downie

My list of heritage sites to visit and record all over Manitoba has largely been satisfied. More organized than ever, it was a highly productive summer of “working the list.” I just calculated my mileage for the season and the mighty Avenger and I, well, myself and three mighty Avengers, have logged almost 23,000 kms, all but 1,000 of them in Manitoba. I got to see amazing country this year, discover special places that few Manitobans know about then report them here on my blog. Thanks for reading my blog, by the way. I am grateful every day for your attention.

With my trusty, battery-sucking digital camera by my side, I’ve captured some odd, surprising and occasionally astonishing images along my path. Here are a dozen of them with brief commentary about each one.

Old Cook Stove in Abandoned Stone House

Sure, I haunt the occasional tumbledown farmhouse out in the middle of now here, sure I do. I’m not usually the first to satisfy their curiosity about what’s inside the old place. A little stone house sits atop a small rise along Hwy #21 south of Hartney. I’ve seen this old house most of my life since my grandparents homesteaded nearby. This summer I stopped at it for the first time for pictures and video. Beyond the Keep Out sign, this old wood stove was the first thing I saw through the door. I took a few shots of the interior, largely wrecked. The inset is a shot of the house. Expect more about this place on my blog and YouTube channel.

Stillborn Graves at Camp Hughes Cemetery

The little cemetery at Camp Hughes has but 26 graves in it dating from 1916. Sadly, more than half are the graves of children. Some died in infancy, others stillborn and unnamed. Several graves are simply unknown.

Strange Cloud on Prairie Horizon

No, it’s not an atomic bomb test. It’s a gigantic cloud of smoke slowly rising from a field of burning stubble. This is a common sight in late summer, ominous and beautiful at once, most are not this spectacular. I shot this traveling south out of Winnipeg along Hwy #75 in late August. I watched it for miles as the cloud grew and changed shape.

Criddle Vane in the Rain

One hot afternoon during one of my dozen visits to the Criddle Vane homestead this summer, a prairie thunderstorm came over with plenty of lightning and thunder, a little rain but no wind, just a smooth calm passing. I took this picture of the Criddle Vane house through the rain-spattered windshield of the Avenger. Percy Criddle was very wary of storms and prided himself on the lightning rods, imported from England, that adorned the roof of this house. The inset shows the house after the rain.

Wind Sculpted Formation at Spirit Sands

During a hike on Spirit Sands with my dear friend Chris Scholl, we came upon this beautifully sculpted arch on the upslope of a dune. We’d had variable winds, that is, winds from directions other than the prevailing northwesterlies, which may have accounted for this small miracle in sand.

Assessment Roll Information for Negrych Farm 1901-1930

If there was one site I visited this summer that left me in awe of how our ancestors lived and survived on the harsh prairie, it was the Negrych Homestead north of Gilbert Plains. Its ten original log buildings date from the late 1890s when the family arrived there, most of them in Ukrainian vernacular style. Each building houses materials the family improvised and used for decades. This assessment roll information traces the family’s assets for thirty years from 1901 until 1930. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Old Headstone in Wawanesa Cemetery 

Humble and plain, corroding against the weather and the years, this little stone caught my camera’s eye in the cemetery at Wawanesa. What story could this stone tell?

Gathering of the Clans Picture

Being a full-blood Scotsman, this nicely framed illustration of the Gathering of the Clans had special meaning when I discovered it in one of the buildings at the Fort la Reine Museum in Portage la Prairie. Click pic to see entire image.

Herald Angels at Immaculate Conception, Cook’s Creek 

This isn’t my photograph. My friend Kevin Uddenberg took this picture using his smart phone which has HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology. The quality of the colours and the definition of the images is almost three-dimensional. By contrast look at the inset which is my picture of the same angels taken on the same day and time as Kevin’s picture.  The difference is obvious and substantial.

