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2019

Manitoba History No. 89
Manitoba
History

No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
War
Memorials
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old
Elevator

Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

A directory of brick-making in Manitoba
Bricks

A directory of block-making in Manitoba
Blocks

People involved in brick and block-making in Manitoba
People

A glossary of terms relating to bricks and blocks
Glossary

MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Blocks

For a few years in the early 20th century, buildings around southern Manitoba were built with locally-cast concrete blocks. Much larger than bricks, these distinctive blocks could measure up to 30 to 32 inches long, 9 to 10 inches tall, and around 3 inches thick. The blocks were hollow, and were typically flat on the interior face but variously patterned on the exterior face. The blocks were made using locally quarried clay by Frank Thomson at Austin (RM of North Norfolk), David Wright at Emerson, L. C. McIntosh in the RM of Winchester, William J. McKinney in the RM of Morton, Maurice Boughton at Arden (RM of Lansdowne), and possibly others. The idea was that concrete blocks could be made with limited infrastructural investment because they did not require high-temperature firing like bricks. For reasons unknown, widespread construction use of the blocks ended around 1910.

Concrete block manufacturing on the farm of William J. McKinney

Concrete block manufacturing on the farm of William J. McKinney (1904)
Source: Mrs. Ina McKinney, Beckoning Hills, page 73.

Men make concrete blocks at the Manitoba Agricultural College

Men make concrete blocks at the Manitoba Agricultural College (circa 1917)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Site #15.

Blocks were made at Arden by the Arden Cement Block and Building Company, incorporated in early 1904. [1] Parners in the enterprise included hardware merchant and tinsmith John A. Gilhuly, merchant and municipal official Maurice E. Boughton, carpenters George and William Stockdale, and stonemasons Robert Lamb and John Samuel McGorman. They used a Harmon S. Palmer block-making machine to construct several buildings around the Rural Municipality of Lansdowne. These include the municipal office and present-day post office (formerly a pharmacy and doctor’s office) on Lansdowne Avenue in Arden, and private residences in the surrounding countryside.

Examples of Manitoba buildings made with locally-cast concrete blocks:

Building

Location

Year

Status

Arden Concrete House

Arden

1905

 

Arden Post Office

Arden

?

 

Argyle Hotel

Austin

1904

Demolished (?)

Ayr School

Glenella-Lansdowne

1908

Demolished (c2016)

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt

48 Main Street, Altona

?

 

Booth Concrete Granary

North Norfolk

?

 

Boulton Manor

322 Memorial Avenue South, Russell

1912

 

Casselman House

Park Street, Emerson

1905

 

Clifford Barn

North Norfolk

1912

 

Corr House

907 St. Claire Street, Birtle

1902

 

Crerar Building

129 Souris Street, Melita

1904

 

Culross School

Yellowhead

1908

Demolished (?)

Emerson Baptist Church

Third Street, Emerson

1905

 

Emerson Presbyterian Church Manse

129 Park Street, Emerson

1905

 

Ferguson Building

275 Stephen Street, Morden

1910

 

A. E. Gardiner Building / Seton Centre

116 Main Street, Carberry

?

 

Grove School

Deloraine-Winchester

1907

 

Hamilton Hotel / Towers Hotel

203 Main Street South, Dauphin

Before 1911

Destroyed by fire (2014)

Kilkenny General Store

Broomhill

1908

 

Lansdowne Municipal Office

Arden

1904

 

Lowe Farm School

Lowe Farm

1913

 

Lyleton Post Office

Lyleton

?

 

Matchettville School No. 1342

Norfolk-Treherne

1906

 

McDermott School No. 810

Dufferin

1919

 

McKinney House

Boissevain-Morton

1904

 

Nelson Concrete House

North Norfolk

?

 

Northcote School

Killarney-Turtle Mountain

1906

 

Otter School

Brenda-Waskada

1908

Demolished (?)

Price Concrete Barn

North Norfolk

?

 

Ritzer House

North Norfolk

1906

 

Royal Oak School No. 1354

McCreary

1906

 

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Mather

1905

Demolished (1971)

St. Matthews Anglican Church / Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church

Gilbert Plains

?

 

St. Peter and St. James Anglican Church

74 Church Street, Flin Flon

1943

 

Shellmouth School No. 292

Shellmouth

1910

Destroyed by fire (?)

Snell House

Glenella-Lansdowne

?

 

Swan River Concrete House

500 Duncan Crescent, Swan River

circa 1905

 

Sylvester Hill School No. 1368

Yellowhead

circa 1906

 

Tenby School

Tenby

1904

 

Thomson Barn

North Norfolk

1908

 

Union Bank Building

Waskada

1906

 

Westaway House

Miami

1909

 

Sources:

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 May 2019

Leary Brickworks

Manitoba Bricks and Blocks

A history of the manufacture of bricks and concrete blocks in Manitoba, based on research by Randy Rostecki for the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch and supplemented by information compiled by Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society. .

Bricks | Blocks | People | Glossary

We thank Hugh Arklie, Gordon McDiarmid, and Heather Bertnick for their help in the development of this online guide. Financial support of the Thomas Sill Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. Additional information was provided by Ina Bramadat, David Butterfield, Neil Christoffersen, Frank Korvemaker, Ed Ledohowski, Ken Storie, Lynette Stow, and Tracey Winthrop-Meyers.

© 2010-2019
Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, Gordon Goldsborough, and Manitoba Historical Society.
All rights reserved.

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