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.
In 1897, the Harrison’s built a flour mill to process grain into flour for local farmers. A year after opening, they added a large stone warehouse. The mill was operated by three generations of the Harrison family.
Originally powered by steam, the mill was converted to diesel engines in the 1930’s and then electrical current in 1947. An associated workshop enabled the Harrison’s to make repairs on site. As well, they did mechanical work for others until dismantling the shop in 1955.
In the 1940’s the family purchased a lumber business and built a new lumber yard adjacent to the mill in 1962. They phased out the lumber business in 1972 but continued to mill grain until the late 1990’s.
The two grain elevators were built in 1928 by Federal Grain Limited. They were moved to this location late 1940s.
The facility is believed to be the oldest mill in Western Canada.
Information obtained through the Manitoba Historical Society.
I’ve have visited this location a couple of times now. The first time was hard as it is Reg’s old home and after his family moved away it was the victim of terrible vandalism. I can’t imagine going back to my childhood home and seeing it in such disrepair. So, the first time I was there I did not go inside. I explored the property with Reg and heard about all the things he built and did as a young man with his Dad, his brother, his dog. I know which trees he planted as a boy and the tree he calls Grandpa’s willow. I enjoyed the view of the Long River through the property, winding and weaving and winding and weaving again. The rock road they made across the river at a shallow, narrow point where they could drive their vehicles across. That him and his new bride made this home their home for a period of time before they moved away to B.C.
Reg’s grandparents immigrated from Russia in 1926 and began farming in the Holmfield area. Reg and I have something in common, we are both first generation Canadians.
The second time we went, my family joined us and we explored more of the back country and we just walked and talked. Again, I explored outside before finally deciding to go in.
There are a lot of neat little places and finds all over this property and you could literally spend days here exploring. We walked through pasture and along the river, we found beaver dams, lady slippers, driftwood. Reg pointed out the fence posts he recalls pounding in as a boy. And he showed us the rock where he buried his dog. The property is holds a dear place in his heart and he speaks with such pride of what it was when he was a boy/young man.
This is also where I have taken some of my favorite still shots of barbwire, old posts, hammered in nails in a granary. And I now know how he lost the tip of one of his fingers in an auger accident.
When I think about my visits to the Sawatzky Homestead I think of all those things and the photo Reg took of my husband and my daughter crossing the Long River. What a Dad wouldn’t do for his child. Makenna slung over Cade’s shoulder carrying her through the water and rocks while holding her “dragon horn” she found on our walk.
Or the photo of my on the old jalopy car he had as a toddler. He dug it out of a scrap pile and tried to sit inside it realizing the only way to ride it now was on top of it.
This lovely little church, the pride of its small town, still holds a yearly service. A personal tour of this building, previously arranged, filled us with more history than we could absorb. I think it would be amazing to see some wedding photos taken inside and outside of this old buildings.
The construction of this church began in 1906 and was finished in 1908 and was formally opened by Rev W.R. Johnson.