The first recorded landowner recorded for this section of land is 1889 but there is no family history. So, I don’t know who built this house. Regardless, she’s a beauty.

In 1906 Mr. quit his job at the chair factory in Orangeville, Ontario to move to the area. He boarded a freight train with the machinery, furniture and household effects of the Anderson Family. Upon his arrival to the area he was hired as a farm hand on another farm. In 1911 he rented this land from the previous landowner.

In January, 1912 he married Helen, the daughter of the family whom he traveled with to the area with their belongings. They bought the land and lived there until 1954.

When they left the land they retired to Melita. During his active years Mr. was on the school board in the area and was a counsellor for 13 years. Their youngest son took over the farm and raised his family here.

Before marrying Mr., Helen was a school teacher at Brown’s School from 1909 to 1911. She began teaching at 16 years of age.

While walking up to this property we discovered that the Souris River runs through it. The water was full of ducks and small birds. In the distance I could hear an owl taunting me but I could not spot it.

There were two houses on this property . This newer house must have been what the family moved into when the original farm house was no longer livable. I love that the house was preserved to some extent.

Mr. & Helen raised 9 children on this farm, 4 boys and 5 girls. Mr. passed away in 1963 and the history that I found for this family was written on May 26, 1982 by Helen who was in her 90th year. I visited this house on May 13, 2023.

At the time that Helen wrote her family’s history, there were 25 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren.

Then the 30’s rolled around and the family faced the depression, the dust bowl and the grasshoppers. At the time the family had a car, a piano and a telephone. Mr. sat down with his family and said something had to go. Helen said that the telephone had to stay, in case of an emergency. The children all wanted to piano for entertainment. So, Mr. put the car up on blocks and parked it. The family relied on a Bennett Buggy for transportation.

I did find this one strange piece of equipment in the yard. I took a photo of it with the hopes that my husband could identify what it might be but he wasn’t sure.

Now I’m wondering if the old car is somewhere on this property. Maybe the owl was trying to lure me further into the yard in the tall grass and treed area so I would see it!


Last week our school had a visitor, Bindi the burrowing owl.

Bindi is a 5 year old female owl who is the Ambassador for the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program. The program helps owls have a successful nesting season by building artificial nests for them to settle in to and by protecting nesting sites from predators.

Bindi was pulled from one of these nesting sites as a small owlet. Bindi was small and frail and it was the intention of the biologists to fatten her up and send her on her way. She quickly imprinted on her handler and was no longer releasable. She was born in B.C and is 5 years old.

After an informative video presentation we were given the opportunity to touch Bindi and get our photo with her. She makes the cutest little noise when she “talks”.

If you are looking for a cause to support, consider Bindi and the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program.


TJB was born in 1872 to Empire Loyalist parents in DeCewsville, Ontario. TJB moved to Canada in 1892 in what was referred to as a “harvest excursion”.

What is an Empire Loyalist? Due to the American Revolution, approximately 8,000 Brits came to Canada and migrated to an area in Southern Ontario. Those people were among the first white settlers of the province and were instrumental to creating the Province of Upper Canada 1791.

Christian and I were on our way home for the day after an almost 11 hour day hunt and shoot. We had just finished up and the well groomed yard when he remembered this place which had some old cars which he knows I also enjoy photographing. It was getting pretty dark so we weren’t sure what we were going to get. Again, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get in this lighting and I also underestimate what I can do. That am I’m not much of a risk taker because don’t want to miss a shot.

In 1894 TJB married Emma in Deloraine. Emma was the first woman to live in Medora. The first home they built was where the Medora Service parking lot is now and they lived there until 1903.

TJB played for the local baseball team and was a goalie for a football team. He was the secretary for the Sunday School and the Literary Society. As well, he was a member of the Orange Lodge. The Orange Lodge is a group of Protestants who were committed to the protection of the principals of the Protestant Reformation and the Glorious Revolution of 1698 which enshrined civil and religious liberty for all. The Orange Lodge has existed in Canada since at least 1812.