The Hemp’s as High as an Elephant’s Eye and… 

Rewilding W. C. Fields for smartass purposes with bashful aplomb. During my summer travels, I noticed that the only area of the province that concentrated on growing hemp in any quantity is north of Riding Mountain around Dauphin. This verdant crop you see was growing directly behind my hotel and stretched for acres to the horizon. Besides being easy to grow and low maintenance chemicalwise, there is another sound reason why so much hemp is grown in the area: the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers Coop is headquartered in Dauphin.

The Staircase That Killed Percy Criddle

We return to Criddle Vane homestead to wind up this odd excursion. Insufferably brilliant or brilliantly insufferable, whoever Percy Criddle was, the beginning of his exit from this life was a tumble down the stairs you see here. After moving both his families from London, England to a patch of sandy soil south of present-day Shilo in 1882, Percy spent 35 years eking out a living largely due to the true genius of his children. During a severe blinding case of Erysipelas that Percy acquired in the spring of 1918, he groped his way to the top of these stairs and tumbled the full length of them, injuring himself terribly. He died ten days later at age 73 and is buried in the family cemetery a couple hundred yards from his house. This is Percy’s headstone.

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St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko, MB

Reid Dickie

A one-of-a-kind example of two Ukrainian churches in the same churchyard – one original, the other succeeding – can be discovered in Sirko in extreme southeastern Manitoba, about a mile from the Minnesota border.

The original St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church, of log construction, was built in a vernacular style in 1908 under the direction of Dmytro Waskul. Its small rounded rectangular plan accommodates the vestibule at one end and sanctuary at the other. Its delightfully painted interior can hold about 30 standing adults.

The unusual roofline with deep overhanging eaves supported by large V-brackets and trisected at the ends to produce a curved space is fully engaging. The three crosses along the peak of the roof leave no doubt as to the function of the little place.

Next to the old church is a log bell tower of traditional Ukrainian design and construction.

Modest, holy and surrounded by the graves of former parishioners, many with tall white crosses denoting their Orthodox faith, the old church shares its sanctity with its replacement.

Indicating the success of the second generation of Ukrainians, they replaced their humble utilitarian building in 1950 with a grander expression of their faith.

Larger and more substantial, the style is familiar: cruciform with three small banyas or onion domes, one surmounting a larger central dome and arched Romanesque openings all around.

A new bell tower was constructed along with the church. In this picture you can see both churches and both bell towers. The new St. Elias, a focal point of the local farming community, is still used regularly.

Blue on blue, white on white, the church and sky harmonize on a hot Manitoba afternoon.

Watch my 3:08 video of both St. Elias churches.

Sirko is located about five miles south of MB Hwy #201 on Mile Rd 54E just east of Sundown.

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St. Michael’s Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church, near Gardenton, MB

Reid Dickie

A plaque at St. Michael’s succinctly tells its story:

Constructed in 1899, this church is a fine early example of Ukrainian ecclesiastical architecture in Canada. Its distinctive massing, plan and bulbous cupolas reflect the Byzantine-influenced architectural heritage of the homeland of the settlers in the region. The traditional free-standing bell tower was built in 1906 and, like the church, is distinguished by the high quality of its wooden craftsmanship. Built by the first generation of Ukrainians to arrive in Canada, St. Michael’s served as an affirmation of their cultural identity and remains today as Canada’s oldest existing Ukrainian church.

The first permanent Ukrainian Orthodox church erected in Canada sits quietly next to PR 209 about 3 kms west of Gardenton in southern Manitoba. Since its consecration on October 14, 1899, the little church has served the local Ukrainian community. In 1922 the parish joined the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada; previously it has been served by a Russian Orthodox mission.

Constructed by immigrants who came to the Gardenton area after 1896 from northern Bukovyna, now western Ukraine, St. Michael’s is a fine example of Bukovynian pioneer architecture inside and out. Measuring 22 feet by 48 feet, the church walls were constructed of horizontal logs, lumbered during the winter of 1898-1899. Wooden shingles covered the low pitched roof which became badly warped from exposure to heavy winter snows and was completely replaced in 1915 with a central dome 33 feet high from floor to ceiling and small cupolas at either end. A hundred feet from the church stands the square frame belltower.

