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.
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.
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.
Here is another house I photographed back in the late summer of 2020. It is another one that I cannot find any concrete history on so, I’m just going to leave it here and if that ever changes, I’ll re-write my post and share its story.
This home is well hidden. It was rented out for a time but once the last tenants moved it was quickly taken over by Mother Nature. I did not get close as the vegetation was quite high and I was alone. Better to be safe than sorry. I know that Cade’s aunt worries about me alone on these excurisons and the possibility of there being a well, so I err on the side of caution.
This place is right outside my door. Well, not really but its a stone’s throw.
Its been on my to-do list for a very long time and I just sorta took advantage of it being there and something I could get to at any time. So last spring I wandered over there and the current owners were there and said come any time. The only stipulation was that I close the gate and don’t let the horses out.
If you know me you know that I am afraid of dogs. And to me, horses are big dogs. So when I went I decided I would not go inside the gate if I didn’t have to.
It was windy as heck out but the clouds were amazing. To me the sky looks painted. Believe me when I say that there is not filter on this photograph, this is straight out of the camera. The sky is almost too good to be true.
I have tried to get more information on this property and cannot. And given that its been some time since I’ve been out and posted, I’ve given up on the idea that I will be able to solidify any further information so, I’m posting.
I can tell you that the property has been rumored to be owned by a couple of different families whose ancestors still live in the area. I can also tell you that the house was last occupied in 1920.
I was given permission to photograph this property this past summer. I made my way out in the fall. What a beautiful old farm yard this is.
The yard is beautifully kept and there were all sorts of interesting little buildings on the edge of the property, some tucked away in the trees and one overtaken by Mother Nature.
It is clear that the family of this old farmstead cares for this farm, which I am sure holds many memories for them, their children and grandchildren.
We found what I believe must have been the original home on the property.
This family immigrated to Canada in 1891 from England where they were wool cloth merchants. They arrived in Canada with five children.
Their son William married and had two boys of their own. He moved away from the original homestead of his parents and bought this farm. His son then farmed this land.
The home, small and quaint showed some signs of a time when it was still occupied. There was an old toaster on the counter along with an old plate.
And this old fridge
The one thing that really caught my attention on the farmstead was this old wooden windmill. I have come across many windmills in my travels but this one is something else.
It was in pretty good shape considering its age. I googled to see when these were used but was not able to find any further information on this. Can you imagine the wooden blades in a windstorm?
I am actually nervous about writing about this history because I don’t want to mess anything up.
It was definitely worth the trip. I very much enjoyed my walk around this old homestead and appreciate the welcome to photograph same from its current owner who loves this old farm dearly. He is also a photographer himself so there was that pressure as well, lol. He and his wife have so many beautiful memories to share about their childhood, their life on the farm and their life in general. I wouldn’t want to mess any of those memories up.
I seen a photo of this house a few years ago and wondered if one day I would spot it given its in my territory. I was thrilled when a fellow bando friend posted a photo of it and shared its location with me.
Even better, its on land owned by a friend. So Cade took me out to check it out. I would have walked in closer but the thistles were waist high and thick. This was close enough for me, although the other side and a peak inside would be cool. Maybe in the fall.
Downfall, no history. Can’t have everything, right?
On the way home from a shoot last August, I found this along the way.
Why its taken me so long to blog, I do not know.
At the end of the day,difference because I cannot find any good history about this big, old beauty.
I never really know what I will find when I photograph an old property. I go and shoot everyything that catches my eye and sometimes I am lucky enough to make a connection to what I read. That is really why I keep doing this.
And sometimes I’ll be working on a history and find a connection to a property that I blogged months before. Its exciting to go back and add those interesting tidbits. Maybe, as I start to explore this area more, I’ll find something.
Regardless, I really liked this old house and the surrounding out buildings and I’m happy I took a detour home that day.
John, from Beauharnois Country, Quebec and Lena from Emerson, Manitoba married in Killarney on December 29, 1899 and raised 10 children together on this land which John acquired in 1898. John earned an income to support his family by farming and running a hardware store in Neelin. He was also a carpenter. Lena was known to be a stern mother who instilled good values and principals. John passed away in 1937 and Lena in 1973.
In November of 1923, newly married Reta & Carl made their home on this land where they lived and raised their family. In 1966 the semi-retired to Killarney. The frugal couple raised two children on this homestead. Reta & Carl were the second family to own this homestead.
