A few 100-year old homes in Steinbach were purchased through the Eaton's catalogue between 1910 and 1932.
Royden Loewen says they purchased a mail-order home on Friesen Avenue in 1992, though it was first built in late 1917 for John and Elisabeth Goossen. He adds Elisabeth was the daughter of Abraham Friesen, the owner of the original Steinbach windmill.
Loewen notes in 1964 his parents-in-law, C. Wibert and Kae Loewen purchased the home from the Goossen estate, followed by Paul Hiebert in 1969, then it was owned by Don and Evelyn Thiessen before Loewen purchased the home in 1992.
"I think it was a way of the more progressive Steinbach folks to build houses fancier than the traditionalist Mennonite emphasis on simplicity might have allowed," says Loewen in regards to the Eaton's mail-order houses. "It was a very effective way of constructing a house. All the parts were precut and numbered and then everything, from chandeliers to the precise number of bags of cement, were put on one single railcar."
Loewen says there are a few aspects of the home which show it's 100-year old age. He notes these include:
- sunbeams breaking through the cut glass and refracting in rainbow colours throughout the living room
- window transoms above all the inside doors with handles and levers that open and close them
- lots of dark-stained hardwood throughout the home
- remnants of an old cistern in the basement
- swinging door between the kitchen and dining room
- old chandeliers in the home
- a little drainage line in the garage for draining coolant from the car
- an old chalkboard from John Goossen which he used in his land conveyancing office
Bev Friesen lives in the home of J.R. Friesen, the owner of Steinbach's first Ford dealership. Friesen says the home was first constructed on Main Street in 1916, moved to Hanover Street in the 1950's, and became her home in 1991. Since it was movd to Hanover Street, she says it was used as a nursing residence, rooming house, and split into a duplex.
"There are stain-glass windows, there are several chandeliers, there's the original staircase going up the stairs, and there are a few windows and doors original to the house."
Friesen says they have done cosmetic work to the house over the years including installing older-style, wider baseboards, and raising the ceilings back to the original ten feet.
She adds building homes this way was a very efficient way to construct homes. Both Friesen and Loewen say they can see homes being constructed by mail-order again in the future.
- Royden Loewen's home Royden Loewen's home
- Old chandelier in parlor room Old chandelier in parlor room
- Original hardwood floors and stair railing Original hardwood floors and stair railing
- Original doorknobs and locks Original doorknobs and locks
- Stain glass windows from 1916 Stain glass windows from 1916
- J.R. Friesen's house from 1916 J.R. Friesen's house from 1916