Beautiful Plains County Court Building
Neepawa County Building
Hôtel de ville de Neepawa
Tribunal de Neepawa
Links and documents
1884/01/01 to 1884/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Beautiful Plains County Court Building is a two-storey brick structure constructed in 1884. Its elaborate facades and picturesque roofline sit in contrast to the stucco shops and services that surround it in Neepawa's business district. The provincial designation applies to the building and the grounds upon which it sits.
The Beautiful Plains County Court Building, one of only a handful of substantial public structures still existing in Manitoba from the 1880s, is the second-oldest court house in existence on the Prairies. A multi-purpose facility designed by C. Osborn Wickenden to accommodate legal and municipal functions, the building provides important physical connections to the early phases of the provincial government's attempts to administer justice over a growing population. The structure's sheer presence, achieved through use of materials and forms, conveys an image of strength and stability, reflecting the arrival of architectural style and sophistication to frontier settlements, as well as the optimistic ambitions of early settlers to the Beautiful Plains area.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, February 16, 1983
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Beautiful Plains County Court Building site include:
- the prominent mid-block location on Hamilton Street in Neepawa's business district, surrounded by well-groomed grounds featuring curved walkways, plantings, two war cenotaphs and an elaborate fountain
Key elements of the building's exterior Victorian-era detailing and institutional character include:
- the rectangular two-storey volume with a symmetrical front facade
- the complex roof form composed of broad multi-hipped and gabled portions
- the use of local materials, with ornamental stonework of limestone, buff brick from Portage la Prairie and foundation walls of local granite and gneiss boulders
- the projecting pedimented tower on the north elevation featuring scrolled brackets, corbelling, a wrought-iron balustrade supported by wooden corbels, a door with a transom recessed in a compound arch with prominent stone voussoirs, etc.
- various fenestration patterns, including paired round-arched and square-headed windows, a bull's eye window in the east gable end, etc.
- exterior surface treatment varied to distinguish each level, with the foundation in rusticated stone topped by a heavy band of limestone, the main floor with thick brick banding and the top level left plain
- the detailing, including east/west gable ends with decorative brick, bracketed eaves throughout, brick stringcourses circling the exterior, chimneys with highly decorative brick, prominent limestone sills, brick voussoirs with keystones, etc.
Key elements that define the building's internal heritage character include:
- the formal plan with all spaces accessed off a central hallway
- the well-lit courtroom on the second floor featuring a cove ceiling, an exposed beam ceiling and period moulding
- the functional elements, including three concrete vaults located in the centre of the main and basement levels
Province of Manitoba
Manitoba Historic Resources Act
Provincial Heritage Site
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
C. Osborn Wickenden
Location of Supporting Documentation
Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue Winnipeg Manitoba R3B 1N3
Cross-Reference to Collection