Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Bell Rugh (1879-1924)

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Herbert Bell Rugh
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Born at Cedar Rapids, Iowa on 16 May 1879, son of George S. Rugh (1856-1923), in 1898 he served with US forces in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, after which he trained at the Armor Institute of Technology in Chicago. He practiced as an architect in Chicago for four year before coming to Winnipeg in early 1904. He and his wife, Mae Lillian White (?-?) of Cedar Rapids, had a child in late 1906. They became members of the Winnipeg elite for, when Mrs. Rugh held an open house in May 1907, her visitors included such prominent Winnipeg families as Bawlf, Patterson, Pitblado, and Stovel.

In late 1911, he joined his architectural practice to the Montreal firm of Ross and MacFarlane, with him as manager of the firm’s Winnipeg office, located on the ninth floor of the Union Bank Building. In November 1912, his wife successfully petitioned the federal parliament for a divorce, citing her husband’s adultery.

A few months after the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He went overseas from June 1915 to May 1919, serving as Captain of the 44th Battalion, as well as company commander and quartermaster. He served at La Coulette, Lens, Passchendaele, Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Ypres. His letters and sketches sent home were published locally. He was the only man of his battalion to return from the war unscathed, everyone else having been “killed or maimed.”

Returning home to Iowa in 1920, he married Alice Slocum (1893-1929) of Cedar Rapids with whom he had two children, George (c1922-1929) and Alice (c1924-1929). In July 1924, he was killed in an automobile accident a few miles east of Dubuque, Iowa. His widow took employment as an insurance agent. She and their two children were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in November 1929, shortly after the stock market crash.

Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:





Clarence Day Shepard Residence

10 Avonherst, Winnipeg



Bonniveens Block

185 Spence Street, Winnipeg



Erb House

412 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



Frontenac Block

90 Gertie Street, Winnipeg



A. H. Pulford Block

Donald Street, Winnipeg



Fairchild Building / Warehouse

110-120 Princess Avenue, Winnipeg



Suckling House

27 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg



Bissett House

11 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg



Hutchings House

424 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



Matthew A. Parker Residence

100 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg



Heath House

83 Kingsway Avenue, Winnipeg



J. Y. Reid Residence

329 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



L. McNeil Residence

Gertrude Avenue, Winnipeg



Mrs. F. E. Stephens Residence

Yale Avenue, Winnipeg



Alvin K. Godfrey Residence

Kingsway Avenue, Winnipeg



Young Women’s Christian Association Building

cor Ellice Avenue & Vaughan Street, Winnipeg



Hugh F. Osler Residence

485 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



George F. Robinson Residence

47 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg



Gwalia Block

169-173 Osborne Street, Winnipeg



Kneeland House

12 Ruskin Row, Winnipeg



Robinson House

703 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



Winnipeg Isolation Hospital




Inglis Building (renovation)

291 Garry Street, Winnipeg




Classified ad, Manitoba Free Press, 28 July 1904, page 14.

“Syndicate to build a home,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 November 1905, page 11.

“The New Pulford Block,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 March 1906, page 3.

“Winnipeg’s progress has been substantial,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1908, page 29.

Classified ad, Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1912, page 18.

Divorce notice, Manitoba Free Press, 30 November 1912, page 2.

CEF attestation papers, Library and Archives Canada.

Rugh military record, Manitoba Free Press, 3 April 1920, page 6.

Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 14 July 1924, page 6

“Three are victims of carbon monoxide gas: woman and two children die at Cedar Rapids; widow of former Winnipeg soldier,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 November 1929, page 1.

Crescentwood, A History by R. R. Rostecki, Winnipeg: Crescentwood Home Owners Association, 1993.

Linwood [Cedar Rapids] Cemetery Transcription,

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 November 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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