Tuesday, April 7, 2020

359 Burnell Street - Parking lot

© 2020, Christian Cassidy
Place: 359 Burnell Street (Map)

Summary of Uses
1915 - 1919 - Winnipeg Courier stables
1920 - 1922 - C. D. Roberts and Sons
1922 - 1930 - New Method Laundry stables
1930 - 1932 - Sorenson Garage
Late 1930s - Sherbrook Motors warehouse
1939 - 1947 - Enterprise Manufacturing Co.
1948 - 1966 - Kingdon Printing Ltd.
1967 - 2020 - Surface parking lot

The lot at 359 Burnell Street has been used as a parking lot for neighbouring apartment blocks for over half a century. It will soon feature an 18-unit apartment block.

Burnell Street's somewhat unique urban development was thanks in large part to developer Thorsteinn Oddson. He bought up a great deal of the pastureland around Burnell in the early 1900s and began developing a residential neighbourhood. This included three apartment blocks on St. Paul Avenue that back onto this lot constructed in 1910-1912.

Other land, particularly on the east side of the street, was sold for commercial purposes, including Canada Bread bakery and stables in 1912 and the Crescent Creamery development, of which just one building and a stable was ever constructed in 1913. (For more on Oddson and the development of Burnell Street.)

The pastureland of Burnell Street would have been welcomed by commercial developers at the time. Winnipeg was reaching its peak "Chicago of the North" status prior to World War I with record land prices in the downtown and Exchange District. If companies wanted to locate their factories and main stables side-by-side they were going to have to look elsewhere.

January 6, 1903, Winnipeg Free Press

The first company to develop this site was the Winnipeg Messenger Company in 1915 as one of its stables.

Winnipeg Messenger was established around 1901 by former HBC employee J. S. Davis. It provided local courier services using a fleet of boys on bikes and a number of horse drawn carts. In its early years of operation the company was used by the Tribune to pick up advertising notices from customers and by the telephone company to deliver telephone books.

With a main office located in the heart of the business district, the company did not have to advertise its services in the papers aside from the odd classified ad seeking more boys with bikes or men to drive carts.

December 14, 1918, Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg Courier had two stables. One was in a rented building at Notre Dame Avenue at Edmonton Street and the other at 359 Burnell Street.

At around 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve 1918 a devastating fire ripped through the Notre Dame location. There were 21 horses in the stables at the time and just one, its prized horse Lintle, could be saved. (Most companies that relied heavily on horses, be they department stores, moving companies, breweries, dairies, etc. usually had prized horses or teams that they used in parades and to show at horse shows.)

The fire caused $4,500 in damage of which $3,000 was covered by insurance.

The company then centralized their stables at Burnell Street. Fortunately, this was around the time it was starting to convert to motorized vehicles built by the Lawrie Wagon and Carriage Company. (Owner Robert Lawrie was also a member of Winnipeg Messenger's board.) The changeover, it seems, meant that just one stable would suffice.

Winnipeg Courier moved to 163 Garry Street in 1919. That address appears to have served as its office, stables and garage. The company sold off their remaining horses in the early 1930s.

June 21, 1920, Winnipeg Tribune

By the summer of 1920, the stables were the home of C. D. Roberts and Sons horse breeders and auctioneers.

Roberts' most prized horses around this time was a Percheron stallion named Monarch. At the 1920 Brandon Fair, considered one of the top horse shows in the West, Monarch won grand champion of Percheron stallion class and repeated again in 1921 and 1922. Monarch even went off to be shown at the 1921 Chicago Fair.

Roberts used this site for his auctions of horses and cattle and likely kept his most prized horses, such as Monarch, at his farm south of  Osborne, Manitoba.

Oct 22, 1923, Winnipeg Tribune

The lot then became the stables for the New Method Laundry plant situated across the street at 372 Burnell, (now part of Greenway school's playing field.)

Commercial laundries were popular back in the days of hand-washing clothes. They picked up from your home, washed and ironed your load and delivered it back to your doorstep the following week. Laundry was charged by the pound with special rates for items like blankets, parkas and curtains.

The company had been in existence since about 1912 as "New Method Washing" with a plant on Sherbrook Street. A reorganization of the company and the need to install modern commercial washing, drying and ironing equipment sent them in search for a new home. The Burnell plant was constructed in 1922 and opened in January 1923.

At the time, New Method relied mostly on the horse and cart to do its delivery work, so having its stables right across the street was a necessity.

June 14, 1924, Winnipeg Tribune

Just after 5:00 pm on January 13, 1924 a fire broke out in the hay loft section of the stables. Crews from four different fire halls were called in to fight the blaze and were able to extinguish it before it razed the neighbouring apartment blocks along St. Paul Avenue.

Because of the time of day, many of New Method's horses and rigs were still on the streets. The six horses in the barn at the time were saved. Also stored in the building were 60 sleighs and 15 delivery wagons belonging to Canada Bread Company which were also spared.

New Method was bought out by new management in 1929 that did a did a major upgrade and modernization of the plant. This included purchasing nine new International Special Delivery trucks. Their horses were sold off in early 1930.

October 10, 1930, Winnipeg Tribune

The site was home to Sorenson Garage owned by Fred Sorenson of Mulvey Avenue by October 1930. He occupied the space for only a year or two before moving on to Fort Street.

In the late 1930s, the site was a parts warehouse for Sherbrook Motors, a car repair shop and towing company located at 83 Sherbrook Street.

February 6, 1941, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1939, the site became home to woodworking company Enterprise Manufacturing Co.. It took out a $500 building permit to make repairs to the building before moving in.

The company was owned by David Huebert who was born in Russia and spent time in Ukraine before coming to Canada with his wife and two children in 1926. Here, he began a company making churns and grist mills for domestic use. His son, Valentine, and Jacob Huebert, relationship unknown, also worked with him.

Huebert was older as he and Mrs. Huebert celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at their home at 3-854 Alverstone Street in October 1933.

By the time the company moved to Burnell Street it had around 20 employees. According to the 1943 Canadian Trade Index, the company produced churns, clotheshorses, grocery display and other cabinetry, ladders, wardrobes and tables.

Valentine would soon leave to become a custom home builder and when Enterprise closed in 1947 he set up a woodworking shop on Wall Street the following year.

The site became home to Kingdon Printing Co. in 1948.

The firm was created in 1904 by Abraham Kingdon. Born and raised in England, he spent seven years as a missionary in Madagascar before returning to the U.K. and starting a print shop. In 1897, he, his wife and six children came to Canada. They first settled at Kenora before moving on to Winnipeg in 1903.

Kingdon died in 1927 a the age of 81, but his company lived on.

The previous home to the company was the fourth floor of 197 Princess Street, a building it shared with several other printing companies. A January 1948 fire caused extensive water damage to stock and equipment and prompted the move to Burnell Street.

The company left in 1966 for a new home on Erin Street

July 19, 1967, Winnipeg Free Press

The end of the building on the site comes in 1967. A classified ad in July of that year invited offers to demolish its 50 x 150 frame building in exchange for the lumber and materials.

The address 359 Burnell Street does not appear in newspapers again, suggesting that this is when it became a parking lot for the three St. Paul apartments.

1915 - 1919 - Winnipeg Courier stables
1920 - 1922 - C. D. Roberts and Sons
1922 - 1930 - New Method Laundry stables
1930 - 1932 - Sorenson Garage
late 1930s - Sherbrook Motors warehouse
1939 - 1947 - Enterprise Manufacturing Co.
1948 - 1966 - Kingdon Printing Ltd.
1967 - 2020 - Surface parking lot

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