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Speer House

Springfield, Manitoba, R0E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/04/14

Primary elevations, from the southeast, of the Speer House, Oakbank area, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Primary Elevations
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Other Name(s)

Speer House
John Speer Family Farm
John Speer House
Ferme de la famille John Speer
Maison John Speer

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1882/01/01 to 1882/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/05/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Speer House, constructed in 1882, is a wood-frame pioneer farmhouse in the Oakbank area. Hidden from view by a cloak of mature trees, it lies at the end of a winding driveway that separates the site from a country road dotted with rural residences and farms. The municipal designation applies to the two-storey house and the land on which it sits.

Heritage Value

The Speer House, with its use of local materials and construction methods, is an excellent example of the type of wood-frame farmhouses established in rural Manitoba in the early 1880s. It was built by Ontario emigrant John Speer and his family, early homesteaders in the Springfield district. Speer was one of 12 farmers who contributed grain to the first export shipment of wheat from Winnipeg in October 1876, an event that marked Manitoba's ascent as a major player in the emerging prairie grain industry. Identified by the Manitoba Historical Society as a `Century Farm,' the Speer House has been continuously occupied by the builder's descendents since its construction.

Source: Rural Municipality of Springfield By-law No. 98-07, April 14, 1998

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site's heritage character include:
- the privacy and shelter provided to the farmyard by an enveloping stand of deciduous trees and a treed berm on the eastern limits
- the siting of the farmhouse, facing the approach to the south and in close proximity to the barn and sheds to the east

Key elements that define the house's external pioneer heritage as constructed by John Speer include:
- the L-shaped plan with sizeable proportions, rising to a maximum height of two storeys with gable and shed roofs of varying heights, one brick chimney in each gable and one in the summer kitchen
- the use of locally milled lumber and local craftsmanship as seen in the balloon framing, clapboard siding, double-hung clear glass windows, basement constructed of local limestone set in mortar, etc.
- the screened-in verandah spanning the south facade

Key elements that define the house's intact interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the spacious, formally planned layout, brightly lit with a series of connected rooms, including an entrance hall adjoining the parlour and dining room, a summer kitchen and a separate rear staircase to the second floor
- the original finishes, including linoleum and some wallpaper in the entry hall, period woodwork in the finely finished hardwood banister on the main staircase, period door and window mouldings and hardware, wainscotting in the kitchen, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Food Supply
Farm or Ranch

Architect / Designer



John Speer

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Springfield 628 Main Street Box 219 Oakbank MB R0E 1J0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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