Tag Archives: Manitoba

Three New Church Videos

Reid Dickie

It’s buzz buzz buzz all the doo-dah day here with three more short videos squirted out and now uploaded to YouTube. I always take lots of pictures at heritage sites, especially churches because they are particularly photogenic – must be their aura. Since I can only use a few pictures in my blog posts, I’ve made short videos using pictures from three Manitoba churches. You get to see contextual views of how and where the building sits, shots of it from many different angles and some sound to accompany the vision. I have featured all three churches in blog posts. Click on the church name to read my blog post. Click picture to watch the video.

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, near Gardenton,  2:39

Union Point United Church, Hwy #75, near Ste. Agathe 2:07

First and Second St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko 3:09

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Brandon A Hundred Years Ago

Reid Dickie

One of the oldest businesses in Brandon is Christie’s, now known as Office Plus but over the decades has served varying needs related to
education and books. The 1906 Henderson’s Directory lists the business, located at 830 Rosser Avenue, as Christie Books, Stationery, School Furnishings and Wallpaper and their phone number as 133. The business was started in May 1885 by Ernest Lisle Christie, an Ontario native who came west in the early 1880s. In my youth, the store was called Christie’s School Supplies. It has been said that

prior to 1920, virtually every school textbook in western Canada passed through Christie’s shop.

Recently I found an early promotion item created by Christie’s that allows a glimpse of Brandon as it looked a hundred years ago. It’s a packet of six postcards with scenes of the city, packaged in a folder with Christie’s name on the front and published about 1910. Each card has a brief description and tinted image. I also came across one other postcard of Brandon churches from the same era. It’s the last image in this nostalgic collection. Please enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Local History, Manitoba Heritage

Waters Block, 125 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Our stroll down the main drag of Carberry in our hunt for heritage goodness arrives at the Waters Block.

This unpretentious workaday building came into view on Carberry’s streetscape in 1901. The Waters Block is a two-storey commercial property that has housed more than two dozen businesses over the decades. Its rectangular form, enclosed in brick walls and with a flat roof, is wide and deep, substantial and practical.

The simple facade has corner pilasters that frame the face. The lower level divides into two separate storefronts, each with large welcoming display windows and its own indented entrance. Between them is the second floor entrance. Three symmetrical windows open from the second floor. I couldn’t locate any earlier pictures of this building so one is left to wonder what brick delights are hidden beneath the metal cladding on the second floor.

On this side view you can see the original two bay design of the side walls with small windows which are repeated on both sides. The visible wall, on the south side, has been altered so as to obscure the pilasters. You can see the building steps down into a one-storey at the rear. The place’s simple and humble design features are appropriate and make their own quiet contributions to the designated heritage district.

It was built by James Wellington McCrae to house his implement dealership which he’d opened in Carberry in 1882. A native of Ontario, McCrae had homesteaded nearby before changing occupations. He served on Carberry Town Council and was reeve of the R. M. of North Cypress. Though the place no longer bears his name, it stands as one of James McCrae’s more durable contributions to the growth of Carberry.

In its century plus of housing local business, the interior of the Waters Block has been frequently modified to accommodate numerous uses. Among its residents have been car dealers, hardware merchants, clubs, residential tenants, farm implement dealers and numerous shops and services.

In 1961, a chap named McRorie opened a Macleod’s Hardware Store in the building, which it remained for several decades. In 1963 William Waters bought the hardware business and ran it for 17 years, thus the building acquired it current moniker.

Pa Tuckett does not have fond memories of the block, he tells me as a tear rolls away from his right eye. He remembers back to 1918 and the Spanish flu epidemic. People were warned to stay indoors and avoid contact with others. The first flu wave in late summer hadn’t been as dangerous as expected in the Carberry area. Sure, people died but not like was predicted. The second wave in the fall posed even less danger. Pa celebrates again the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. “Armistice Day! Everybody was real happy the war was over and won. People just wanted to celebrate despite the warnings to stay at home. The town had a big party and most everyone showed up, thinking the worst of the epidemic had passed. Well, most of it had passed,” says Pa. “But for one couple who’d come from away. They infected half the folk at that party including my beautiful Amelia. She died three days later.” At the time, Bloomingfield’s Mortuary was located in the Waters Block. Pa’s last mental picture of Amelia is of her laying in her coffin, her ashen face against a shiny blue pillow. “We hadn’t even been married one year.” Another tear.

