Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Altona Bergthaler Waisenamt (48 Main Street, Altona)

Built in 1916 along Main Street in Altona, of locally-cast concrete blocks, this municipally-designated historic building (1992) was the town’s home for the Bergthaler Waisenamt. This mutual aid association was introduced by Mennonites who settled in southern Manitoba in the 1870s, based on a centuries-old tradition of Mennonites in Prussia and Russia to administer estates to benefit widows and orphans. Gradually it began to function like a bank, accepting deposits and making loans to church members. The institution collapsed during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The building has accommodated various functions since then, including serving as offices for the Red River Valley Mutual Insurance Company, and was later renovated into two residential apartments.

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt (June 2012)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt (August 2018)
Source: George Penner

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt (July 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt (July 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.10478, W97.55766
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites


Altona: The Story of a Prairie Town by Esther Epp-Tiessen, D. W. Friesen & Sons Ltd., 1982, page 63.

Town of Altona Millennium Diary, Friesens Corporation, 1999, page 70.

Bergthaler Church Waisenamt, 48 Main Street, Altona, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.

We thank George Penner and Glen Toews for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 July 2023

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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