“Steinbach Then & Now” Historical Lecture, This Saturday at the MHV!

I can’t wait for this event!

For several reasons.

As I’ve been reading more and more local history books, publications, and papers, I’ve naturally also been reading more of Ralph Friesen’s writing. And I quite like it. He’s even-handed, realistic, and humourous. He’s done extensive research, and has found a lot of fascinating nuggets of information. For example, I recently came across his write-up on J.R. Friesen, who opened the first factory-built car dealership in Steinbach in 1914, in the midst of opposition from the church.

It’s stories like that, that makes me quite curious about his upcoming talk on revivalism in Steinbach. I’m assuming he means he will talk about how the religious beliefs of folks in this area became quite evangelical. (Mennonites were not traditionally evangelical, but rather this was a movement that came up from the South. Such is my thus far limited understanding of our local history…) I noticed that when Ralph shared this event on the Vintage Steinbach Facebook page, he added a comment inviting us to “come, throw tomatoes, ask barbed questions, or just be informed.”

That. Is. AWESOME!

I like that he’s hoping for some barbed questions to be hurled his way. I expect he will be disappointed if everyone simply sits there smiling and nodding. (Confession: I myself am prone to such behavior.)

Also! I’m looking forward to the slide show featuring early photographs of Steinbach. I’ve seen some of these photographs in Preservings — the pictures that Jacob Barkman captured in the 1920’s (ish?) are fascinating. I can’t see how those photos are the same town, like, at all. Except if Friesen Machine Works sneaks into a photo. Or Hanover Homestead. And, I don’t think I’ve seen any photos by Jacob’s father Walt — so this is an even more fascinating thought, Steinbach photographed at the turn of the 19th century! I’m looking forward to seeing these uncommon photos up on the big screen, with a skilled interpreter, taking us on a “guided tour of the past” of sorts.

And of course, I’m excited to hear Glen Klassen speak, because he is one of the two authors of the “Historical Atlas of the East Reserve”, a book that I’ve been clutching, paging frantically, and referring to as Andrew and I drive all over the place looking for evaporated village sites. That book has really ignited my imagination as to all the stories lying latent, dormant, all over this region. Of course, on October 20th Glen will be talking about the role of non-profits in Steinbach (I say “of course” because, well, it’s right there on the poster) — I’m looking forward to hearing what he’ll have to say. I anticipate some new information will be put forth, that I’ve never encountered before.

I don’t think I was at last year’s Local History Lecture (HOW DID I MISS IT???) but I remember the lecture from 2016… that’s the year that Andrew and I purchased our Historical Atlas!

So! This event will be at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, on Saturday October 20th, at 7:00 pm. And, it’s free. Mennos love free stuff!

(Above photo taken at the bulletin board at the entrance to the Economy Mall…or, “Steinbach Shopper’s Plaza”, as it is called today.)