Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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The Brookdale brickyard was started in the fallof 1904. The clay was tested for quality and to find which type of brick it would best make. The clay was found to be excellent for brick making. The bricks became known as the best made in Manitoba. So Mr. R. Hales & Son of Rapid City built a $15,000 brick factory, on land east of the town owned by Robert Dodds. The business began operating in 1905.

The next year the c.P.R. put a branch line and siding into the brickyard, thus saving nearly all labor with horses.

The plant was capable of producing 20,000 bricks per day and orders were received from as far away as Regina.

Chimney of the Brickyard The brick was distinctive in color and buildings of Brookdale brick are easy to recognize.

Four houses in Brookdale were built out of the Brookdale brick. They were: the R. Barrett home on the northwest corner of Petrel Street and Railway Avenue (demolished), the Chisholm home on the southwest corner of Petrel Street and McNaughton Avenue (demolished), the Pohl (Clegg) house on the southwest corner of Main Street and McNaughton Avenue, and Bill and Rose Jones'' home on Dennis Street.

In 1911 a severe electric storm passed over Brookdale at 3:30 a.m. and the tall brick chimney from the two kilns was struck by lightning. It was not badly damaged. In the same year, 1911, 30 men were employed in the brickyard and machinery was installed to make hollow bricks and veneer.

There was a building for the making and storing of the bricks. There was a narrow gage track with little wagons connecting the building with the two kilns. The kilns were one storey high.

Inability to compete with other building materials forced the closing of the brickyard. The children of the town used their imagination in using the vacated building as a play area. .

Finally, all that remained was the tall brick chimney. The Engineers from Shilo came to take it down as they wanted the bricks. The chimney was blown up in 1958. It was done in such a manner that very few bricks were damaged.


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