Emma was a very involved in working with the church and was a life-member of the Women’s Institute. Emma was also a well known dress-maker.

From what I have read or found about this property, I can’t tell you anything about these old trucks nor can I link them to this family.

During my old car photo shoot, Christian was wandering around the house so I thought I had better get over there and take some photos before it was way too dark.

Here is where I get a confused by what history I have found. It says that TJB built the house in 1903 which is now owned by another farmer in the area. “This old house was moved to the farm.” So is this the house that was built on the service lot in Medora and moved here or was the house built on the service lot sold to the other farmer and he moved it to his own farm? Regardless, she is a big old beauty.

TJB and Emma raised 5 children on the homestead. Their oldest son George who was born in 1897 later left this property to his only son when he retired and moved to Medora in 1974.

TJB passed away on June 8, 1930 and Emma passed away on August 14, 1962.


Many moons ago, I remember that Northern Lights were something that you only saw when you headed North of the city. And the darker it was outside, the better they were. I do remember going to the cabin and see them, occasionally. I remember that when you were able to see them, it was a big deal because you didn’t get to see them very often. Not from the city anyways.

So what are Northern Lights? Well, they are electrically charged particles that have entered the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a very high rate of speed. They are said to be more common in the winter. That being said, are we seeing them more now because of all the smoke in the air?

Anyways, on the night of May 19th Colton came into the house after I had already snuggled in for the night to watch The Handmaid’s Tale. He said “you might want to grab your camera and come outside.” He showed me his phone. He said, I just got this photo of the Northern Lights at the end of the driveway with my phone.

Well, I got out of bed, grabbed my camera and went out to the driveway and that is not what I saw. I could see them faintly but nothing like Colton had captured. This is what Cade & I used to see when we lived up in Waywaysecappo. I haven’t seen them like Colton’s picture since we lived up there. I remember driving up highway 16 coming home from somewhere and watching them dancing in the sky while Cade drove. It was mesmerizing. I haven’t seen them do that since. Nor have I seen the colors I’ve been seeing lately on Facebook and Instagram. And maybe I’m seeing them more because I follow those pages more closely now but who knows.

Anyways, Colton agreed to drive me further North up highway 18 to see if they got better as we got out of town. I also envisioned an abandoned house that I like worked into my photo. No luck. At this point I decided my best bet was to message my friend Christian who in my opinion is a Northern Lights photography expert. He said, go home, set up your camera and try again later. They are there, there is no cloud cover. You just aren’t seeing them to the naked eye and you need to trust your camera. So I did.

Well, you can definitely see them but nothing like Colton’s photo. I must say though, I was excited to see all those stars. This also confirmed that there was in fact no cloud cover. So as per Christian’s suggestion, I went to bed but set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. to try again.

Okay, not to shabby. Again, stars galore. I must try to do more night photography this summer. I’m positive I say this every summer and never get out to do it. Now, in my defense, milky way season is over.

So, I’ll be watching my new Aurora Forecast app with the hopes I’ll get a shot.


The furthest I can go back on this property is 1922 when this property was bought by Jack & his wife. Married in 1908 the couple lived six miles south of Medora where they raised four children. In 1922 they moved to this property but I cannot confirm whether or not they built this house or if it was there when they bought the land.

Jack was born in Shropshire, England on February 5, 1879. He came to Canada in April, 1906 and met and fell in love with his wife. She was born in Montgomershire, Wales and also immigrated to Canada in 1906. Jack passed away in 1962 and his wife in 1965. Their only son took over this land.

Born in January 1913, C.S. received all of his school in the area. Fond of sports, he was active in hockey, curling and baseball. He farmed his parents land until he sold same in the Spring of 1969 when his nephew took it over.

A few years later, C.S’s nephew’s Grandson took over the land and I believe he still owns it today.

After a day of wood ticks, this stop was a blessing. The ride in was easy and the grass all around the house was cut. It was a nice change for the day. The dreary, cloudless, grey sky we had shot all day wrapped up with this beautiful sunset. This house had been on my to-do list for a long time and I’m happy that I finally got to it.