What’s this Carberry series all about?

4 Comments

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

House on a Hill Along MB Hwy 21

Reid Dickie

Since childhood I remember driving past this old, long-abandoned stone farmhouse set humbly but with a certain majesty at the top of a rise next to the highway south of Hartney, MB. My grandparents homesteaded in the area so I often saw the old house up there, lonesome and vulnerable.

It is constructed from the most readily available material on the prairie in this part of the province: field stones. The mason who collected the stones and created the patchwork hues had a special eye for colour and size. Now tumbling down, the stones are returning to their fields, the patchwork disassembling in the wind, snow and heat.

The Mansard roof is cut with six gabled dormers. Lightening rods puncture the roof fending off the electric storms that sweep across the land. Swallows find excellent nesting sites under the eaves. The sky scowls down.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to investigate this house but this summer I spent a cloudy afternoon capturing it. Combining still and live images of the exterior and interior of the house with some whimsical sound I created a two-minute video. Click on any picture to start the video.

4 Comments

Filed under Day Tripping, Family, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers, Video

Manitoba Heritage – Tenby School, Tenby, MB

Reid Dickie

Most one-room schoolhouses built in rural Manitoba were small, modest and unassuming affairs, usually of wood construction, occasionally made of brick. Tenby School, located in the R.M. of Lansdowne, is the exception, in fact, a unique exception. Two factors contribute to the school’s uniqueness: its design and its building materials.

Rather than a small rectangular box, the usual design for country schools, Tenby School is larger, almost square and features a pyramidal roof. Windows along the south side brought light into the classroom as did the two gabled dormers which open into the room. The north and west walls are without openings to protect the room against our prevailing northwesterly winds.

The school’s facade, with the peaked dormers and extended vestibule, is dramatic despite the small size of the building. The gabled entrance and dormers suggest the unbuilt portion of the pyramid roof.

In 1904, the year the school was built, a popular construction material was employed: concrete blocks. Before you could buy blocks ready-made, itinerant crews traveled the province with portable block-making moulds that created the materials onsite and in the exact quantity, quality and with the features required. In the case of Tenby School, the blocks are long and rectangular and sport several finishes.

Many different finishes were available to the block makers and Tenby School is an excellent example of the building method, featuring four types of block detailing. Smooth blocks, rough blocks, striated blocks and floral blocks combine to create a delightful exterior. The elegant floral design is used on the corner quoins to fine effect.

Around the time this school was built, Tenby was a going concern. Named after a town in Wales by the community’s founder James Griffiths, Tenby had many businesses, a water tower that serviced steam locomotives as well as a grain elevator. Today little remains of the town but for a house or two and this remarkable little schoolhouse. The local residents have done an excellent job preserving this unique Manitoba relic. I would suggest they get a new Canadian flag to fly, replacing the rag that flapped in the breeze during my visit. Tenby is located NNE of Neepawa with access off Provincial Roads 260 and 575.

Find many more stories about Manitoba schools on my Schools page.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day Tripping, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers, Schools

Carberry – North Cypress Library, 115 Main St., Carberry, MB

Our amble down Carberry’s Main Street takes us past one of the town’s most symbolic buildings. 

Reid Dickie

While most of the buildings along Main Street have been used for numerous purposes, often overlapping, this compact little structure has served but two high-profile uses since it was built in 1938: federal post office and regional library.

The original building was the basic cube on the left of the picture. The addition complements the original building in style and materials. Overall, Art Deco describes the building’s architecture. Popular into the 1940s for federal government buildings, the style easily adapted to small town requirements of size and functionality.

Elements defining Art Deco here are the boxy massing, flat roofline, well-defined geometric lines and the low-relief ornamentation. Tall windows surrounded by soldier courses of bricks and limestone sills, the limestone surround of the main entrance contrasting with the red-brown brick and the stepped pavilion of the entrance all exude simplicity and durability, modern practicality at its highest…for 1938.

