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MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Press Brick and Tile Company / Phoenix Brick Works

A directory of brick-making in Manitoba

A directory of block-making in Manitoba

People involved in brick and block-making in Manitoba

A glossary of terms relating to bricks and blocks

In 1902, the Press Brick and Tile Company was incorporated as a brick manufacturer at La Riviere. The principal owners of the brick yard were several well-known Winnipeg businessmen including Elisha Frederick Hutchings and Hugh Armstrong. The brick yard was designed to produce 20,000 bricks per day and they brought in J. W. Carmichael from Minneapolis, Minnesota to manage the yard. By early September 1902, the plant produced its first kiln of brick and, by the end of the season, it had made 500,000 bricks in total. In March 1903, it was decided that the brick plant would receive $10,000 in general improvements and the construction of 16 down-draft kilns. This also included a new engine, numerous castings, a blower, and 100 dryer cars. The new kilns were immense and included an arched subterranean passage that linked them. The dryer building had a 40-foot-high stack. By mid-June, four more kilns were under construction. In September 1903, Carmichael was replaced as the yard manager by G. W. Dellar and, by 1905, the plant was shipping out 1,000,000 bricks at a time. Among the buildings constructed using bricks from this plant was the Kempsy House Hotel at La Riviere, in 1903.

The plant was put up for sale on 20 July 1906 and was purchased by William Brydon. He produced bricks that were beautiful in colour and finish, and ranged from salmon to a dark red in colour. In July 1910, he hired James Johnstone as his new yard manager. The company’s name then changed to the Phoenix Brick Works. Brydon’s brick-making process included a disintegrator, along with two short pug-mills, and a Bradley and Craven semi-plastic brick machine. By April 1913, the brick yard was sold again to a Mr. Martin; however, by 1914 the yard was closed for business.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: La Riviere Brickyard (La Riviere, Municipality of Pembina)


Manitoba Brick Yards by Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch Report, May 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2020

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.

© 2010-2020
Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, Gordon Goldsborough, and Manitoba Historical Society.
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