We Were Unable To Find Burwalde’s Cemetery

(Feature photo: where Burwalde used to be. I guess. Andrew took this photo from inside the car. I’m sorry for the bug guts on the windshield!)

Okay! Our first foray into endeavoring to find long-evaporated village sites in the East Reserve began with Burwalde.

When the migration to the West Reserve occurred from 1877 to 1883 (this is all from the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve, btw), younger couples moved into the empty lots. But then it seems another migration saw many of those families moving west, just in time for new Mennonite immigrants from Russia arrived in the 1920’s. This is a time that Burwalde was more lively, it was a bit of a service centre, and I do believe this is the time frame in which Andrew’s grandma lived here as a girl. That’s the reason we began with Burwalde — we figured, let’s go see where grandma grew up!

The Atlas features a very enticing photo of a gravestone that declares “BURWALDE”, and the cemetery is listed as public. But this is what happened when we went there: nothing. We drove slowly up and down that road, and could not see any evidence of this public cemetery.

On the bright side, you can see the Burwalde church today, in Steinbach — it’s part of the current United Church, which is on Main Street!

As for the local school, it was called Carruthers, and it was built around 1930, located at the southern end of Burwalde (the village ran north-south, right along today’s roadway). When the school closed in 1968, it was moved off-site and found a home in Grunthal Park. Ha! I remember that building! I was very interested in it… I guess I always liked old things, or was curious about old buildings anyway. (Sadly, the building burned down in 2009…but you can still see it in the background in one of the photos on the Grunthal Centennial Park’s website).

I don’t know, maybe this building is something old from the time when Burwalde was a flourishing village. Or not. I took this photo from the road so it’s not very clear:

I think we’re not very good at finding cemeteries. But I think we’re going to get better. We just need to hone our skills!