Now used as a book return, the brass mail chute is original as is the date stone and frontispiece lamps. This little building continues its symbolic role in the Carberry community, not just as a library, but because of its intergenerational contribution to the heritage district.

For the first 25 years he lived in Carberry, Pa Tuckett got his mail through General Delivery. But in 1938 he acquired his first and only post office box: #123. Pa joked, “I asked for a harder number to remember but this is all they had.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church, La Salle, MB

Reid Dickie

Towering above all else, including the cottonwood trees in the little French community of La Salle, MB, south of Winnipeg, stands St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. Representing the strong faith of the local population for over 100 years, this masterfully achieved edifice of buff brick possesses an inspiring plethora of design details on every facade.

The form of the large church is transept – shape of the cross – with an elaborate front facade that evokes order and ascension climbing to a slim bell tower surmounted by a shimmery steeple.

Let’s take a close look at the front facade. The most striking feature is its comfortable symmetry, not a line out of place, not a wasted brick, just upward sweeping motion. 

The brickwork is marvellous. There are three arcades (rows of arches), each with five arches, formed by the brick design, two are sloping downward under the roof eaves and the centre spans the front of the entrance pavilion just below its cornice. The smooth corbelling (layering of bricks) that forms the arcades is superb, creating interesting shadow and light combinations.

As with the arcades, all openings in the building are arched. The front entry, the window above with its trio of slender windows under a circular focus and the openings in the bell tower are all arched. All openings have a limestone keystone at the apex. The keystones on the front have small tablatures.

On the ends of the transepts there is another series of corbelled arcades, thirteen arches under the eaves and above large round windows with spoke tracery. All around the place under the eaves is a sweet bit of corbelling that adds to the ornate sensibility of the church.

In true heritage geek parlance, the bell tower/steeple is a honey! Eight arched openings, each keystoned with a scroll and separated by square columns and capitals, create the still-inhabited bell tower. Above the bell tower a short eight-sided dome supports the steeply pitched octagonal steeple that ends with a round pinnacle and a metal cross spire.

La Salle, MB is located south of Winnipeg on Provincial Road 247 a few kms west of Hwy #75.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Sacred Places

Dog Day Drive on the Sweltering Prairie

Reid Dickie

Yet another 33 degree C. (over 90 F.) day in a perfect summer which demanded a short jaunt out of The Hive onto the lake bed southeast of Winnipeg! There was enough breeze to slake the heat. The air was full of chaff from plundering combines wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Three MCC thrift stores hit along the way – Niverville, Grunthal, Steinbach – with zilch to report from all of them. Surprising!

I paused in Sarto to see if Willow Plain School was open. It wasn’t. Instead I talked to Jake who was restoring the traditional blue window trim to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarto. Here’s Jake at work.

You’ll notice the onion dome at the front of the church is a yellow colour, part of its new coat of paint. Jake thought he’d be repainting them. Here’s a view of the church with its yellow domes. Sarto is on Provincial Road 205.

As I drove east along 205, I saw a number of unusual small buildings along the road about a mile west of Hwy #12. They turned out to be elaborate sheds. Called estate sheds, they are definitely not the kind you buy at Canadian Tire. Some resembled cabins, others playhouses and barns. All the designs had certain delightful, whimsical features.  Two guys were working assembling one of the cabin sheds in the heat. Henry and Ernie told me they came prefab and there are dozens of styles to choose from. All styles have double doors, either on the side or front, to easily access the shed and move equipment in and out.

The company is Triman Estates Mini Sheds in Neepawa, MB who can special order the sheds from Miller’s Storage Barns in the U. S. They come in dozens of sizes and shapes, colours and you can even customize them yourself. Find out more about the company at http://www.playmorswingsets.com/playmor-swingset-dealer/triman-estate-mini-sheds.

Three kms south of Steinbach next to Hwy #12 is St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. You can’t miss the tiny white chapel with the red roof, pointed Gothic windows and tall skinny steeple. In back of the church under shady oaks rest dozens of local parishioners.

