Look at this historical sign! Look at it!
I attended Kleefeld School from Kindergarten to Grade 9, and over that decade spent a fair bit of time at Kleefeld Park. This historical sign was always there, not far from a really cool log cabin. I remember one year I was at the Kleefeld Honey Festival with my family, I was probably pretty young, maybe 6 years old ish, and they were offering festival-goers a taste of honeycomb, right near that cabin. That honeycomb blew my mind, it was so delicious. Anyway, because I love food so very much, I never forgot that honeycomb near that old timey log cabin at Kleefeld Park. And near that log cabin had been horseshoe pitches and the above historical sign, denoting the historical significance of Kleefeld.
So, Andrew and I wanted to check out historical stuff, and I figured we should start modestly, by simply paying a visit to this historical sign. I hadn’t been back to Kleefeld Park for many years, and I certainly hadn’t really cared much about the historical sign when I was a kid. But things have changed, I’m an old adult now, so it was time to have another look!
I remember my grandpa and my dad standing there, reading the sign. I also think I have a picture somewhere around here of my brother and grandpa standing next to the sign, taken when we had a family gathering in that park. I wish I could find that photo so I could show you…but alas, I cannot find it at the moment.
But suffice it to say, that sign for sure used to stand at Kleefeld Park. Heck, the photo of it is even on Kleefeld’s Wikipedia page! (That’s where I got that photo from.)
Yep…I said “used to”.
Andrew and I were just there, and we could not find that sign ANYWHERE.
And then we drove down the church street, which I thought is where Gruenfeld was. (The original village of Kleefeld, from the 1870’s.) But I was obviously wrong, because the earliest dates in the church cemetery were from the 1940’s. So, we took a photo of the road from the windshield of the car and left it at that.
If you know what happened to Kleefeld’s historical sign, could you let me know?
(I need to get better at finding historical stuff.)
Oh and P.S., that cool old log cabin is gone now too. I’m sad about that.
Post-post script: In case you wanted to know what the sign used to say…here’s the text:
“Through negotiations with the Canadian government, 7000 Mennonites from the Russian Ukraine moved to Manitoba to safeguard their religion and village way of life. By 1885, this immigration totaled 9000. The first group arrived on board the river boat “International” on July 31, 1874. Four crudely constructed sheds near Niverville provided their first shelter. Later that year Gruenfeld became the first of 120 Mennonite Villages in 25 Townships east and west of the Red River. In spite of severe hardships the villagers prospered for their experience in Ukraine enabled them to overcome the difficulties of prairie agriculture. Their example was followed by those who came west during the Great Migration of 1896 to 1913.”