There are not too many public spots with woods around here (R.M. of Hanover, City of Steinbach, southeastern Manitoba). I think that’s why Rosenthal is special. It’s a nature park just a mile north of Mitchell, with a little path through the woods and a pond.
I’ve written about Rosenthal before. It’s a nature park with the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District, but it’s also situated on land where the Mennonite settler village of Rosenthal once stood.
The village itself was fairly short-lived, and there seemingly isn’t even a cemetery on this site. Either that or it was accidentally removed when half the site was excavated for clay to use in building the Mitchell lagoon.
Of course, there were people living here long before the village of Rosenthal. Talk to anyone who lived in this area back in the day, and they’ll likely remember Indigenous people living in these woods. I once saw a map of the East Reserve that had this area (pretty sure it was this area, anyway) kind of greyed out — like, it wasn’t actually part of the East Reserve. I think it said it belonged to the Métis. But I cannot cite my source right now. I’ve just kind of collected some stories and hearsay and memories and maps in my mind, and… well, I’m pretty sure this picture was taken in these woods:
The picture above is from Historical Sketches of the East Reserve, found in the Ebenfeld chapter that mentions other villages in the Mitchell area… Ebenfeld was about half a mile southeast of Rosenthal. Interestingly, nothing was said about this picture aside from the caption. However, I have heard many people speak about these woods. This is living memory.
It was very early in the morning when I went out for this small adventure so I stopped right in the middle of Mitchell and visited the old school site:
Do you remember Hamdog House? I will always be convinced they had the very best ice cream. I miss Hamdog House. I later found out that that log structure had originally been the Mitchell School. (Am I right about that, or was it merely on the site of where the school had been?) Today it is an empty lot.
The sign says, “Site of Mitchell School SD# 1955 1919”.