Hands down, 255 Hanover Street is one of Steinbach’s most beautiful Heritage Homes. Also known in local-history-nerd circles as stop number 9 on the Steinbach Heritage Walking Tour.
On the Steinbach Heritage Walking Tour map, there are 41 sites listed, but only 13 sites are marked with an asterisk which indicates the greatest heritage value. 255 Hanover bears one of these significant asterisks.
The Heritage Map states that this home was originally built in 1914, and occupied by the J.R. Friesen family located on Main Street next to J.R. Friesen Ford dealership (today, this is Fairway Ford).
What was Steinbach like in the 19-teens? I consulted the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve. Steinbach begun as a village of Mennonite settlers in 1874, intent on preserving their religion and way of life. The Church kinda ruled the roost for the first few decades as a sort of Corporate Village. This stage ended/faded around 1910-1912, as everyone wanted to live on their own land, and Steinbach fell into the jurisdiction of the RM of Hanover.
I consulted Preservings, and found an article entitled “J.R. Friesen House”, written by Ralph Friesen. The article notes: “Curlicue carved decorations were added to the gables, and left there despite the request of church elders, unhappy with this worldly display, that they be removed.” Indeed, the house was “a statement of magnificence and style, befitting one of the leading families of the community.”
It seems that before J.R. Friesen sold Fords, he had been selling International Implements beginning in 1905. International is a kind of tractor — I recognize this name from a tractor that we’d had on the farm I grew up on.
The home was moved to its present site in 1950, where it was briefly used as a nurse’s residence for the nursing home next door.
255 Hanover is not your average Steinbach bungalow, nor is it your average Steinbach-esque mansion-like new-build. This house is much, much different. I mean, you can’t build history. You can’t request that your new house is built to be a century old and filled with history. There’s only one thing that’ll check off that box — the passage of time. A heck of a lot of time.
I was excited to tour the house with Remax Agent Elma Friesen (no relation to J.R. & Maria). Possibly the most exciting part of the tour was, for me, seeing the attic. This attic is the stuff of dreams! Apparently they used to have parties up there. Fantastic!
There are some neat features in this home that you likely won’t find in many others.
The stuff of storybook dreams… it’s clearly filled with both character and care.
The Heritage Walking Tour Map states that the Friesen House was built in 1914… but every write-up I see on the Remax website states it was built in 1916. Well, either way, it’s over 100 years old, and it is magnificent.
And yes. There is currently a “For Sale” sign in front of it.
If you’d love a chance to entertain the thought of purchasing this storybook home in the midst of Steinbach, contact Real Estate Agent, Elma Friesen.
And no, you don’t need to be a Friesen to own this house. You don’t even need to be a Mennonite!