5009-50th Street, Mannville, Alberta, T0B, Canada
former Manville Trading Store
Links and documents
1935/01/01 to 1935/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Village Treasures, originally constructed as the Manville Trading Store, is a Municipal Historic Resource in the Village of Mannville (the community name has ocasionally been spelled with a single "n"). The property features a one-storey commercial building constructed of concrete block. The false-front structure with low gabled roof features an original tin ceiling and an exterior of concrete blocks crafted on site. It anchors the intersection of the south end of Main Street and Railway Avenue (50th), now having civic addresses 5009 - 50th Street.
The Manville Trading store is valued for its historic materials, particularly for its use of concrete blocks. The building was constructed between June and September 1935 and the concrete blocks were made on site by hand. A wooden mold was used to form three blocks at a time. The mold had a hole in its side to accommodate a metal rod which ran horizontally through the blocks. The mold was filled with a cement mixture, and then set aside to dry in the sun. When the blocks were dry, there remained a hole in each of them through which a metal rod was threaded, thus reinforcing the walls as they were built. The blocks have an interesting protruding design, which is unique to this building. The tin roof is also unique in that it was crimped in order to seal it, which would have required special knowledge and tools.
The Manville Trading Store is also valued for its association with Julius Spevakow. Mr. Spevakow built this building to house his general store. The store, carried everything from hardware supplies, clothing, groceries, canned goods, candy, and fabrics, as well as many other sundry items. While there were other general stores in Mannville, Mr. Spevakow catered specifically to the immigrant population, as he was proficient in more than five languages. Many customers did their business with Mr. Spevakow because he could speak their native tongue. During the depression, Mr. Spevakow bartered with his customers, and his wife was very generous in donating clothing to the poor. Edmonton Produce would come and purchase produce directly from the farmers. These farmers were given a chit (voucher), which they could then redeem at The Manville Trading Store. Mr. Spevakow would bring in clothing and groceries on consignment from Edmonton for his customers. The store became a common meeting place and source of supplies for many people in the surrounding area. The store's existence carried many local families through the depression and kept them in the area.
Sources: Trails to Mannville: A History of Mannville and District, Mannville and District Old Timer's Society, 1985. Verbal interviews with current owners, who collected some of their information from interviews with Mannville residents. Verbal interview with Robert Spevakow, son of Julius. Village of Mannville Bylaw No. 2009 - 758.
The heritage value of the Manville Trading Store resides in the following character-defining elements:
Those elements associated with the method of construction, such as:
- single-story massing;
- basic utilitarian form;
- the concrete blocks;
- the tin roof.
Those elements associated with Julius Spevakow, such as:
- elements of the building that express its historic function, including the "Robin Hood Flour" advertisement painted on the south exterior wall, framing for the original signage over the main entrance, and large display windows with recessed entrance and transom at the top];
- the large storefront windows.
Local Governments (AB)
Historical Resources Act
Municipal Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Village of Mannville P.O. Box 180 Mannville AB T0B 2W0
Cross-Reference to Collection