While we were wrapping things up last weekend, Christian remembered a house close by with these old cars so we headed over there.


I haven’t started looking for a story on this place but I thought I’d share on shot I took.

This old farm was like a dream. Easy access and the yard was cut so no more tall grass and ticks. I loved how you could see the horizon through the windows.


My exploring partner hadn’t been to this house before and since he is kind enough to revisit houses he’s been to so that I can see him, its only fair that I return the favour.

I also think that this house will be one of the houses that I keep an eye on over the years because it really is a beauty. l would love to get inside of this house to see what it looked like but you just can not. You may recall that this is the house that had the kitchen chair hanging from the ceiling that I photographed in that top floor window on the left side. Trying to find a way inside is impossible.

This is taken from the window underneath the chair window and its no better at any other entrance we can get to. I can say that some of the furniture that you can see inside was high end for its time. I think it would be safe to assume that their might be some nice antiques inside this place.

Not much has changed since I was last here back during Covid times when my husband would come out with me because my entire family was sick of the lock down. I think our son even came with us on this trip and that rarely happens anymore.

I will be back to visit this old house in a few more years to see how it is holding up. Right now she still appears to be pretty stable. They sure don’t build things like they used to.


On a recent trip to Winnipeg, I requested we make a little detour to check out a church in a small town and found these two cars.

Shooting from the road on a rainy day, I took these two photos with my iPhone. I wasn’t happy about the background but I still like the way they turned out.


Located just off the road heading into Deloraine, MB, I have passed this barn many times over the years while going to hockey.

On this particular day, the kids and I were headed there for baseball and I was itching to take a photograph of anything. And this is what I did.


Referred to as Homestead #3136, A.J.W was born on September 28, 1840 near Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario. A.J.W graduated from a military school and later became a Captain of the 16th Battalion during the Fenian Raids. When he wasn’t serving he was a woodworker who specialized in making cases for organs and pianos.

It is said that A.J.W married his wife in Ontario in 1863 or 1864.

A.J.W and his wife raised four sons in Ontario and then decided to move to Manitoba through Emerson. They settled first in Rapid City.

In 1885 after snowshoeing to the area, he found this property. A.J.W moved his family to the land and there, they wintered, in a tent, on the property. The following summer, this house was built.

A.J.W passed away in 1909. His wife died in 1933.

While we were able to get right up to this home, I didn’t go inside or even look inside.

This house for me will always be known as the Coyote House. While making our trek down the road, along the field line, there was a dead coyote.


After a lot of thought, I have decided that I will be closing down this page at the end of the month. While I have contemplated ending the blogging and researching the history of homes as well, I’m not ready to give that up yet. I just have to know the story after finding and photographing these old houses. I have decided that I will continue to use the Crumbling Memories Photography Facebook page that I set up instead as that is a free site. If you are on Facebook, look for me there.

I will also post photos, without the history, on my Instagram page @sandy_phillips

I hope that those of you that check out my page will follow me over to one of those sites.


George was born in Hartlepool, England in 1837. On December 9th, 1859, he married Isabella and together they raised seven children.

In 1880 they arrived in Barrie, Ontario with the Hunt family. They stayed there for 6 years where they worked at a saw mill.

On April 1, 1886 the entire family moved to Manitoba. They considered stopping in the Red River Valley but worried about clearing all the trees and stopped for a short time in the Hernfield District before settling on this property.

This photograph! Its a total fluke. It was close to dark when we arrived, as you will see from the other photos I post. I had been struggling with camera settings all evening but got this. Cade would like me to blow up and frame this for the living room. Not really my thing, to have my own art on display but I do really like this photo. Cade tells me that its one of his favourites that I have done. I am pleased that this turned out because I actually got a good idea of what this beautiful house looked like. This is by no means close to where I live but I do plan on going back.

Anyways, back to the history. Upon arrival to this area, the family needed to set up a homestead. There were few trees in the area but lots of uncultivated prairie grass. The family set up tents and got to work building a sod house, sod barn and even a sod grainary. I do not know when this house was built. But when they built it, they built it well. There is no shelter belt around the home and stands out in the wide open prairie.

