Around 1981, this barn in the Municipality of Glenboro-South Cypress was featured in a Manitoba Co-operator series on rural buildings. The original caption for the photograph is given below.
As was the custom of most other farmers in North American homesteading during the 18th and 19th centuries, priorities were clear for James Davidson as he arrived in the Cypress River area in 1882. First, the business of farming. Then the comforts of a proper home. It comes as no surprise to barn buffs, therefore, that Mr. Davidson completed this handsome bank barn in 1895, long before he started a comfortable home for his family. Owned today by Preston G. Davidson, the fourth generation Davidson on the gently rolling home quarter, the 4,000 square-foot facility is in remarkably fine condition even without its roof windmill, which was in a 1920s windstorm. The windmill had provided power for both a grinding stone and an elevator which lifted grain to the grain bins which fill the north end of the barn. Gas engines now provide the power services. Two earth driveways on the east side provide access to the loft and elevator. In addition to the vertical siding that is associated with Ontario barn styles, the Davidson barn’s main timbers and framing are held together by wooden dowels only. Floor joists are hand-hewn while the fir planking and siding were brought to the area from British Columbia via railway, which had come to the area six years previously. Measuring 80 feet by 50 feet, and a roof height of about 40 feet, the barn’s foundation is of local stone, lime and sand, but no cement. One of the interesting features of this barn is the pentroof, the small roof running the length of the structure and providing some shelter from the westerly elements. According to barn experts, this word comes from the French word “A pentis” and is the forerunner of the term “penthouse”. The pentroof is common to Ontario or Pennsylvania-style barns, or others with a stone or cement lower wall through which floor joists can protrude to form part of the pentroof framing. This well-maintained barn is located about three miles west and one mile north of Cypress River.
As of May 2013, the barn still stood in the Davidson family farmyard, used mainly for storage.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Co-operator Rural Buildings Series
We thank Allan Davidson and George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Bob Hainstock, Ed Ledohowski, and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 January 2021
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