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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Industrial Farm / Prison Farm (RM of Reynolds)

This site along the Birch River in the Rural Municipality of Reynolds, between the communities of McMunn and East Braintree, was a former prison farm operated by the Manitoba government. Established in 1918 under Superintendent William Murray and Assistant Superintendent August Anderson, between 40 and 55 prisoners brought here on the nearby Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway were put to working cutting cordwood to pay the costs of their incarceration. The facility closed in the fall 1930 and prisoners were moved to the Headingley Gaol. The land was sold. No vestiges of the wooden prison barracks remain but a house with 26-inch thick granite walls, intended for the prison superintendent but left incomplete when the government vacated the site, was completed by subsequent owners. Also present is a stone barn and a four-cell jailhouse partially buried in the ground and encased in concrete and steel bars.

Jailhouse at the former provincial prison farm

Jailhouse at the former provincial prison farm (September 2016)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Four cells Inside the jailhouse

Four cells Inside the jailhouse (Septemer 2016)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

A beaver drawn on a wall in the jailhouse, probably by a prisoner (July 2012)
Source: Julie Feilberg

A bison drawn on a wall in the jailhouse, probably by a prisoner (July 2012)
Source: Julie Feilberg

Four cells Inside the jailhouse

A man holding a pistol with the inscription “HANDS UP” inside one of the jail cells (Septemer 2016)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

A stone barn built by prisoners is still in use today (September 2016)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

The present owners of the site completed a stone home intended for the prison superintendent before the prison was closed (July 2012)
Source: Julie Feilberg

Site Location (lat/long): N49.61074, W95.64906
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Headingley Gaol (RM of Headingley)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

Sources:

“Old prison farm now a homestead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 1969, page 71.

“East Braintree: a community founded by hardy settlers,” Steinbach Carillon, 11 April 1984, page C1.

Pioneer History of McMunn, East Braintree and Glenn by Pioneer History Book Committee, 1989, pages 96-131.

We thank Julie, Carl, and Lorna Feilberg for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Bill Redekop, Lorna Annell, and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 December 2016

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

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