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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Govenlock Barn (Municipality of North Cypress-Langford)

Around 1981, this barn in what is now the Municipality of North Cypress-Langford was featured in a Manitoba Co-operator series on rural buildings. The original caption for the photograph is given below.

This is a barn that has had millions of viewers over the years. Perched on the edge of Highway 16 just a few miles east of Neepawa, it was built in 1897 by A. E. Govenlock. It was purchased in 1912 by Robert Hunter, and in 1966 by W. Graham Hunter. This particular barn has a number of interesting points that distinguish it from more modern neighbours. First, all materials in the barn are of local sources – mainly from the Riding Mountain area 15 to 20 miles northwest. Another feature of the Hunter barn is the twelve-foot overhanging mow, or what is called a laube or overshoot in different parts of North America. Many barn buffs would refer to the sheltered area as the forebay. Because of the superior strength of cement pillars, greater height was provided in the Hunter forebay so that teams of horses could be hitched under cover. Anchored to a 60-foot by 40-foot fieldstone and mortar foundation, the structure was originally divided between cattle and horse herds – the west half given to cattle and the east half to horsepower. More recently, the barn has been used for storage and for weaning calves. Among the other features of the Hunter barn is the saltbox roofline, the gabled dormer above the feed doors, and handsome cupolas used for ventilation. Unlike the majority of saltbox silhouettes where the large roof faces the northern elements, the Hunter barn faces the shorter roof to the north. According to Eric Sloane, a noted author on North American barns, English designers preferred their long sides to the north while German designs appeared to favour the southern exposure. The final word on this barn is not a pleasant one as it may not be around much longer. Long-needed repairs which are costly, plus a future need for salvageable lumber, combine to paint a doubtful future for the Hunter barn.

Only the stone foundation of the building remained at the time of a 2020 site visit.

Govenlock Barn

Govenlock Barn (circa 1981)
Source: Bob Hainstock

Foundation of the Govenlock Barn

Foundation of the Govenlock Barn (July 2020)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Foundation of the Govenlock Barn

Foundation of the Govenlock Barn (July 2020)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): 50.22627, W99.39014
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Co-operator Rural Buildings Series


This page was prepared by Bob Hainstock, Ed Ledohowski, Rose Kuzina and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 September 2020

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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