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Manitoba History: Review: David K. Butterfield and Edward M. Ledohowski, Architectural Heritage: I. The Brand and Area Planning District, II. The Eastern Interlake Planning District

by Malcolm Thurlby
Department of Fine Arts, Atkinson College, York University

Manitoba History, Number 10, Autumn 1985

This article was published originally in Manitoba History by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct all inquiries to

Architectural Heritage: I. The Brandon and Area Planning District, II. The Eastern Interlake Planning District. David K. Butterfield and Edward M. Ledohowski. Winnipeg: Department of Cultural Affairs and Historic Resources, Historic Resources Branch, Province of Manitoba, 1983. 189 pp., ill., maps.

Butterfield and Ledohowski are to be congratulated on these two volumes, which should serve as models for others in the series. In both, four basic divisions are employed: I. introduction outlining the study area, methodology, and study summary; II. historical background and settlement of the study area; III. building analysis subdivided typologically and chronologically; IV. selected inventory, naming the original owner and giving date of construction and a description of each structure. There then follows a bibliography.

Both volumes are copiously illustrated with contemporary photographs of extant buildings including many details of important structural and stylistic features. These are supplemented with carefully chosen archival illustrations which are especially useful for our understanding of the earliest lost structures. Key monuments are subjected to detailed analysis which includes excellent measured floor plans and sections. Particularly pleasing is the inclusion of drawings of details such as dovetail and saddlenotch log construction (vol. I, pl’s. 11 & 12; vol. II, pl’s. 11 & 17), balloon and platform frame procedures (vol. I, pl’s. 24 & 25; vol. II, pl. 24), and the exploded 3D diagrams of numerous houses and barns. These drawings not only assist the reader’s understanding and appreciation of the structures, but also may serve as basic guides for accurate restoration. In cases where a building is discussed in sections III and IV it is illustrated in both. Unfortunately, there are instances where use is made of the same illustration. How much better it would have been had the example of the Roddick House in S. Central Cornwallis been followed. This structure is pictured in general in vol. I, pl. 37, and then from a different viewpoint in the inventory (p. 130, cat. 37). A simple form of cross-reference between sections III and IV would also have been helpful.

A most commendable feature is that general building types are discussed in their proper architectural-historical context, which is something rarely found in regional studies. Thus, for example, we appreciate the differences between Icelandic and various eastern European building types, and that the small rectangularly planned houses in the Brandon and area district were based on a southern Ontario type. In illustrating such an Ontario example alongside one from the planning district, the authors present an exemplary methodology. How one wishes it had been employed with absolute consistency throughout both volumes, and that, for example, the side-hall plan houses in Elton-Cornwallis had been similarly paralleled with Ontario works (see M. MacRae and A. Adamson, The Ancestral Roof, Toronto, 1963, p. 236), and that church types had been discussed more fully against their respective backgrounds. But these are points which the keen investigator can research personally. In general both volumes do much for architectural heritage studies and are to be highly recommended. We look forward to others in the series.

City Hall and Opera House, Brandon.
Source: Western Canada Pictorial Index

Page revised: 16 January 2012

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