The beach at St. Malo Provincial Park was thronged with sunbathers, swimmers, beach volleyball players and people escaping the heat.

This memorial to the deceased who have been shuffled around while the modern world “progresses” can be seen next to provincial road 311 half a km south of its junction with Hwy 59.

Here’s its B-side.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Roadside Attractions

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Davidson Building, 109 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The tenth building in our series on Carberry’s historic main drag is a doozy!

Carberry’s local history book states this is among the earliest buildings in town, “established” in 1883. Situated strategically at Main Street and Third Avenue, a major intersection, the Robertson Block, as it was originally known, has displayed its two full facades which demonstrate deft design and skilful brickwork for almost 130 years.  It’s showing its age, mainly with discoloration and the deteriorating stucco job, but still holds its own in commanding attention and supporting the street’s heritage prestige.

This earlier picture (1960s?) of the block shows the detailed brickwork on both faces along with the elaborate design of the main floor facade.

This brick two-storey, supported by a stone foundation, has a flat roof with a delightful roofline of stepped parapets, raised pilaster capitals and tall chimneys visible due its corner location. The side view facing Third Avenue has a three-bay designation, each bay corresponds to a step in the roofline, is bisected with a pilaster and has an increasing number of arched windows with drip moulding.

The Main Street facade’s upper floor features fine Romanesque details set, with masterful symmetry, into three bays. Here Romanesque design is represented in the segmental-arched windows, the raised brick drip moulding over them, the corbelled (stepped brick) cornice bracketing the arcade of sweet arches below the pediment. Pure poetry lovingly written in brick!

The building is substantial, more so now that it incorporates the one-storey structure next door into its current use. The one-storey has been used as a movie theatre and garage and now as part of the grocery store. It was The Palace movie theatre starting in 1940 when bought by Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Baldwin. It played to packed houses every night with R. A. F. training personnel. In 1953 Muriel and Gordon McPhail purchased the theatre and made improvements. As with many rural movie houses, TV put the kibosh on The Palace. Its last incarnation was known as North Cypress Theatre.

During its thirteen decades, the corner building has housed pioneer merchants, implement dealers, butchers, rental meat lockers, a World War II service club for personnel stationed at the RAF flying school that operated nearby and a grocery. In its early incarnation as the A. Robertson Block, the two-storey store housed Robertson’s Furniture Store for many years. Later it became a butcher shop run by W. D. McMillan who sold it in 1964 to Ken Davidson, another butcher. Davidson’s Meats offered locker plant services to Carberry residents before home freezers became available in the late 1950s. Today, durably, it is still Davidson’s Meats and Grocery thus earning its current moniker The Davidson Building.

Just before they were married in the summer of 1918, Pa Tuckett rented a pretty little cottage on Dufferin Street in Carberry for him and his new bride. That fall he added a white picket fence. Alex Robertson had his furniture store in this building at the time so Pa and Amelia bought furniture for their first house. They only bought the basics: a table, two chairs, one lamp and, of course, a bed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings

Two Bridges Over the Roseau

Reid Dickie

One of my heritage projects this summer is to photograph and film as many interesting bridges as I can find. The two train bridges a few posts back were the start of the series. The next episode in “Spanning Something in Manitoba” offers two bridges over the same river, the Roseau River in southern Manitoba.

The Roseau River is a relatively short (344 km) river whose headwaters are in northern Minnesota and which drains into the Red River west of Dominion City, thus part of the Hudson Bay watershed. The Roseau can carry a lot of water some springs and often floods the surrounding area which includes numerous First Nations. By mid-August 2012 it is a sluggish shallow pond lumbering toward its destiny.

At Gardenton, MB this wooden truss bridge spans the Roseau River. Built in 1918 using a model called the Howe truss, the relatively rare Howe truss, patented in 1840 by Massachusetts millwright William Howe, includes vertical members and diagonals that slope up towards the center. The diagonal web members are in compression and the vertical web members are in tension. Since the Howe truss can support heavy loads over long distances, it was hugely popular for railroad bridges. The Gardenton bridge replaced irregular ferry service and introduced a new and efficient method to move people and goods. The bridge has been designated a municipal heritage site.

