Gnadenthal: More Than Just A Cemetery!

I know next to nothing about Gnadenthal. BUT, I was able to find it on a map, and we were driving nearby, and that is precisely the reason we visited Gnadenthal this past August.

Andrew and I were trying to visit as many West Reserve villages as possible on this very quick visit, and driving through Gnadenthal felt like discovering a treasure. That’s because we’re really into housebarns. Check it:

Housebarns are exotic to East Reserve folks.

We parked here… not sure if this is a church or school…

But this is the reason we stopped here — a cemetery!

I appreciated this beautiful cottonwood tree at the cemetery’s edge.

And… right along the the edge of the cemetery was… a sod hut? It looks an awful lot like the sod hut at the Mennonite Heritage Museum, or the one at the Pembina Thresherman’s Museum.

We saw some more enticingly old buildings in the distance…

But now I must amend my poverty of knowledge about this village. When I read the Mennonite Historian and peruse its list of books for sale at the Mennonite Heritage Archives, I see there is a book detailing the history of this village. That’s impressive that they have a book, I would love to see it!

Thank goodness for GAMEO, though. Yep, Gnadenthal West Reserve has its own GAMEO entry. And guess what it says. Okay, I’ll tell you some of what it says. Interestingly, Gnadenthal was the most progressive of the West Reserve villages. This was demonstrated by its residents’ early adoption of modern technology such as televisions and electricity. And perhaps this was further proven by the presence of General Conference and Mennonite Brethren churches within the village, which were generally viewed as being more progressive denominations, having embraced education much earlier than others. Speaking of education, there was reportedly a public school with qualified Mennonite teachers. That must be where Andrew and I parked our car… by the cemetery? The building’s location near the cemetery made me think it might be a church.

But then there’s this school! “Grace Valley Mennonite Academy”, reads the sign. A private school, I’m assuming. I googled it, and discovered that its address is in Winkler. I figure maybe there’s more than one of these schools.

Also, now I know what “Gnadenthal” means: Grace Valley. I like that.