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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum (Elkhorn)

As a child, Isaac Clarkson marvelled at the 1909 Hupmobile owned by Matthew Black of Two Creeks, Manitoba. Year later, Clarkson, now a farmer living near Elkhorn, purchased the remains of that very automobile and began its restoration, completing the job in 1946. This was the genesis of an idea for the preservation of a part of Manitoba’s past that would have otherwise ended up on the scrap heap. He collected vehicles and parts, often travelling hundreds of miles to do so, and meticulously restored a growing collection of vehicles to running condition.

Clarkson’s collection would eventually culminate in the province’s first automobile museum. Originally stored at the farm of Marguerite Ablett, he later offered it to the Village of Elkhorn and, in March 1961, the Manitoba Automobile Museum Foundation was established. The museum opened in 1967 and, after Clarkson’s death in 1971, Ablett turned over his entire collection on the condition that it remain in Elkhorn.

The museum collection comprises over 100 vehicles, many from the early period of automobiling around the First World War. Some special features of the museum include:

  • 1908 Reo, the oldest car in the museum, features a two-cylinder opposed engine with chain drive.
  • 1909 Metz, one of the museum’s rarer models, has a two-cylinder opposed engine with a friction drive, running on three-by-twenty-four inch tires.
  • 1909 Hupmobile, the first automobile restored by Isaac Clarkson
  • 1911 Model T Ford is completed with brass trim and carbide lamps
  • 1913 Case Model 30 is maintained in its original battleship grey colour with peculiar left-hand steering
  • 1913 Russell Knight was originally priced at a princely $5,000
  • 1914 Briscoe has a single headlamp mounted in the centre of the radiator
  • 1916 Overland Hearse Model 83B has an elaborately carved wooden cabin
  • 1916 Saxon Roadster has a four-cylinder engine
  • 1918 Master Truck has a four-cylinder Buda engine setup on solid rubber tires
  • 1921 Oldsmobile has a flathead engine putting out 26 horsepower

The museum also has other collections, including license plates, antique weapons, telephones, farm equipment, the Robert Clarke Aboriginal artifacts collection, a pioneer homestead collection, and a one-room schoolhouse for Archie School No. 744, which operated from 1893 to 1969.

A cairn in front of the museum, unveiled for the 100th anniversary of the Rural Municipality of Wallace in July 1984, commemorates the roles of Clarkson and Ablett in preserving some of the automotive history of Manitoba.

The museum is open seasonally, from 1 May to 30 September, daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

For more information, contact the museum at:

Manitoba Automobile Museum
Box 477
Elkhorn, Manitoba R0M 0N0
Telephone: (204) 845-2604
Web site:

Manitoba Antique Auto Museum

Manitoba Antique Auto Museum (2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Archie School

Archie School (no date) by W. R. Beveridge
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 118.

Archie School

The former Archie School building, now at the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum (May 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Location (lat/long): N49.97202, W101.22686
denoted by symbol on the map above


A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.

Steel and Grass Roots, 1882-1982: History of Elkhorn by Elkhorn and District Historical Society, 1982, pages 141-142.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 December 2013

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.

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