Carl & Reta, determined to make a living and “owe no man nothing”, worked from dusk till dawn to make a living and raise their children. It is said that Reta would do the work of a man and did things such as driving fence posts with a maul as heavy as herself. She broke horses, milked cows and raised chickens. She would support her family by trading milk, butter, chicken and eggs for food. If her grocery bill was more than she had in cash or trade, Reta would put the unneeded items away until next time. Reta & John would not hold a charge account. They prospered and made a good life for themselves and their children.
Upon Carl and Reta’s retirement, their son Glenn stayed on the farm and raised Aberdeen Angus cattle. He then raised four children on his own on this farm with his wife whom he married in June of 1955.
In 1982 Glenn and his wife purchased a family restaurant in Killarney while living on the home farm which he purchased from his parents in 1974.
This is a beautiful homestead. The house and outbuildings are very nicely treed in and its not far from your basic needs like food and gas. The homestead is no longer owned by one of the two original families.
Back in February I received an email through my blog from the Granddaughter of the Baleja family, the second last owner of this property.
I learned that there was a second movie filmed on this property by the name of Capote which came out to the public in 2005. I haven’t looked it up but I will, one day. I was told by the Granddaughter that when Capote was filmed, film crews laid limestone on the roads in the area to make it easier to get their equipment down the roads. This is why the road is made up of nice black dirt.
She also told me that her Grandfather bought the property in 1947 from a local man. A search of the name by both of us came up empty handed. I have made a request to my local library to see what sorts of material they might be able to borrow from another location for me.
There is apparently a drainage ditch near the house (which I did not notice) which was enchanced by the RM and the City of Winnipeg, I’m assuming and is called Z dike. The purpose of the dike was to protect Winnipeg from the infamous Flood of the Century.
The house is actually two houses. One of the houses was brought in by the movie company in 2015. The orginal house in the tangle of houses was moved from the other side of the road and you can see that there is an old yardsite there. The purpose of bringing the two houses together was to give the house a creepy appearance. The current owner advised the Granddaughter that the inside of the house had cable supports inside to support the joining of the homes and/or set.
And the barn. What a sight. This house, when I first seen photos of it, were taken by my Winnipeg Bando friend, Lee. She loves this old barn. Well, the structures on the roof were added by Grandfather Baleja as was the granary on the front.
The Granddaughter also shared with me that when the old house was moved across the road to create the movie set, the current owner from an old bible. I never did hear back from her to see if she received a photograph of an inscription that was in the bible.
I have driven by these vehicles hundreds of times. The kids at the colony have asked me to stop and take some photos. So finally I did.
Given that they are right out in the open and have some buildings beside them and behind them, I didn’t think I’d get any decent shots. Sometimes the best photos come from the opportunities you doubt most.
When I posted these photos on my Instagram account, Cade had no idea where I had found these as he is usually with me when I venture out now because I’m scared to go alone.
I am happy that the kids talked me in to it because I think they turned out pretty good.
When I texted them to one of the kids to see if they could identify them, they knew right away.
I seen this little church online and thought I’d stop by on one of our roadtrips. There wasn’t a whole lot to see here and I couldn’t find any info on it. I do not know when it was built or when the last service was held here.
The new resident pigeons didn’t seem to mind me taking some photos.
G.M., born in 1858 in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England. He was one of 18 children. His family was considered to be a family of upper middle class. George’s father worked for the Bank of England and his family had a number of servants. George’s siblings became doctors, lawyers and nurses but George decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and worked for the bank but later left it to work in the stock exchange. George was a long distance runner who won medals for winning 25 mile races. He was known to run everywhere he went. When economic hardship hit the family many immigrated all over the world to Australia, Africa, Argentina, United States and Canada. George was the only one to choose Canada. In 1880 himself a friend arrived in Manitoba. The family was not certain if George and Arthur were friends in England or if they met on their voyage to Canada. In fact, upon their arrival to Manitoba George and Arthur acquired land on the same section and having them also become neighbors for the rest of their lives. Upon his arrival in Manitoba George purchased 320 acres, 80 of which were under cultivation. His land was accessed to valued at $1,280.00. He was listed as having 7 horses, 5 cows, 1 pig and he was Protestant.
GM and his wife raised 6 children on this land including their son Thomas .
Thomas was born on this farm and lived there his whole life. Thomas was George’s eldest son.
