Co-operator barn series revival

Do you know this barn?

If you do, a Manitoban historian wants to hear from you. In early 1981 the Co-operator worked with provincial Manitoba Historic Resources Branch staff to photograph and publish a series on rural buildings in Manitoba. Each week a photo and a story was published about why each of the buildings were rare or unusual.

Now Gordon Goldsborough, webmaster and journal editor with the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS), is looking for Co-operator readers to help him find the GPS co-ordinates for these barns. He has looked for them during road trips in rural Manitoba, but because the site’s location details are scant, he has been unable to find them. He wants to include the buildings, with their GPS co-ordinates on a map of historic sites being prepared for the MHS.

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This photograph was taken by now-retired Co-operator editor Bob Hainstock who took the photo in the 1980s for the earlier project. Many of the photos were eventually included in Hainstock’s 1986 book Barns of Western Canada: An Illustrated Century.

We are including the original “caption” that ran with his photo, hoping a reader can answer these questions:

1. Does the building still stand?
2. If so, where is it?
3. What are its GPS co-ordinates?
4. What other information can you provide on its state of preservation or other details about its history since the original story in the 1980s?

Please send your responses to Gordon Goldsborough by email, telephone 204-474-7469, or by mail to 2021 Loudoun Rd. Winnipeg, Man. R3S 1A3

About this photo: When the T.E. Doran family of Isabella was digging the large root cellars for their new barn in 1919, they found an arrowhead in the excavations. The Arrowhead farm has been part of the Doran family since that day and is currently operated by E.P. Doran.

Built in the bank barn tradition, this view of the 96×56-foot structure shows the earth ramp leading up to the east doors and the second-level storage where enormous amounts of feed were once stored for the horsepower of an earlier era. The root cellars were used to store feed for people — with the two of them each 40 feet long, 4.5 feet wide and seven feet deep. In addition, a 16-foot-deep cistern was located in the barn’s lower level.

At the time Hainstock’s book was published, the Doran family was maintaining the 62-year-old barn in top condition, converting it to a hog operation in the mid-1960s. Material for the structure was railed from B.C. to Isabella which is four miles south and one mile east of the farm site. The original owners had decided to get the structure up in a hurry, hiring 13 carpenters to build the barn. Original value is estimated to be about $12,000. One of the most unusual features of the Arrowhead barn is the arched skylight directly above the sliding doors of the driveway. Unlike many bank barns that had the earth ramps piled directly against barn walls, the Arrowhead barn was of the modern version which provided a bridge between the driveway and wall, and prolonged the life of the wood-framed structure.

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