Historic Sites of Manitoba: Davidson House (344 Main Street East, Neepawa)

A two-storey brick house in the Town of Neepawa was built in 1887 for politician John A. Davidson. Originally, the building was a wood frame structure. Expansion in 1901 included covering its exterior in amber brick veneer. By this time, the house had 26 rooms featuring decorative millwork, a grand curved staircase, plate rails, a pool room, and conservatory. The property had tennis courts and bleachers. The house was purchased in 1916 by businessman William Henry Guinn, whose family occupied it until 1976 when it was sold and subdivided into apartments. Known locally as “The Castle,” the building was designated as a municipal historic site in 2000.

The intervening years have not been kind to the building. Its heritage designation was removed in early 2016 and a building inspection was made in July. An inspector was said to have stated that it was one of the worst buildings he had ever seen. Problems included extensive mould throughout the inside of the building, an old boiler in the basement covered with asbestos insulation, floors that were soft and structurally unsound, a roof with conspicuous holes to the outside, extensive water damage (from the roof openings), abundant pigeon feces, and lead-based pipes and paint. The building was condemned as “unfit for habitation” and a stop order was issued on any further renovation work to the building. No one is permitted to enter the building.

The house was demolished in October 2018.

Davidson House

Davidson House (no date)
Source: Ruth Zaryski Jackson

Davidson House

Davidson House (August 2012)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Davidson House

Davidson House (August 2016)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Davidson House being demolished

Davidson House being demolished (October 2018)
Source: John Dietz

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.22593, W99.46291
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: John Andrew Davidson (1852-1903)

Memorable Manitobans: William Henry Guinn (1877-1933)

MHS Centennial Business: Guinn & Simpson


Davidson House, 344 Main Street East, Neepawa, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.

We thank John Dietz and Ruth Zaryski Jackson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 February 2021

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