Exploring Winkler, Part 8: Winkler Archives!

So! I had listened to my uncle and crashed the meeting of Winkler historians over their morning coffee at Mulligan’s. They gave me more advice than I had capacity to hold. I have no idea what I did with my frantic notes at this point. I think I was marking up my map terribly and then it got thoroughly lost in the ensuing chaos that was my life this past July due to my own poor planning. (Which may explain the extreme delay in me even attempting to process any of this. Ah well, ONWARD!)

After meeting at Mulligan’s, I took the advice of those good fellows went to meet Joe (and yes that is the same link as above, heh). But I had to cut it short because… (and here we pick up on some of my notes from those moments):

Fish fry for lunch. My uncle is so good at this! And then rhubarb meringue square for dessert. My aunt and uncle make such a good team. They were really helping me manage with missing Andrew while he was on leg two of the Russlaender 100 train tour without me (which again was due to my own poor planning… hmmm I see a theme).

My other uncle and aunts also came out for lunch and we had a great time with great food. I really do like spending time with them all.

I blurted out an update on all my adventures and then had to eat and run, which they indulgently encouraged me to do. I had my next appointment to keep — at the Winkler archives. I had no idea this existed until Ed Falk told me! It’s at the library. Ed is there on Wednesdays… and it just so happened that THIS was a Wednesday!

However, I was there a bit early so I took those few moments to sit with my thoughts in the beautiful Bethel Park next to the library.

This plaque conveys the fact that this is another Chortitz Oak!
Look what else I discovered: this stone commemorates Hoffnungsfeld, which was apparently one mile west of Bethel Park. This stone has a bit of a map on it, and marks two cemeteries. I wonder what is on those spots now…

From my wanderings and readings, I learned that the old hospital used to be here, until Boundary Trails Health Centre was built between Winkler and Morden. There are a lot of commemorative plaques in this park, it’s really beautiful. I also saw a butterfly flutter by. A serene moment.

Then the archives opened, so I stepped into the library.

I love the feeling of libraries! I’ve never been in here before. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with this first door, because it says “staff only”, AND the archive sign says “walk in”.

I went for it.

Then I found another door with more signs.

This must be the place.

And there was Ed Falk!

Funny thing about the above picture. When I walked in, Ed greeted me with the best smile — I felt everyone should see that welcoming smile, so I asked if I could take his picture. He said yes and… this is how he posed. With no smile. Argh! I should’ve just taken his picture without permission. Lesson learned! Ha.

Anyway, it was the coolest place. But yes, I continued my descent into overwhelm. He asked what I wanted to know. So I blurted that I was pursuing Burwalde knowledge. To what end, I do not know. I have family history in the area… but what do I mean by this? It goes back to settlement, I think. He showed me some very old maps and documents pertaining to exactly that area and also gave me a book on Burwalde. Wow!

Entries from 1894.
Very old map.

He gave me a lot of information and showed me maps and slides and a lot of things. He also showed me a collection of remarkable charcoal drawings, and asked me if I might know who the artist was. (Ed severely overestimated my knowledge of, like, anything.) He pointed out that they seem to be mainly of Mennonites… including this guy:


My head was swimming with information overload. My phone’s timer went off. The Winkler Heritage Museum was closing. It was time to go see Joe again, and see hidden cemeteries!