The graves of many early Ukrainian pioneers crowd around the back of the church; the earliest grave is from 1898. The distinctive white Orthodox crosses were made in cement moulds.

According to John Panchuk, attorney and Ukrainian community leader from the Gardenton area, “Inside the historic church one may see unique religious artifacts, such as wooden crosses, candelabras and altar decorations built by local craftsmen and a collection of rare lithographs from Kiev, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Moscow.”

Watch my 2:39 video of St. Michael’s.

Make it a day trip! Other nearby sites of interest include Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church located in Rosa on Hwy #59, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church east of Stuartburn on PR 201 and a hike through one of the tall grass prairie reserves just east of Tolstoi on PR 209. Watch for poison ivy. Be sure to check your body for wood ticks. Ticks are having a banner year!

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Manitoba Heritage – Union Point United Church

Reid Dickie

Union Point United Church, Hwy #75

Two lanes of Hwy #75 flow northward and two lanes flow southward and between them is this pretty little Gothic wooden church, the last remnant of a ghost town. Situated a few kilometers south of Ste. Agathe, MB in the Rural Municipality of Morris, Union Point United Church is a dramatic, albeit final, vestige of a pioneer settlement called Union Point. A few dozen headstones near the church also memorialize the community; the oldest stones read 1879.

According to Manitoba wood carver Warren Breyfogle, who was born on his grandparent’s farm at Union Point, the community was so named because it was the stopping place for both the paddlewheel boats that plied the nearby Red River and for the stage coaches that traveled north and south along the river between Winnipeg and the U. S.

The first Union Point Church, originally serving a  Presbyterian congregation, was built here in 1887. Destroyed by fire in 1939, the present building replaced it in 1940.

Simple Gothic details abound on this little church: the rectangular shape, the pointed windows all around and complementary tracery, similar pointed openings in the off-centre steeple with its steeply pitched roof and wooden pinnacle pointing heavenward, off-centre entrance with pointed arch over the doorway and the octaflor stained glass window above the trio of lancet windows. Classic materials were used to build the church: clapboard siding and plain wood trim, all painted white, exposed rafter tails and buff brick chimney. Watch my 2:09 video of Union Point United.

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Tree Birds Dog Trucks Dead

Reid Dickie

In the cemetery of the church yard around St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Church in St. Francois Xavier, MB stands a huge tree, once magnificent in every season, now dead every day. On its naked branches, some entangled in the church steeple, European starlings gather to discuss important bird business. In the neighbourhood, Rover barks at imaginery foes, halftons roll past one by one and the dead are patient, as ever. Click the pic to watch my latest video, Tree Birds Dog Trucks Dead.

UPDATE: As of summer 2013, the tree has been cut down, just a low stump remains.

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Two Days Out On the Prairie

Reid Dickie

Hot and windy, the temperature hit 30 degrees today (about 86 F.), amazing for early October. Something similar for the next two days before seasonal temperatures prevail. The warm weather stoked my wanderlust and I headed into southwestern Manitoba on Tuesday, doing a couple of video reports and gathering images for a large video project I’m working on.  This red maple at Marsh Lake in Spruce Woods Park was in full blaze.

I stopped by Campbell Lisk Heritage Park below Hwy 10 next to the Souris River. The first picture is the flooded park taken in June and the second one I took yesterday.

The little park, at flood peak, had over seven feet of water in it from the Souris River. Now the water is gone, the flood cake has dried out and turned into a fine grey powder that sails on every gust of wind. The vegetation has started to return; the spruce trees suffered and each is surrounded by a circle of brown dead needles, waterkill from the flooding. The other difference in the two pictures is how everything has dried out. The recent shot shows how arid we are now after a hot virtually rainless summer.

