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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Overwater Barn (RM of St. Andrews)

Around 1981, this barn in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews was featured in a Manitoba Co-operator series on rural buildings. The original caption for the photograph is given below.

Standing in dark silhouette atop a small hill overlooking the Red River, there is strong attraction to this tall grey barn for anyone driving along the lower River Road. As tall as it is long, and nearly three times as tall as it is wide, the weather-beaten dairy barn of George Overwater has been a local landmark for many years. Built in 1912, the 65-foot by 25-foot structure is given additional vertical feeling with the board-and-batten siding that was once popular throughout North America. John Overwater Sr. purchased the dairy farm in 1926. Through regular maintenance the Overwater family has kept a rare example of board-and-batten construction in excellent condition. Featuring a 12-foot high concrete foundation and 30-foot vertical wall boards, the barn housed 14 dairy cows and 8 horses in its prime. It survived a 1922 cyclone which levelled many other buildings in the St. Andrews-Lockport area as well as the barn’s source of water when the killer winds destroyed a nearby windmill. Located on Lot 20, Overwater Road, 12 miles north of Winnipeg, the farm was once in total isolation (except for the occasional barn dance). Today, a dozen new homes surround the farm which several years ago ceased as a dairy centre. The peak of the gambrel roof is 65 feet from the ground and covers another of the barn’s unusual attractions: a 2 by 12 fir rafter system that is pinned entirely by bolts. This gave it the capacity and strength for 100 tons of loose hay and grain bins in the loft for 1,000 bushels of feed grain. Because of the tight board-and-batten construction, which effectively eliminated lower level drafts, ventilation through the cupolas and gable openings was very important in such barn designs.

The barn has since been demolished and a private residence now occupies the site.

Overwater Barn

Overwater Barn (circa 1981)
Source: Bob Hainstock

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.04111, W97.00740
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, and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 February 2021

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