Farmers in this area were said to make a week long round-trip trek to Brandon to sell their grain. They welcomed the arrival of the train to nearby districts which shortened their trip to sell their crops.

The entire family homesteaded in this area. George passed away from cancer in 1894 and Isabella died on February, 1909.

My companion on this trip was adamant that we get to this house and another to capture the sunset. We stood here for awhile as the sun quickly faded below the horizon. The sky changed quickly from the time we left Prohibition Church, made a pit stop at another house and then made our way into this one. Even for the 10 or so minutes that we stood in front of this house, it changed a lot.

I have to admit, I did not enjoy my walk into this property. Lots of badger holes, grass up to my waist in some areas. My exploring buddy led the way, which I am grateful for.

This is near the start of our walk in. I thought I’d like to stay along with field but that didn’t work for us getting back out. God I hate tall grass. I hate when I cannot see where my feet are landing.

I do believe that this is one of the oldest histories that I have found. When I was able to connect a family to this property I was really excited. From the map I am convinced that the other side of this house is just a amazing as this side and I have every intention of making the trek back to see it.


JFA, born in Ontario in 1850 followed his father to Clearwater, Manitoba in 1881. The following year he came to this property with his wife. Here they raised a family of 8.

It is said that JFA was the first settler to build a home in this township and range. He built a home of logs for his large family.

The homestead remained in the family and eventually, JFA’s grandson took over the farm where he lived with his wife. BA lived here with his wife Mary but they never had a family of their own.

I wonder if this is the original structure, refinished or if this is a new build all together. There was a garage on this site not far from the house with an old Ford truck parked in front of it. Not far off the drive was an old combine up against some trees. The grass was very tall and think and I wasn’t going to chance it.

I think this is a pretty big house for its time. I would love to see the inside. I would love to see what it looked like in its glory.


This is another property I have driven by a million times and have never stopped at. I did two properties in one day and guess what? No history on this one either.

So here is a photo dump of this little property that kept on giving. I thought I was going for this house.

We passed by an old ice cream sign and some old bottles.

At this point Cade has already taken off to check out an old Mac truck.

It don’t think I’ve ever found one in such nice condition and it was even more shocking that the dog was still attached.

To my surprise I had stumbled upon a little old truck/tractor resting spot. Wahoo, old cars and bando houses. Why didn’t I stop here sooner.

Not sure what happened here but it made a good photo.

Then I found this. I am sure that this is some sort of old store. When I asked the current owners, they didn’t have a whole lot of information to provide.

And then I found this. This made my day. So enjoy this photo dump. If I ever find more info about this location and the little “store” I’ll be sure to update.

Have I ever mentioned before how much I hate hydro lines at a bando site?


I have driven by this house a hundred times and last Fall, Cade took me to this location to shoot it once and for all. We are asked to please shut the gate and watch for wasps.

The house is in remarkably good condition and wasn’t too bad to get to. We drove right up to it actually. I did get bit by something while getting a shot of the back of the house. Nothing serious. Stung for a bit and left a little mark. The round window above the kitchen on the wide of the house says 1910 which I am assuming is the year the home was built.

I loved the little window on the top of the house and the little “fence” at the top.

Of course, this is another house that I cannot find any history on and that is why it has taken me so long to post the photos. So, here they are. What I do know is that this land was claimed by its first homesteader in 1888. He is recorded as living here with his wife and 5 children. The land changed ownership in 1905 and maybe this particular house was built in 1910. If ever I come across something more concrete, I will definitely update.


When I photographed this house, I never expected to find anything interesting about it. In fact, I wasn’t even going to look but I thought what the heck. Well, the first registered homesteader was James Fraser! Of course I instantly thought of Outlander. James Fraser was recorded in the history books as taking ownership in 1895. Of course, I could find nothing about him. The second owner, purchased in 1901 was from Ivernesshire, Scotland!!