A few miles downstream from the truss bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Roseau. Located northwest of the village of Roseau River in the Senkiw area, this swinging bridge was built in 1946 to allow school children to get to Senkiw school across the river. It was badly damaged in the 1950 flood and fell into disrepair after the school closed in 1967. Restored in 2000, it has been deemed a municipal heritage site.

About 140 feet long by my paces, the bridge has just enough sway and swing to make it interesting. The infrastructure that acts as footing and supports for the cables is an example of country thrift and ingenuity. The large round metal rollers with the spikes around which the cables are wound and held are threshing machine cylinders which pounded the stooks releasing the grain. In their new life secured upright against the prairie sky and wrapped in steel cables, the cylinders become sculptural symbols evoking ancient and future regimes of rust.

Suspension bridges are relatively rare in Manitoba. The swinging bridge in Souris, MB is the best known one although today, it is non-existent until a new one is built for the summer 2013.

Click now to watch my 3.75 minute video on these bridges.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bridges, Day Tripping, Manitoba Heritage, Natural Places

Bricks, Stones and So On Along Reid’s Road

Reid Dickie

“Speed River, take me away, Speed River, take me away.” – Gord Downie

“Life is a journey and where you are going is HERE and when you arrive is NOW.” – Ram Dass

The Arcades of Hartney

In downtown Hartney, MB, prominent on a corner, stands this lovely old two-storey brick building. The series of arches formed by the brickwork under the cornice is called an arcade and Hartney has several arcades that attracted my heritage geekeye. You know the one.

Anyway, this is a particularly precise arcade, mixed and measured into the corbelled brickwork which continues along the exposed side of the place. The craftsmanship of the masonry overall on the building is exceptional, the crown on the end pilasters an excellent example.

Today its broad showroom windows light the Hart (ney) – Cam (eron RM) Museum. Incidentally, this building served as the bank location in an entertaining little movie called The Lookout Try to watch it.

Just down the block from the museum is another arcade. Cruelly painted and indulging itself in mid-peel mode, the brickwork still shines through. If you click and zoom the pic you can see that the original intent of the artisan who laid this arcade cannot be diminished by mere paint and hue.

Right next to the museum is another fine brick structure prompting awe with its deft and detailed design and execution. The three arches over the rounded windows form a sweeping, open arcade that gives the facade breath and life, “articulating and disambiguating the fenestration of the ground floor.” The main floor is a whole other study in arches, dominant and submissive, abetted by alluring brickwork. That’s another post for another late night.

Corbelling, dentils and aviated keystones enhance the arcade, the quality of the craftsmanship still evident and whole, a century after construction.

Wooden trestle bridge from abandoned rail line next to Hwy #23 just east of Elgin, MB with sunflowers as far as you can see. August 2012

No, it’s the family name.

Miniota Main Street Brickwork 

I am always attracted to exceptional brickwork, especially when it contrasts with the metal cladding favoured in many towns. The skyline of Miniota has a few shapes that resonate back to its birth and subsequent enterprise, its boomtown moment, a worthy endeavour and one to be encouraged elsewhere. 

One side of Miniota’s main drag has a series of facade rooflines that are replicated in brick. As in this picture, there are pointed and rounded shapes using header dentils and cornice, soft corbelling and interesting finishes and colour choices.

Just down the block two more one-storey  brick commercial buildings constructed around the same time with the rounded brickwork and again interesting finishes.

Down the street is this official looking building with the pointed facade and the infrequent double dentil, the corner stepped-brick brackets, again infrequent and the American bond of the bricks inside the surmounting pediment, contrasting with the running bond of the rest of the pile. It has a story or two to tell, I would say.

Yup, usta be Uno. Just one house and this sign now.

Out there, lonesome, Mansard roof tumbledown, howling wind, rotting, swallows, lightning-ready, the rods, gulps, stones, falling away, sunken, sunk. Find it along MB Hwy 21 south of Hartney. Expect more visually inspired stuff from this place…all hush, hush for now!

No clue! You?

