Manitoba Communities: Mentmore (Unincorporated Village, Municipality of North Cypress-Langford)
In 1911, the CNR Rapid City line was completed and the first train came through the Gordon district. A sort of station was built. It was a building approximately 12x24 divided in half. One half was used as a waiting room heated by a pot-bellied stove and the other half was used for storing freight. A loading platform was also built so that grain could be loaded into boxcars. This was a real boon to the district as they could ship their cream and eggs and travel to Neepawa whenever they wished. The grain no longer had to be hauled so far to be shipped out.
It was not until 1927 when the village of Mentmore had its beginning. That was the year the Pool elevator was built on land owned by Thomas H. Drayson. He named the village Mentmore and donated the land for the village site which was about halfway on the east side of the road on W26-13-16W. The village lots went north from the railway tracks. In that same year, Ed Fleger built the first store on the lot just north of the track. The post office was then called Mentmore and was located in the store. Fleger sold the store to Percy Drayson in 1929. Percy was a war veteran who married Myrtle Whelpton. They sold their farm and bought the store, then sold it to Edith and Ross Dunsmore in 1943. The same year the elevator house was built north of the Graham cottage that had been built in 1928 by Herbert Graham, along with a blacksmith and machine shop next to the store. He and his son Arnold operated the shop. It was later sold to Bert Wyatt and then Dan McPherson.
Ken McDougall from the Russell area was the first grain buyer at the elevator. He was young and single so he lived in the office of the elevator. He married Isabel Southerland, a local school teacher. Ken played the saxophone, Isabel the piano, and Arnold Graham the violin. They produced excellent dance music. In the summer of 1930 Ken McDougall purchased the store.
In 1931, a grist mill was started by the Grahams southwest of the elevator. On 1 June 1931, the first grain was put through the mill. The Grahams decided to move to Minnedosa in 1935 and they closed the grist mill and moved it with them
The first curling rink was built in the village south of the tracks in 1934. Ten years later, a tornado wrecked the one-sheet curling rink. A new two-sheet curling rink was erected by December. The first bonspiel in the new rink attracted 24 entries. By 1949, a skating rink was built just south of the curling rink. The rinks were joined by a comon entrance and Mentmore had a winter sportsplex. It was the centre of the community’s winter life.
On 1 April 1945, the newly organized Mentmore Consumer’s Co-op Ltd. took over the store. The following people managed the store for the new organization: Tom Hockin (1945), Arthur Benje (1945-1946), Jon Johannesson (1946-1947), Gerald Reilly (1947-1948), and Conrad Anderson (1948-1951). In 1948-1949, hydro came to the district through the rural electrification program.
In 1951 the store was sold to Ken Wahoski. It was also in that year that Dan McPherson closed the blacksmith shop and moved away after his wife’s death. The house was moved to Nagles and Bill Yuel bought the shop and moved it to his farm. Ken Wahoski built a new store in 1954 on the west side of the road south of the tracks across from the rinks. The old store was demolished and in 1960 Ken closed the new store. It was sold and moved to Neepawa as a dwelling in 1961. The post office was moved to the home of Merv Drayson until it was closed in 1966.
The curling rink was sold to H. Loewen in 1970 and he moved it to his farm south of Ingelow for a piggery. The church was closed in June 1971 and moved to the Murray Museum in July 1972. The skating rink was sold to J. Streeter and moved to Neepawa in 1976 to become part of his implement shop. The railway was abandoned in 1978 and the elevator closed. The annex was moved to Franklin in the fall of 1980 and added to the elevator there. Victor and Lorna Goleski and their family moved into the elevator house in 1979 and purchased it in 1980. In April 1981, the Drayson brothers bought the elevator. They used it for storage and weighing grain.
All that is left today of Mentmore is the elevator and the elevator house.
Photos & Maps
We thank Kevan Sumner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Ida Sumner.
Page revised: 26 July 2017