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MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Currie Yard

A directory of brick-making in Manitoba
Bricks

A directory of block-making in Manitoba
Blocks

People involved in brick and block-making in Manitoba
People

A glossary of terms relating to bricks and blocks
Glossary

In 1888, A. S. Walker established a brick yard on a farm located 11 miles north of Neepawa, in the Eden area, where there was a good supply of brick-quality clay. His brick yard was designed to have the capacity to produce 15,000 bricks per day and the brick machinery and equipment was bought from the Minnedosa Brick Company which had closed by 1884. Walker produced brick at his yard until 1889 when he sold it to William Currie, an entrepreneur from Neepawa. By late May, Currie’s workers were making 10,000 bricks per day and about to fire a kiln of 120,000 bricks. Still warm from the kiln, Currie delivered his first load of bricks to a customer in Neepawa on 2 July 1889 and he had fired his second kiln of 175,000 bricks by early autumn. By the end of the season, he had made 475,000 bricks, most of which he sold immediately. Currie bricks were white or pink in colour and sold for $10 per thousand.

Currie sold brick throughout the local area but he specifically built four houses in Neepawa by the end of 1889. A Methodist Church located twelve miles north of Neepawa, near Currie’s farm, was erected using his bricks. By 1890, Currie’s brick yard could fire 100,000 bricks at one time in his kilns. He molded 530,000 bricks that season with the expectation that he would make another 600,000 more, if the weather held, by the end of that same season. At the end of 1891, the yard fired a final kiln of 250,000 bricks and Currie had orders for the following spring to supply brick for three more blocks that were being constructed in Neepawa. In 1896, the Currie brick yard was still producing 500,000 bricks in a season. Many carloads of his brick had been shipped to Minnedosa, Shoal Lake, and Birtle.

The brick yard closed when Currie died of tuberculosis on 17 May 1898 at the age of 41. The operation was put into the hands of Currie’s business associate James A. Roberts and that autumn he put it up for sale. Roberts was listed as a brick maker in directories between 1900 and 1905 but it is unknown if he actually produced any brick.

Sources:

Manitoba Brick Yards by Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch Report, May 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 May 2020

Leary Brickworks

Manitoba Bricks and Blocks

A history of the manufacture of bricks and concrete blocks in Manitoba, based on research by Randy Rostecki for the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch and supplemented by information compiled by Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society. .

Bricks | Blocks | People | Glossary

We thank Hugh Arklie, Gordon McDiarmid, and Heather Bertnick for their help in the development of this online guide. Financial support of the Thomas Sill Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. Additional information was provided by Ina Bramadat, David Butterfield, Neil Christoffersen, Frank Korvemaker, Ed Ledohowski, Ken Storie, Lynette Stow, and Tracey Winthrop-Meyers.

© 2010-2020
Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, Gordon Goldsborough, and Manitoba Historical Society.
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