This whole idea that there were all kinds of tiny Mennonite villages scattered all over this area in the late 1800’s is still news to me; it still fascinates me. Also, I love having the chance to get out into the bush and roam around a bit. That’s the farm-girl in me, I guess. So, when I learned that the Seine-Rat River Conservation District had transformed the site of one of the original villages into a nature park, I was determined to visit.
The SRRCD website alludes to “the presence of artifacts”…which only serves to further entice me. I wish I could discover some artifacts!
It’s only a five-minute drive from my house…so why did it take me so long to get there? I guess it’s easy to overlook what’s right in front of you. Sometimes it’s very hard to pay attention to the things closest to you.
So, what’s Rosenthal’s story? I consulted the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve. Of course. I learned that there were many homestead applications filed in 1874, and that by 1876 there were at least 26 families living there — a pretty large village for the early days of the East Reserve. By 1887, only two families remained; the rest had all left the stony E.R. to settle in the fertile West Reserve. Apparently there had been a school in Rosenthal…which by 1879 no longer was reporting any students. The Atlas also suggests there’s a cemetery there, somewhere. This is ridiculously intriguing to me.
Everywhere I looked, I envisioned pioneering Mennonites and their structures. Is it just my imagination, or had there been a trail here?
Prolific poison ivy plants prevented us from venturing into the bush to investigate…this time.
I was lucky enough to get to hang out with nieces and nephew for this adventure.
Photogenic foliage caught my eye.
Rosenthal Nature Park is a lovely addition to other public spaces provided by the SRRCD. I look forward to future visits!