More restoration work happening in Spruce Woods Park after last summer’s devastating flood. These are straw mats held down with webbing meant to restore some green growth along the road to stabilize the ditches. The thick grey floodcake that covered large areas of the park left by last year’s floodwaters has been hauled away and these mats secured in place.

 Some growth is already occurring. I’ll report later in summer on the progress of this method.

I’m always on the road, passing back and forth through the vanishing point, getting out of the mighty Avenger, smelling the fresh prairie breezes, feeling the hot sun on my flesh, always curious about what’s around the next corner, ever seeking the ‘what was that?!’ moment and often finding it. Every mile a safe mile.

1 Comment

Filed under Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Roadside Attractions

Art Moderne Texaco Station Update

Reid Dickie

Nothing says turn up the tunes, point her toward the vanishing point and step on it like an old Texaco filling station!

Previously I have posted about the Art Moderne Texaco filling station in my hometown in western Manitoba and its designer, Walter Teague. I have few old pictures of the place as it appeared back in its heyday as the Texaco gas station in Shoal Lake. Today it still serves relatively the same purpose. The garage and tire repair are gone, replaced with a convenience store called Central S. You can get gas, wash your car and buy a Pepsi, too. Plunked down in the middle of town, it is still the best location in Shoal Lake.

I recently took pictures of how the structure looks these days. Even though it is completely covered in grey vertical cladding, almost every detail from its original design can still be seen on the building. The rounded corners on the building, the roof and entrance, the prominent stepped signage, the symmetrical windows where the garage doors were, the darker trim at the cornice and around the projecting sign, all still visible, all smooth and optimistic, all telling you that the future is bright! Despite the matching grey Manitoba sky beyond, the colour has a warmth, an inviting neutrality. I had forgotten that the building isn’t square on the lot. “It’s squee gee,” as Mom would say. It doesn’t parallel the facing street, The Drive, but tilts slightly toward the intersecting Station Road, Shoal Lake’s main drag.

The 21st century mists of Art Moderne still lurk about the old place, passing along pleasing reminders of gentler, less-preoccupied times to anyone who can slow down and notice them. Take a deep Art Moderne breath, old friend. You’ve earned it.

I will add this update to the original post on Texaco Art Moderne filling stations and Walter Teague.

Leave a comment

Filed under Heritage Buildings, Local History, Manitoba Heritage

Two Trains Running, Two Trestles Standing

Reid Dickie

The trestle bridge in the picture above is outside Uno in western Manitoba. The bridge spans Minnewashtack Creek just before it joins the Assiniboine River. The surrounding valley of the two rivers is spectacular this year with lush green growth everywhere.  The Uno bridge, 1533 feet long, is supported by steel trestles. On average one train an hour crosses it. Access to the Uno bridge is off MB Hwy #83. On K Hill Road, drive two miles west of Beulah, MB, turn south for 1.5 miles, turn west for about a mile. In Uno, cross the tracks and turn left. In a kilometre or so the trestle bridge will arise on your left. There appears to be one occupied house left in Uno, appropriate I’d say.

This much more modest trestle bridge spans the CNR mainline about five miles east of the steel trestle, again off Hwy #83 outside of Miniota, MB. Made entirely of wood,  this bridge gives access to farms, the Silver Bend Trail and the Wakpa Tanka Lookout site. The driving surface, also wooden, is basically two ramps and a flat joining section. This trestle bridge is located west of MB Hwy #83 north of Miniota. Watch for the Wakpa Tanka site signs by the highway. Click on either picture to watch my video of trains passing over and under both trestle bridges.

I filmed another freight train going under the trestle bridge from on top of the bridge. Watch the 3:40 video here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bridges, Day Tripping, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Trains

2012 Medieval Festival

Reid Dickie

Cooks Creek, MB

Saturday July 28, 2012

From the curious to the devout, the golf shirt-clad to the chainmailed and feather-bedecked, they came by the thousands to celebrate medieval times, watched over by the ever-benevolent Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. 