Albert and Ada married in 1903 and this was their land. Together they had 5 children. History says that Albert came to Manitoba in 1889 and worked for the local implement dealer. He became quite successful and retired in 1892. Upon his retirement Albert and Ada bought a fruit farm in Victoria, B.C.

After a few years in B.C. Albert heard of the hard times on the prairies of Manitoba and decided to head back and and “get his farms on a paying basis”. Things were going well until the 30’s and many of their groups were deemed worthless. On top of that, Albert sustained an injury wherein he was gored by one of his bull from his large herd of Hereford cattle. Albert was very proud of his herd but the injury would lead to his death. Albert lived a couple months after his injury but his lungs were so badly crushed that he eventually developed pneumonia and passed away in April, 1932.

Three years later Albert’s land produced good crops from the rains the prairies were receiving. One of Albert’s sons went on to work at the elevator in Elva.

Upon our arrival at this property, we weren’t sure what we were going to see. It was a long walk up the drive and I kind of had a feeling there would not be much to see. There were a gazillion grasshoppers along our route and these were the only two photos I took. I’m happy we stopped and I’m happy that I took the time to find a little bit of history on this place.


This stone church, formerly known as St. George’s Anglican Church was fifty-six feet long, twenty wide and twenty tall is located approximately 5 miles from the Saskatchewan border and 2 miles from North Dakota. The organization and fundraising efforts to build this church were headed by Goddard Gale and construction of same began in 1890 by Mr. William Cornwallis. Two years later in September 4th, 1892 the church was consecrated by Bishop Robert Machray.

Goddard Gale was an artist from London and the son of a well-known barrister and a cricket player. Goddard is also rumored to be the first “white man” to set eyes on Lake Louise. Mr. Gale was a surveyor and engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway and a staunch Anglican. When he took up residence is what was once known as Butterfield, he became a community leader and a council member for the RM of Arthur. Arthur is what this area of the province was before it was split into three smaller municipalities. In 2015 it was then reunified into one large RM known now as Two Borders.

When Mr. Gale started fundraising for the church on this 4.6 acres of land, stones were gathered as he wrote letters back home to his friends where he told them this would be the first Anglican church west of the Souris River.

As settlement started dwindling, church attendance also waned. In June, 1913 the church was deconsecrated. Some of the contents of the church were taken to a new building in Pierson but the organ and photos were taken to Eunola School.

Locals from the area told stories about Prohibition and how given the location close to the American border and the very isolated location of the now vacant church, it became an attractive hideout to bootleggers. I certainly didn’t get any Al Capone vibes while here.

Upon our arrival at the church, the sun was blaring, there were no clouds in the sky. I was a tad bit disappointed. Back at the start of Covid, Cade, Makenna and I drove out this way with the intention of visiting this location. We ended up heading North after a stop in Elva and I didn’t think I would ever make my way down here again. Yesterday a fellow bando hunter took me down here to do some touring. I’m glad he did. And I’m glad the sunset improved. Within fifteen or so minutes after our arrival, the infamous “golden hour” revealed itself.

After years of abandonment and vandalism, in 1932 the windows and doors of the church were boarded up in an effort to save the building. Inside the structure are obvious signs of a fire. I would have loved to have seen this place before Mother Nature and vandalism took hold.

In 1967 it was recorded that the building was still intact.

Driving around this area, there are very few cars and people. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, it is said that the government did all they could to entice people to this area. It is said that people from Britain and Northern Europe were heavily recruited. During the recruiting process no one took into consideration the climate these people would endure here on the wide open prairies nor did they consider if farming on this land would prove successful before they made their way to Canada from abroad.

And then there is this old truck. I will admit, at first I was a bit more excited about this old truck than I was the old church. What role this old truck plays to this historical site is beyond anyone’s knowledge. I googled it, but not to thoroughly, so I’m just going to pretend that a bootlegger parked his truck here to hide out in the church and then had to escape by foot and never came back for it. Its perfect right where it is and has been subject to many photographs in its time, as this old field stone church as its backdrop.


