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MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Neepawa Brick Company

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 1905, a brick yard one mile south of Neepawa was established by Stephen Benson with local businessmen James H. Howden, William S. Partridge, and Harry Sage. Sage had two other brick yards, one at Strathclair and another at Newdale. The Neepawa brick yard was located on Benson’s farm which was next to the Canadian Northern Railway track. They named the operation the Neepawa Brick Company. By June 1905, they had fired their first kiln of 100,000 bricks and were turning out 15,000 bricks per day. Their bricks were red-brown in colour, with a rough surface, and heavy and firm in form.

The company supplied bricks used for the veneer of a house built by John McKane at the north end of Neepawa in 1905 and a carload of bricks was shipped to Elphinstone for use in the construction of a residence for H. T. Morton. Neepawa Company bricks were used in the construction of some of the largest town blocks in Neepawa, including the Neepawa Post Office, which consumed 250,000 bricks. In 1906, 600,000 bricks were used for the construction of a Manitoba Government Telephone exchange building in Winnipeg. Other destinations for Neepawa bricks included Battleford and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, and Dauphin, Cypress River, and Minnedosa.

In 1906, the partners had built a second kiln that had the capacity to hold 200,000 bricks. A 20-horsepower traction engine provided power for the brick mill. They also had 100-foot-long, covered brick-drying racks that had the capacity to hold 350,000 bricks at one time. Between 15 May 1906 and 1 September 1906, the company produced 1,200,000 bricks under the management of George Giesel. The plant had fired nine kilns that season, which consumed 500 cords of wood. The brick yard had two wells and 18 experienced workers, to whom $3,000 in wages were paid in 1908.

The business took a downturn due to labour shortages of the First World War but they still employed 16 people. By the end of the war, however, the plant had closed permanently. Its ruins stood until the 1980s.

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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