Held every two years on the grounds of the church and grotto as a fund raiser for the parish, the medieval festival brought together jousters, blacksmiths, jugglers, dancers, sword fighters, caber tossers, falconers, pretty maids, fine lords and ladies and a fop or two to entertain and amuse. The most successful turnout ever for the festival lucked into a sultry Manitoba afternoon with temperatures over 30 degrees C, making it a challenging day for the hundreds of costumed people attending.

To watch my two and a half minute video of the medieval festival, click the pic below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Day Tripping

Ray’s Diner, 43 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Our next stop along Manitoba’s only Heritage District gets us to Ray’s Diner.

Obviously no longer Ray’s Diner but still known as such for heritage purposes, 43 Main Street is much like its southerly neighbours as reported in my two previous posts in this series. A practical commercial space, also built about 1900, Ray’s Diner is a one-storey structure with wide display windows flanking the central entrance, flat shed roof and stucco walls.

As you can see in this earlier picture, the place had some nice brick corbelling just below the cornice and elaborate brackets on the tall pilasters separating the buildings. “Modernized” now, meaning most of its heritage character has been covered over by cladding and fake stonework, the building still contributes to the historic nature of Carberry’s Main Street.

Over the decades this location has housed numerous businesses including offices for auctioneer R. H. Lindsay, Knuckey’s Barber Shop, T. D. Stickle’s grocery, Al’s Coffee Shop and a hardware store run by Cliff Addison.

Pa Tuckett, who had a head of thick, black hair, remembers jawing with Knuckey the Barber. People called him A. J. While discussing the major issues of early small town life, A. J. always gave his customers a clean cut and a sharp shave. “He never drew blood, not even once,” affirms Pa.

2 Comments

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Hebron School

Reid Dickie

Cities weren’t the only place the post-war baby boom occurred. Suddenly the countryside was alive with newborns who needed an education. To remedy that, just outside of Hayfield, MB, a one-room schoolhouse – Hebron School – was reopened which I attended for two and a half years. My account of those days is called Hebron School – 1 Room, 8 Grades, 30 Pupils, 1 Teacher 

I hadn’t been able to find a very good picture of my old school until I was checking out the Manitoba Historical Society website, a regular haunt of mine, and found this great shot of the place. The Classical Revival columns that supported the little portico roof were a sharp contrast to the bucolic scene around – open fields, rolling hills and dry dusty roads. It gave me a warm yet lonesome feeling when I saw this picture of my first school.

Once again I am grateful to Gordon Goldsborough, Webmaster, Journal Editor and Secretary of the MHS, for his diligence and integrity at finding and reporting Manitoba heritage sites. He has tracked down 3600 so far and now we can discover them first on this great map on the MHS website and then out there on the road. Thanks Gord.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, Family, Ghost Towns, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

St. Anne’s Anglican Church, MB Hwy #26

Reid Dickie

Built in 1864, St. Anne’s Anglican Church is one of the oldest log churches in continuous use in western Canada. Situated on a peaceful treed lot and surrounded by graves that date back to the building of the church, St. Anne’s  was constructed largely due to Archdeacon Cockran who was the founder of the Church of England Missions in the Assiniboine River valley.

Its plan is a simple rectangular nave with an entry tower topped with a pyramidal roof and a pinnacle with a weathervane. The four corners of the roof sport wooden pinnacles as well. Three windows on each side of the church allow adequate light, aided by the window in the apse behind the altar. All windows including the skylight above the entrance feature Gothic Revival pointed arches and complementary tracery.

The above picture is of the entrance to the church. You can see the exposed log construction. A building technique known as Red River frame, which was once the most common building technology in Manitoba, was used to build St. Anne’s. The method involved creating a framework of vertical logs, then placing short horizontal logs to fill in the spaces. Of the few remaining Red River frame buildings in the province, St. Anne’s a prime and precious example.

This picture of the interior of St. Anne’s displays the simple altar and the original plain decor of the church.

St. Anne’s Anglican Church is located just south of Hwy #26 a couple of kms west of Poplar Point. Watch for signs by the side of the road. Shrouded by mature trees, you can’t see the church from the highway. Meanwhile watch my short video of St. Anne’s

Leave a comment

Filed under Churches, Manitoba Heritage

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.

2 Comments

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

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers