Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba Summer Edition - Morden

Here are five historic sites to see while attending the Corn and Apple Festival at Morden (24-26 August 2018).

Search the MHS Historic Sites of Manitoba database for a complete list of historic sites.

Morden War Memorial

This monument in Morden, an obelisk with a soldier standing at attention, was erected in 1921 to commemorate First World War veterans from this region, with lists of those who lost their lives carved into stone tablets. Dedications for Second World War and Korean War casualties were added later. Morden high school teacher Darryl Toews has made it his mission over the past several years to research all the names on the monument, along with those on every other war memorial in Manitoba, so the MHS web pages for these monuments have as much biographical information as possible on every casualty. By the way, while you are in Morden, take some time to admire the many fine historic buildings along its Stephen Street.

Antler River Museum

Nelsonville Town Site

Before there was Morden, there was Nelsonville. It started in 1877 with a grist mill and, by 1882, it was an incorporated town with over 1,000 residents, and the centre of government for the local area. The following year, it was bypassed by the newly arrived Canadian Pacific Railway. So almost everything was moved to the present-day site of Morden, about five miles to the southeast. A substantial courthouse building could not be moved and was abandoned. The last building was gone by 1905. A large boulder bearing a commemorative plaque was installed at the ghost town site in 1958.

Boundary Commission Trail Marker

Three years after Manitoba joined Confederation, a group of Canadians and Americans traveled westward from Fort Dufferin to mark the boundary between the two nations. At this monument, about five miles southwest of Morden, they crossed the Dead Horse Creek. A year later, in July 1874, a contingent of the North West Mounted Police with some 73 wagons, 114 oxcarts, and over 500 personnel, crossed on their way to establish law-and-order in the West.

Mason School

Eight miles south of Morden is the former building of Mason School, named for local settler Alexander G. Mason. In 1948, the original one-room schoolhouse dating from the 1920s was replaced the present structure. Declining enrollment caused it to close and a commemorative monument was erected beside it. This all sounds similar to schools all over Manitoba. The difference here? This one closed in June 2002, decades after the other. To my knowledge, it was Manitoba’s last public one-room schoolhouse. (There are still a few private ones.)

Pearce St. Andrew’s United Church

This cozy little building, about ten miles southwest of Morden, may qualify as Manitoba’s smallest church. When I first came upon it in 2010, I thought it was a small model of the original church building. However, when I peeked inside, it was clearly a fully functional church, complete with pews, pulpit, and an organ. Established in 1921, a sign above its door indicates that services and Sunday School are held at 10:00 AM on Sunday but I do not know if they are held every Sunday.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba


This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 August 2018

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. The information is offered for historical interest only.

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