Tag Archives: gothic revival

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Seven

Shaver House, Killarney area, MB

Shaver house front elevation

Reid Dickie

As I drove along the dusty country road toward the Shaver house north of Killarney I started to get the giddy sensation that arises when I approach something living and vital yet stationary and settled. Sacred places usually create that sense in me, sometimes buildings do, too.

As if painted directly on the prairie blue, a wondrous and unlikely Side and facade viewvision, that switched back and forth between Italianate and Gothic Revival styles like a 2-D postcard, took shape against the distance. I was fascinated and curious, as ever.

Here’s an example of what prairie success did to an Ontario-born farmer, Arthur Shaver, who came to the Hullett area in 1889. Successful at farming and committed to a new and growing community, he served on Hullett’s first school board when it began in 1892. By the turn-of-the-century Shaver was ready to build.

Situated on a small rise overlooking rolling farm land to the south, Arthur Shaver built a house that recognized his success, his talent and his humanity. Two and a half storeys in tan brick, fanciful, one-of-a-kind design and decoration – a unique, top-notch quality house that the Shaver family made their home for several generations thereafter starting in 1901.

Ivied wall and rear sunroomUniqueness will always arouse my curiosity. I was excited as I stepped out of the cool Avenger into a hot June afternoon to see what’s up!

The wise old house and its tidy and tended grounds turns out to be a bed and breakfast called La Belle Vie (The Good Life) run by friendly and sociable Pam and Paul La Pierre. We sat next to the above-ground pool and rear sun room, both of which felt very compatible with Shaver’s dream, and shared some thoughts on the house and farm.  The La Pierre’s, by loving and maintaining the house and sharing it with travelers, respect and enhance the heritage value of the place, located on the original Shaver farm.

I enjoy staying at curious bed and breakfasts and meant to get back to Detail of front elevationthe area and spend a night living La Belle Vie, but, alas, it didn’t happen. Added to next summer’s list. My words and video then are about the exterior only.

What an exterior!! The generous rectangular massing has a shallow pedimented gable on the front and a wing on the east side. Scrolled bargeboard accentuates the pediment. The hip roof is cut with two dormers and the wide eaves are supported by scrolled brackets. Painted bricks add flair and interest to the house with stars, quoins on the corners and the detailed colour contrast highlighting the windows.

For an all-around view of the Shaver house, watch my 2:12 video.

Leave a comment

Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage

Manitoba Heritage – All Saints Anglican Church, Stonewall area

Reid Dickie

All Saints Victoria Anglican Church, Stonewall area

One of the many distinguishing features of this little wooden church is that it was among the first Anglican churches in Manitoba built away from the river-oriented Red River Settlement. Constructed in 1877, the church is also a rare remaining example of dovetail log construction, a technique that replaced the earlier Red River frame method. Limited resources of the time yielded a humble and unpretentious place of worship with a modest bell- cote.

Typical of Anglican churches of the time, All Saints Victoria Anglican has a symmetrical rectangular shape with gable ends and a matching gabled porch, a simple bell-cote with a shingled pyramidal roof and sensible, reserved Gothic Revival details.

The trios of pointed side windows, divided by wooden tracery creating further points, and their red and blue top lights are central and simple characteristics of Gothic Revival.  I especially like this picture of the matching headstone and pointed arch windows.

On a well-treed lot and surrounded on three sides by graves of many of the area pioneers dating back to the first settlements, the little church is located about 7 kms north of where the divided Hwy #7 highway ends and half a kilometre west of the highway. Coming in from the south, there is a road sign denoting the site’s heritage value and directing you to it. No such sign exists coming in from the north.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Manitoba Heritage House – Minnedosa Fieldstone

Reid Dickie

Fieldstone House, 77 First Street NE, Minnedosa, MB

Situated on a quiet street and peeking shyly from behind luscious evergreens, this dignified fieldstone house sports several rather rare Gothic Revival touches. Beyond typical Gothic features of its steep  front gable and rectangular, symmetrical massing, this two-storey house features elegantly elaborate bargeboard (under the gable) in a pattern that is replicated on the low balustrade around the porch roof. The peak of the gable has both a pendant  hanging below and a pinnacle pointing upward, lovely features with the pinnacles repeated atop the side gables.

Porches on heritage buildings can be tricky and either add to or detract from the overall design and feeling. This porch, painted white to contrast the grey and reddish stones, adds further elegance to the place. The columns on the porch suggest Classical Revival architecture. The little balustrade on the roof is precious.

The side view illustrates the symmetrical fenestration with subtle sunbursts above each window. You can see the pinnacle at the point of the gable end and the attractive mottle of the fieldstones.

The Minnedosa Heritage Committee states the house was built in the 1890s for Joseph and Edith Burgess who raised their 11 children there. Joseph established the Burgess store in Minnedosa in 1896. Burgess Quality Foods still operates from the same location today. The house has changed hands several times over the decades with very sympathetic restoration being done after 1985.

2 Comments

Filed under Heritage Buildings, Houses, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Manitoba Heritage Church – St. Mark’s Anglican, Minnedosa

Reid Dickie

St Mark’s Anglican Church, 108 – 2nd Avenue SW, Minnedosa, MB


Minnedosa boasts one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the prairies and exceptional St. Mark’s Anglican Church ranks highly among them. Begun in 1903 and completed the following year, the parishioners chose the Gothic Revival style, typical of Protestant churches, to make their statement. And what a statement it is! The steep pitch of the roof, the sensually pointed narrow windows and the entry canopy which has the feel of once being atop the church (Can anyone verify that with a photograph for me?) all contribute to the style. The plan is transept, meaning the church is in the shape of a cross.

