Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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MENTMORE

The Gordon district began in the early 1800''s when the post office called Glendale was opened in the home of W.F. Sirett in 1882. This was on S.E.

5-14-16. The school was built in 1885 on the southeast corner of the same section on land given by Mr. Sirett. The Gordon Methodist Church was built in 1898 on S.W. 4-14-16 on the adjacent quarter. In 1909 it was moved to the northwest corner of 26-13-16. The church and school were the centre of a very busy community life for many years before Mentmore came into being.

In 1911 the C.N.R. Beulah line was completed and the first train came through the district. A sort of station was built. It was a building approximately 12 x 24 divided in half; half was used as a waiting room heated by a pot -bellied stove and half was used for storing freight. A loading platform was also built so that grain could be loaded into boxcars.

This was a real boon to the district as they could ship their cream and eggs and travel to Neepawa whenever they wished. The grain no longer had to be hauled so far to be shipped out.

lt was not until 1927 when the village of Mentmore had its beginning. That was the year the Pool Elevator was built on land owned by T.H.

Drayson. He named the village Mentmore and donated the land for the village site which was about halfway on the east side of the road on W 26-13-16.

The village lots went north from the railway tracks.

In that same year Ed Fleger built the first store on the lot just north of the track. The post office was then called Mentmore and was located in the store.

The post office located in the Sirett home called Glendale was closed early in the following year.

In 1928 Herbert Graham built a blacksmith and machine shop next to the store and a cottage style house just north of the shop. He and his son Arnold operated the shop. It was later sold to Bert Wyatt and then Dan McPherson. When the store and the blacksmith shop opened many of the needs of the community were being met and they provided a daily meeting place for the community.

It was also in 1928 that the Young People''s Society of the church provided the first skating rink for the community on Manning Slough east of Gordon School. They would put up a sectional fence in the fall to break the snow banks and wind, and haul a shanty complete with heater onto the ice for a change room. They had to haul it off in the spring and take down the fence.

In 1929 Ed Fleger sold the store to Percy Drayson. Percy was a war veteran who married Myrtle Whelpton. They farmed the land where Ray Drayson N.E. 26-13-16 now lives. They sold the farm and bought the store.

Ken McDougall came from the Russell area and he was the first grain buyer at the elevator. He was young and single so he lived in the office of the elevator. He married Isabel Southerland a school teacher at Gordon. Ken played the saxaphone, Isabel the piano, and Arnold Graham the violin.

They produced excellent dance music. In the summer of 1930 Ken McDougall purchased the store.

In 1931 a grist mill was started by the Grahams southwest of the elevator. On June 1, 1931 the first grain was put through the mill.

The first curling rink was built in the village south of the tracks in 1934.

In 1935 the Grahams decided to move to Minnedosa and they closed the grist mill and moved it with them.

In 1943 Edith and Ross Dunsmore of the Glendale district purchased the store. That same year the elevator house was built north of the Graham cottage.

In July 1944 a tornado wrecked the one sheet curling rink. A new two sheet curling rink was erected by December. The first bonspiel in the new rink attracted 24 entries.

On April 1, 1945 the newly organized Mentmore Consumer''s Co-op Ltd. took over the store. The following people managed the store for the new organization: Tom Hockin 1945, Arthur Benje 1945- 46, Jon Johannesson 1946-47, Gerald Reilly 1947- 48, Conrad Anderson 1948-51.

In 1948-49 hydro came to the district through the rural electrification program. In 1949 a skating rink was built just south of the curling rink. The two were joined by a common entrance and Mentmore had a winter sportsplex. What fun was had there! It was the centre of the community''s winter life.

In 1951 the store was sold to Ken Wahoski. It was also in that year that Dan McPherson closed the blacksmith shop and moved away after his wife''s death. The house was moved to Nagles and Bill Yuel bought the shop and moved it to his farm.

In 1954 Ken Wahoski built a new store on the west side of the road south of the tracks across from the rinks. The old store was demolished and in 1960 Ken closed the new store. It was sold and moved to Neepawa as a dwelling in 1961. The post office was moved into the home of Merv Drayson until it was closed in 1966.

In 1970 the curling rink was sold to H. Loewen and he moved it to his farm south of Ingelow for a piggery. The church was closed in June 1971 and moved to the Murray Museum in July 1972. The skating rink was sold to J. Streeter and moved to Neepawa in 1976 to become part of his implement shop.

In 1978 the railway was abandoned and the elevator closed. The annex was moved to Franklin in the fall of 1980 and added to the elevator there.

Victor and Lorna Goleski and their family moved into the elevator house in 1979 and purchased it in 1980. In April 1981 the Drayson brothers bought the elevator. They use it for storage and weighing grain.

While Mentmore was never very large it is hard to witness the death of a village. All that is left today is the elevator and the elevator house. Most of the people of the area now make Neepawa their centre.

 

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