Description of Historic Place
The two-storey Murphy Block, built of brick and stone in 1886 and later altered, is a mixed-use commercial structure in a densely developed part of Carberry's business centre, which also is a heritage district. The municipal designation applies to the building and its deep lot.
The Murphy Block, a solid, serviceable building, is one of Carberry's oldest business facilities, noted especially for the integrity of its early wood-and-glass storefront, a simple representation of a once-common type of commercial design, and for its association with some of the town's pioneer entrepreneurs. The modest-sized brick block, one of two adjacent outlets complementary in type, form and original exterior finishes built prior to 1900 by merchant Joseph R. Thompson, occupies a vital mid-row site on a signature streetscape in the designated Historic Downtown Carberry district. Through a succession of owners and occupants, including prominent Manitoba grain and livestock dealer G.B. Murphy, retailer and rancher W.G. Murphy and hardware merchants Richard Wilkie and Errol Berry, the structure has remained a local fixture, serving as a source of essential goods and services for the town and surrounding agricultural community.
Source: Town of Carberry By-law No. 5/2006, June 12, 2007
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Murphy Block site and its contribution to Historic Downtown Carberry include:
- the mid-block location on the west side of Main Street between Third and Fourth avenues, a streetscape filled mostly with mixed-use commercial structures of similar age and character;
- the building's placement, abutting the front sidewalk and adjacent structures;
- the building's physical, visual and historical relationships with other designated sites, including the Nelson Butt Building to the north.
Key exterior elements that define the building's fine early commercial character include:
- the basic two-storey rectangular form, including the flat roofline, solid brick walls and foundation of rubble-stone and brick;
- the simple wood-and-glass storefront (east facade), including the offset and recessed double doors with long, narrow lights, early hardware and a transom, the large, transomed display windows that face the street and angle inward to the entrance, etc.;
- the additional facade elements, including the south-side stairwell doorway with a high transom, the two second-floor window openings, the corner brick pilasters with raised and modestly detailed capitals, etc.;
- the rear openings, including the main- and upper-floor doorways, segmental-arched upper window head
- details such as the red finish brick, wood trim, stepped side parapets, tall brick north chimney, etc.
Key elements that define the building's interior heritage character include:
- the main-floor plan, including the well-lit front display areas, the side basement stairwell, etc.
- the south-side staircase to the second-floor hallway and rooms;
- the plain materials, finishes and other details, including lath-and-plaster walls, wood flooring, a section of board ceiling, a heavy iron main-floor vault, the upper-storey skylight and high doorway transoms, the basement's exposed stone and brick walls and wooden post-and-beam support system, etc.