THE HEART OF NEUBERGTHAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION (NHF)
Neubergthal is the best, most authentic, location on the prairies to experience some of the realities of early (1870’s) permanent agricultural settlements on the expansive Canadian prairies.
Parks Canada designated Neubergthal as a national historic site after scouring the prairies to find a place to show and tell stories of agriculture and early settlement on the prairies. The entire village was designated as a national heritage site, having “historical and architectural national significance,” with many older original buildings and authentic yard and village patterns.
The mission of Neubergthal Heritage Foundation (NHF) is to preserve aspects of this heritage and find appropriate and interesting ways to share and present this heritage.
Part of this mission is to restore and maintain older, original buildings. Two barns, the Klippenstein barn and the Hamm (Ray & Marilyn) Housebarn, date back to the beginning of the village (1876) and many other buildings are from the late 1800’s.
The Klippenstein barn is very unique. It was built near Steinbach when Mennonite families first came to Canada. Some moved to better farmland in the West Reserve (west of the Red River); the Klippenstein barn was dissembled and rebuilt in its present location. The exterior of the Klippenstein barn is being restored to its original appearance, and the interior will be a large, multipurpose space to host visiting groups, events, and the community.
The real heritage of Neubergthal is found in the stories we share. Many visitors feel their own family stories in their bones and NHF strives to create space to relive memories and share stories. We treasure the moments when Grandparents are in the barns and tell their children and grandchildren about the barn where they did chores. Many stories of life in the past can still be told and experienced in this authentic setting - stories of land, food, and changing technologies. And new stories continue to be created, particularly with renewed relationships with nearby First Nations and francophone communities.
We do this for the children and grandchildren, to help us remember who we are and how we got here. NHF invites you to participate in and support the important work of being a trustee of this place and these stories. Your financial contribution is critical to preserving this unique piece of Canadian and Mennonite heritage.
Rehabilitating and restoring the Klippenstein Housebarn is a major project for the NHF. The barn is one of the original buildings of the village and holds many stories.
Currently the NHF is undertaking significant fundraising efforts to realize our dreams for this building to be used as an education and resource centre.
What needs to be done:
break up existing cement floor and make a new floor
raise the hayloft floor
provide extra support for the roof
Restore the outside of the barn to its original appearance.
Finish the interior to create a multipurpose space for events and exhibits/displays.
Build a commercial teaching kitchen
A fresh coat of paint on the house rejuvenated this Heritage jewel.
Cutting the grass, trimming and clean up around the yard has been regular. Ken Hamm took care of most of the yard with the NHF mower while the Klippenstein Housebarn committee members did the trimming and clean up. It started out very busy like the previous year, but when the rain quit, the grass slowed down as well. The house is in the process of getting leveled. The floor is already much improved and will be completed this spring. Window repair and replacement is under way. We are fortunate to have spare windows and parts from other buildings in the village for this work, thanks to Prairie Eagle Construction’s ability to save material that “looks like we could use that somewhere”.
This fall we had electrical service installed in the house. A 200 amp service was installed to supply hydro for work being done. A new line was brought in by Manitoba Hydro, along the north property line. This install required removal of some trees. One good poplar at the north west corner of the property was taken down. A couple of maples in the area were also removed. The maples were in poor condition but the poplar removal required some debate. In the end, it was too expensive to go around. Poplar seedlings have been planted on the west side along the road. The two garage buildings on the south side have been demolished. A few maple trees in that area were also removed. Two maples were left and will be pruned to improve appearance and health. There are several large cottonwood poplars on the Schmidt property and on the old school yard. These trees will also be pruned to remove dead branches, which are a safety hazard, and to improve their appearance and health.