The families first house was lost to fire in 1886. Thomas remembers that his mother, alone with his sister at the house, threw the bedclothes and other essential items out of the upstairs window while his sister dragged the items from the ground to safety. Thomas was upset that she didn’t throw the right items from the burning home including his new moccasins, from the burning home. After the fire the family lived with Mrs.’ parents until a new home was built. When Thomas was 13, his father, George passed away. Thomas quit school in grade 4 to help his mother run the farm. At that time, neighbor and good friend, Arthur moved to the farm and helped the family.
In 1913 Thomas took over the farm when his mother and all of his siblings, except 1, moved to Saskatchewan. Cousin Jack came from England to help but quickly realized the farm life wasn’t for him and returned to England.
In 1916 Thomas married Eva and together they raised their 4 children there.
They built their own home in 1929 and turned his parents home into a granery.
At the time Thomas planted the impressive shelter belt that surrounds the property today. Thomas and Eva, who was a teacher now farmed on what was referred to as a mixed farm with grain, cattle, horses and poultry. In 1950 Thomas acquired a couple hives but gave it up after Eva found him passed out after being stung. He gave up beekeeping at that time.
Thomas and Eva were active in their community, much like their son Art would later be.
In 1952 at the young age of 60, Eva became ill with an undiagnosed illness and passed away. Thomas remained on the farm with Art. Thomas passed away in 1977 at the age of 90.
Arthur who was born in 1921 acquired the farm from his father. Art married Jessie in November, 1954. He was very active in his community including the seed club, 4H, the local ball team. He served as a Director for the Co-Op for 16 years, a seed agent with the pool elevator for 20 years and helped start the local credit union, serving on the supervising committee. He held positions on the school board, community hall committee, cemetery committee and was a Director for the local lodge.
Art and Jesse retired from active farming in 1980 after Art suffered a series of heart attacks. They rented the land but remained to on the farm. In 1986 Art suffered a series of strokes which left him paralyzed and required around the clock care. Jesse remained at the farm until 1991 but was forced to stop driving due to her deteriorating eyesight.
This is a beautiful piece of land. It is nicely treed and the current tenants typically stayed to themselves when I arrived. You could hear them buzzing around but they didn’t bother me and I did my best to take my photos quickly and get out of there. I find it funny that after Thomas’ incident with the bees and his short lived job as a beekeeper, the bees are back on his land.
Last weekend I drove out to Holmfield which is not far from us. I was searching for two old trucks that were tucked away in the trees when I was there years ago! I could not find them but I did find this!
I posted this photo on Instagram and it was featured. I regret passing by many of the old vehicles I’ve come across over the years.
I spotted this one on one of our many trips to Winnipeg this summer and finally stopped one evening to get a couple photos.
The first descendants of this family, namely Sam, arrived in Ontario, Canada in 1848 from Ireland because of the potato famine. The family moved to Manitoba and upon their arrival formed the district of Londesboro #114.
His Grandson Clifford and his wife would later obtain this land where their children were born, including their son George who was born in this home in 1931. He lived here with his wife Valerie for 61 years.
In 1992 their son and his wife moved to this farm but later moved their herd to another location.
I would love to find a photo of this home in its prime. I would imagine that it was quite grand. When I first pulled up to it, I wasn’t entirely sure that it might not be a school.
My fellow abandoned seeking friend Lee found this house a while back, very close to two that I had previously photograghed. I finally got out there this summer.
The property is very grown over and getting a good shot with all the foliage was really hard given all the broken trees and branches around the front of the house. The landowner wanted to be out there with me when I took the photos and it had been some time since she had been here herself. The home had never been lived in by her family and was purchased for farm land. She wasn’t able to tell me much about its history and a search of the property and original owners didn’t tell me anything.
While walking around we scared up an owl. She also told me that she would be willing to attend with me to some of her other properties that also have abandoned houses on them. We talked about doing that in the fall after the crops were off but that didn’t happen. We will shoot for Spring.
While we were out and about on the property she did advise me that for the longest time there was a boat near the house which is no longer there.
She assures me that the homes on her other land are far more exciting so I’m looking forward to getting out there to see what she has.
Before Christmas I headed back to a property I had visited many years ago to photograph this old car.
When I called the land owner to get permission to head over there again, he told me he had no idea about an old car out there. He asked me if I could send him a couple photos of the house as it has been some time since he’s been to the property.
In late January I received a note back from him and he told me that this old car was used as a “chicken brooder” and he wasn’t sure if it had been used for transportation.
I think I’ve used this title before. I spotted this house on the way home from Wilcox. Can’t tell you anything much about this home. I did request the books for the library but I haven’t received them yet. So this will be one of those picture posts.