One of the church’s many distinguishing features is the rare use of pink mortar between the fieldstones. This is most striking on the south side in full sun and complements the deep red trim around the openings.

The fenestration employs single, pairs and trios of pointed windows, all sporting striking trim and multiple panes. Each gable end has a trio of windows on each level.

The original St Mark’s was built on this site in 1885 and, as Minnedosa grew, so did its congregation. Combining professional masons and volunteer labour, the present church arose costing about $5,000. Local history recalls that St. Mark’s rector went out into the countryside and personally conscripted farmers to haul wagonloads of stones to the construction site.

The stone masonry is exquisite, every detail is lovingly executed, St. Mark’s is a fine example of ecclesiastical architecture in a small town.

Watch my short video about St. Mark’s.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Uncategorized

Manitoba Heritage House – Minnedosa Fieldstone

Reid Dickie

Fieldstone House, 101 Third Avenue NE, Minnedosa, MB

Autumn colours and the blue Manitoba sky set off this gorgeous fieldstone house on a quiet street corner in Minnedosa. Built about 1895 of granite fieldstones left conveniently behind by the retreating glaciers 10,000 years earlier, it is a variation on popular Gothic Revival designs.

Typical of the style is the steep gable paired with a more relaxed pitch on the larger gable. Together they create an attractive rhythm accentuated by the extended shape.

Usually on a rectangular plan, this home is L-shaped offering more interior space and design opportunities. The porch with its long tall wood sash windows inset cozily into the crook of the L adds lightness and visual interest to the place. The pair of second-floor windows and the slender opening below the steep gable have fine sunburst headers, as do all the windows.

There is some uncertainty among the Minnedosa Heritage Committee about who actually built the house. The builders were either Jackson Whiteside Brown or Frank and Marion Mashen. It appears the house has outlived many of the trees in its yard.

Leave a comment

Filed under Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Manitoba Heritage House – Minnedosa Fieldstone

Reid Dickie

Fieldstone House, 27 Third Avenue NE, Minnedosa, MB

If there is one thing the prairies has, it is stones. Thank you retreating glaciers for sharing your billions of rocks. Minnedosa, MB, a small town nestled in the luxurious valley of the Little Saskatchewan River, has one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the Canadian prairies. Built over the course of just a few years, between 1892 and 1903, ten eloquent fieldstone buildings still stand in Minnedosa, all are occupied and maintained with love. Other stone buildings in the town have been demolished or stuccoed over, but these ten are the jewels in the town’s crown. Let’s start with this beauty built between 1892 and 1900 by stonemason Robert Gugin, one of several excellent masons who worked in Minnedosa and area.

This is a mesmerizing piece of work! Employing the popular Gothic Revival style with a bit of southern Ontario influence, Gugin found incredibly sympathetic stones in colour and size, creating an embracing texture on all sides. The lone steep gable suggests the style and the delicate woodwork on the porch adds to the lightness of the place.

The solid massing, soothing mottle of the stones and attention to detail make this a most attractive use of readily available materials in a popular attention-grabbing style. The rear of the house has a cinderblock addition that detracts somewhat from the lovely side façade. The contrasting red and white accent colours and the fancy woodwork give the house a delightful appeal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accommodations, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage, Prairie People

Manitoba Heritage – Fieldstone Commercial Building, Minnedosa

Reid Dickie

Pearson Building, 110 Main Street S, Minnedosa, MB

The art of stonemasonry thrived in Minnedosa, not just in house building but in commercial buildings as well. Situated on a prominent corner of Minnedosa’s Main Street, the Pearson Building is an extremely rare example of a commercial building combining the rustic charm of fieldstones with a bit of eye-catching Gothic Revival flair in the two proud steep gables, and Italianate style with the paired rounded windows and the beautifully detailed wooden cornice.

Built in the 1870s, the exterior of the building has survived virtually as it was built with very little apparent cracking or movement of the stones. It’s a solid piece of stonemanship! Though currently called the Pearson Building, in the past it was the Setter Building and the Bruce Building. As often is the case with small town commercial establishments, it has housed many businesses over the years: movie theatre, stores, offices, meeting rooms and halls. Sir John A. MacDonald is said to have orated in its second floor meeting room.

What distinguishes this handsome building are the simple, but not plain, uses of style elements and their effect on the overall feeling from the structure. The window pairs wrap around the exposed sides of the building, creating in us the comfort of pairs. The marvellous wooden cornice with its hundreds of dentils tucked into tiered rows and the evenly spaced double brackets help achieve perfect symmetry, an interesting contrast to the various colours of rocks. The wooden brackets are the most ornate feature of the place and the fact they are still original and well-maintained speaks to the tenderness and love this building has enjoyed over the last 140 years. It deserves it!

All the Minnedosa fieldstone buildings in this series are still in use, either as homes or as their original purpose. I find it wonderfully heart-warming to know these old piles still thrive with life and continue to nurture new generations as they grow up and old.

2 Comments

Filed under Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage