Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Return to Snowflake

Snowflake, Manitoba
Recently someone asked me about the status of a caboose near La Rivière, Manitoba. This caboose was at the Archibald Museum, which is located northeast of the town. The museum closed in 2016 but it's not clear what happened to the collection. Time for a road trip!

I convinced my family that this was a good idea. My wife always wants some kind of destination, so we decided to have supper at GG's Drive Inn in Somerset. I read the reviews and it sounded like a good place.

Heading South

We hit the road after lunch on May 20th (a Sunday). This is the route we took.

Naturally I planned to return home by a different route. There were grain elevators to see!

I took a photo of the Pioneer grain elevator near Brunkild, because I had seen some work being done to it the last time I passed through. I think it was just track work but it's always good to document when you can!
Pioneer grain elevator near Brunkild
As we passed through Carman, I took a few photos of the yard area near Linear Grain. Linear's elevator is behind these two Cando / CEMR gondolas.
Cando gondolas in Carman, Manitoba
After we left Carman, we passed by Jordan's elevator en route to Morden and Manitou. I stopped in Manitou to take some photos of Boundary Trail's two GP9 locomotives, ex GT 4625 and ex CP 8208.
Boundary Trail locomotives in Manitou, MB
We carried on to La Rivière and immediately headed north. We headed north on route 242, which is a gravel road. The former museum is located a few kilometres outside town, basically in the middle of nowhere.

The Archibald Museum

I knew the museum was closed. My intention was to see what was left - from the grid roads around it - and see if I could spot the caboose.

I stopped by the former entrance and photographed a monument there. It documents the Wallcraft Homestead, founded in 1878.

As I finished doing that, one of the property owners drove up. I introduced myself and told her why I was there. I understand they are very concerned about vandalism and theft and I assured her I would be taking my photos from the road. We had a brief conversation and she left.

I didn't see the caboose, but I did take this long distance photo of the former La Rivière train station, which was moved here.
The former La Rivière train station
This station is fairly unique. It was built in 1898 and is the last Canadian Pacific plan #3 station remaining in Manitoba. Its mansard roof is a unique characteristic.

It's a shame it's not open to the public, but that's the choice of the owners.

There's a school marker nearby, which I wrote about in a guest post on Everybody Has To Be Somewhere. That's a blog you should read if you like abandoned places.

I mentioned that the town of Snowflake was pretty close. My wife was agreeable, so we turned south and drove there.


The grain elevators of Snowflake, Manitoba
Snowflake is my favourite Manitoba ghost town. It has two grain elevators and several interesting abandoned buildings. The Federal grain elevator is pretty special.

It isn't exactly a real ghost town, because there are a few houses still occupied. In fact, there was a sign on the highway directing people here for "FARM FRESH HONEY AND EGGS". I thought I heard music coming from this building.

Regardless, nobody was visible when we visited here.

The town has several old businesses along the main street, which is fairly unusual as these tend to get torn down as prairie towns decline.

A few of the buildings have prominent NO TRESPASSING signs on them.

After the CP Snowflake subdivision was abandoned in 1977, the town declined. The school closed in 1992 and the United Church closed in 1994. There is still a community centre building but I am not sure if it is still used.

There are markers for the church and school in the town, and the bell from the school is mounted on a stand. My children were happy to pose by it.
The Snowflake school bell
The stars of the town, from my point of view, are the two grain elevators.
Grain elevators in Snowflake, Manitoba

Note the spout on the silver elevator, hanging in mid-air.

I don't know what happened to the top of that bin!

The Federal elevator is looking a little worse than it did when I visited in 2014.

I never actually wrote about my trip to Snowflake on this blog. I did write about it in Ten Grain Elevator Towns on the Trackside Photographer site, and David Gagnon wrote about his visit to Snowflake in 1989.

As we drove north from Snowflake, we passed this little barn? elevator? which is located in a field near the highway.

It's looking a lot worse than it did in 2014.


Somerset grain elevator complex
The two steel grain elevators at Somerset are looking good. These elevators are owned by Delmar Commodities, who moved one of these elevators from La Rivière to here when the CP La Rivière branch was being abandoned. At that time, Somerset was served by the Southern Manitoba Railway, but unfortunately the SMR folded and now Somerset has no rail service.

The elevator still has the La Rivière name on it.

There was a Delmar Commodities truck trailer near the elevators.
Delmar Commodities trailer
We went to GG's Drive Inn and had a great meal. I had this tasty burger and we shared some onion rings.

If you're ever in the Somerset area, drop in for a meal!

The Return Trip

CRGX 602 in Elm Creek, Manitoba
After our meal, we headed north to Rathwell, then headed east along highway 3 to Winnipeg. Along the way, I photographed the elevators in Elm Creek, Culross, Fannystelle and Starbuck in the sweet evening light.

Cargill grain elevator in Elm Creek, Manitoba
Paterson grain elevator in Culross, Manitoba
There was some work being done to the Culross elevator.

Note the small elevator to the left of the Viterra elevator, below.
Viterra grain elevator in Fannystelle, Manitoba
Pioneer grain elevator in Starbuck, Manitoba
Cargill, Paterson, Viterra and Pioneer - most of the big names in grain in Manitoba. I wrote a post about the grain elevators of the Glenboro subdivision back in 2014.

That was our trip to La Rivière and Snowflake. I like these trips... and we're taking another one in a few days to Boissevain. More grain elevator photos to come! ;)

You might want to read my marathon Southwest Manitoba Elevator Trip series to get ready! ;)


BWBandy said...

Quite the trip!

Jenn said...

Nice trip! Hope something happens to that great old station! I have seen photos of Snowflake before and remember like them and especially the name. The 'barnevator' is interesting!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks BW and Jenn! 'Barnevator' - heh!

JasonPaulSailer said...

Nice trip Steve! That Archibald Museum looks interesting, especially that CP Station - would have been nice to see it up close!

Patrice said...

Very nice article Steve. There's a small typo though: I do believe that you meant to say that you headed east on Highway 2 from Rathwell. Keep up the great work!

Eric said...

Thanks for the tour, Steve!

Jim Griffin said...

That CPstation in La Rivière is a beauty well worthy of being looked after. There is so much in the way of historical structures - can’t save everything I guess. Thanks for posting all the neat photos. It is a long time since I have been out west - goood to seethe elevators - new and old!

Al Harms said...

We moved to Snowflake in 1945 when it was still a going concern with two grain elevators, a Post Office, curling and skating rink and general store. It also had a winning baseball team with one of my brothers as the star pitcher. Al Harms

Canadian Train Geek said...

hi Al, I daresay Snowflake is a lot different now than it was in 1945. The elevators are still there and that's about it.

Al Harms said...

I think the elevators are gone as well. However, the graveyard is still intact as my brother was buried there recently. Al Harms