I took a hike halfway around Marsh Lake in Spruce Woods Park today to survey the hiking trail. The flood cake from the flooding Assiniboine extends well back from the lake, in some places over fifty feet. The grey floodcake is dried out but several plants have asserted themselves quickly, notably grassy sedges and horsetail along the wettest parts. Further back and in the shade poison ivy, now scarlet and quite evident, flourished in the grey dry soil. Though the day was hot and sunny, I didn’t see any turtles sunning along Marsh Lake. The flood changed the ecology of the lake so it will take time to restore it or evolve into a new habitat. The turtles know what to do.

I haunted some cemeteries on my drive and have some interesting epitaphs to report. In the little cemetery just outside of Margaret, MB I found these three, the first rather common but profound: Sleeping in Jesus, the comforting Under His Wings and, chiselled into an old old stone, Nevertheless he lives. In my hometown cemetery, I found the most effervescent one of the trip: She has joined the dance, the sprightly dance, the dance ever-existing.

By the way, everything is up-to-date in Treherne, MB. Besides having buildings made of bottles, nice people and a pretty location, Treherne has the Birch Motel which is all mod cons as you can see! Waterbeds and direct dial phones…a little slice of heaven on Hwy 2.

Ghost towns are appearing more frequently now. The siding of Kelloe and fading village of Solsgirth are no longer acknowledged with signs along Hwy 16. Kelloe consists of a family home with modern kids stuff in the yard and a few tumbledown houses in the bush. Solsgirth appeared to have two houses being lived in. The entire population of McConnell when I went through it this morning was two horses. Although the school, church and an old house or two survive, no people live there. Instead the people erected a cairn to signify where McConnell is/was. Apparently you can’t rely on the memories of horses for this kind of thing. Cardale was pert and mowed, the few souls it supports keep busy and wave at me. Margaret has 9 people and 30 boxes in its post office, mostly farmers. I mention to the postmistress (how quaint does that sound?) that my parents lived in Margaret when I was born and so did I until we moved to Hayfield four years later. She remembered hearing our family name in the district.

I’ll end with two pictures of a delightful old weather-depainted Queen Anne style house I gaped at in Newdale today. The lovely gables with elaborate carved bargeboards and the over window and door detailing make this almost ghostly pile extra special. I wonder if it glows in the dark? It has a little satellite dish!

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Marshall Family Cemetery

Reid Dickie

Halfway up the side of wind-swept Big Muddy Valley in extreme southern Saskatchewan sits the Marshall family cemetery. Forty-one people, all related to James Marshall, are buried there. He was a member of the North West Mounted Police and, later, one of the first large ranchers in the Big Muddy district. The view from the cemetery is marvellous as the valley stretches for miles in both directions. Join me there on video.

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Along Saskatchewan Roads

Reid Dickie

Visible for miles, this white beacon is, in fact, Weyburn, SK’s original water tower. It stands atop Signal Hill. Learn its history.

A couple of shots of Chapel Grove Cemetery just north of Minton, SK along Hwy #6.

By consulting the weather rock, they know what the weather is like at the Country Boy Motel in Coronach, SK. The motel’s website is completely appropriate, including the flubbed slogan “Your Home from Home”! Another weird motel sleep.

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12 MANITOBA CHURCHES

12 MANITOBA CHURCHES

DAY 1

St Paul’s Anglican Church East of Poplar Point on Hwy #26

A humble beginning by the side of the road.

    Lovely little Gothic-influenced St. Paul’s Anglican Church, in the Parish of Baie St. Paul, officially opened in October 1910. An ambitious project for a small congregation, it took six years of creative fundraising to building the wood-frame church. Many original objects can still be found in the church including the Bible, chalice and plate, linens, baptismal bowl and book rest. Gothic touches are the pointed windows with delicate tracery and the steep roof pitch. The wooden roof cresting is unusual.

     An open bell tower topped with a short spire and wooden cross was restored in 1993. The church sits right next to the highway on the north side. There is a small cemetery on the west side of the church. 

 

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