While the boy was away, he’s been to the Fairmont in Banff a handful of times. Each of the times he’s given me a bit of a tour. Of course the historic hotel was what I really wanted to see, not Banff itself. I wasn’t really interested in the shops as most of it is junky souvenirs. Although the shops in the hotel had beautiful jewelry and art.

So after the boy got the Yukon parked in tiny lot and we paid for parking, off we went. They are currently filming a movie at the hotel and in the area so there was some congestion around the front of the hotel but nothing serious and it was still pretty easy to navigate the area.

I cut off the bottom of the hotel because of the barricades and people. Within a few minutes we were inside and I was ready to explore. I absolutely love how they have modernized all of the original fixtures. The detail in these items is amazing. And the furniture they have is something else.

It was hard to get a clear shot of the staircase as there were many people passing by this area. This is not the staircase that the “Ghost Bride” died on. There are numerous stories as to how she died so you’ll have to google her story to read more.

I didn’t realize until we got “home” that we were able to enter all floors of the hotel to look around. I’m a little perturbed by my whole Banff experience and wish the kids and I would have done this trip on our own as my own kids understand how much I love this stuff and were willing to entertain me going up useless staircases and taking pictures of old stuff.

If I were a guest at this hotel, I’d park myself in front of one of these windows and enjoy a good book and a drink. What a view.

Another part of the hotel I enjoyed was a section on the second floor which displayed photographs from when the hotel was built, some of the first guests and a special menu that was created for when the Royal Family came to visit. I did not photograph any of those things as many of the items were behind glass and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed.

Then we headed outside. I believe this is the Bowness River. As we were on a time limit, we didn’t take in any of the hiking or activities offered. There are numerous hiking trails and places where you can rent bicycles.

Then we headed to the “strip”. The boy ditched us to hang out with his friend who declared that I was behaving like a “typical tourist Mother” so Makenna and I did the tourist thing and looked at all the trinkets in the stores including the Christmas store which was very cool. Then we shared a Beaver Tail while we watched the people stroll by.

Next time I go to Alberta I want to get to Emerald Lake. While Banff was nice, this spot was very touristy and busy. I would like to go further into the mountains next time.

Eaton’s House

The T. Eaton Co. Ltd.

The Eaton’s catalogue was the shopping mall for farm families in the early 1900s, the settlement period of the Canadian prairies. Coveralls for dad, a new dress for mom, and a special Christmas present for the kids, all came from Eaton’s in Winnipeg. The catalogue also supplied almost everything for the house, and, from 1910 to 1932, the house itself.

The house portion of Eaton’s merchandise was a Western Canadian phenomenon only. Houses were advertised only in the Winnipeg catalogue and in special plan books. The advertisements showed Douglas Fir trees, seven feet in diameter and 200 feet to the first limb. The lumber was without knots and came from trees that would not be cut today.

The mail-order house business worked like this: A few houses were listed in the catalogue as a teaser. The catalogue advertised free plan books that gave complete details about the houses: an artist’s sketch, floor plan, and information on lumber, doors, windows, flooring, and hardware. Few of the plan books exist today because they were distributed free of charge. 

Once the customer selected a house, the blueprints were purchased from the plan book for $2.50, although when competition appeared, the cost dropped to $1.00. When a house was ordered, the cost of the blueprints was subtracted from the invoice.

And order they did. Hundreds of Eaton homes dot the landscape in Western Canada, many serving the fourth or fifth generation of the same family, on the same quarter section of land. The lumber came by boxcar from British Columbia and the millwork came from Winnipeg. Freight was paid to the nearest railway station and the lumber was hauled to the farm by team and wagon.

Eaton’s sold at least 40 different house plans. While the large two-and-a-half-storey square house is most often referred to as an Eaton’s house, all shapes and sizes were available. The most common type was the one-and-a-half storey, sometimes referred to as the semi-bungalow. 

Very few single-storey houses remain, but the Art Dunlap house near Harris, Saskatchewan, shows how durable the houses were. The Dunlap house was built in 1916 and has been empty since 1956, but it still stands straight and proud.