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Stone Fence Heritage Site

Stone fence

Stone Fence Heritage Site. photo source:

This solid Stone Fence, its roughly cut limestone walls up to 1.6 metres high and 40 centimetres wide, stretches along the east and south sides of the 100 block of 17th Street, a residential area near a main entrance to downtown Brandon.

With its high, thick walls of roughly cut limestone blocks in slightly varying shades and its carefully detailed construction, the Stone Fence is an enduring example of the stonemason’s craft.

Such extensive and substantial enclosures are rare in southwestern Manitoba and the century-old permanence of the fence stands in contrast to the newer homes it surrounds.

The fence also is noted for its association with prominent businessman Charles Whitehead, founder of the Brandon Sun who had the structure built around his 6,000-square-metre estate on what was then the outskirts of a booming frontier community.

Manitoba Heritage Branch

This block of land was originally subdivided into twenty equal-sized lots and made available for sale in 1882.

Ten years later, in 1892, local hardware merchant and former mayor James A. Smart purchased the four lots at the north end of the block and built a large house on the property.

He added a stable, a separate servants’ house, and a pool for his children.

In 1899, Smart sold the property to Charles Whitehead.

In 1900, Whitehead purchased the remaining sixteen lots from the various owners and hired a Scottish stone mason to construct the stone wall around the entire block.


This task took four years to complete. The property later passed on to Whitehead’s daughter, Margaret, who in turn passed it on to her son, John Mitchell.

In 1939, the lots south of the residence were sold and single family homes were constructed in the following years.

The fence now sits on property owned by seven different land owners.

Only a portion of the original stone fence remains along the east and south borders of the block, but it remains an attractive enhancement to the surrounding properties and a unique characteristic of the downtown area.

Heritage Brandon

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site’s heritage character as a local landmark include:

the extent, dimensions and location of the existing fence, some 500 metres in length, up to 1.6 metres high and 40 centimetres wide, with corners standing at 17th Street and Rosser Avenue, 17th Street and Princess Avenue, and 18th Street and Princess Avenue in Brandon.

Key elements that define the fence’s design and structural characteristics include:

the limestone masonry, with the body of the fence formed of squared rubble, the stones similar in texture and slightly varying in colour, capped by a band of uniform stones about 25 centimetres high; and with the corners of the fence carefully squared.

Key elements that define the fence’s connection to the former Whitehead estate include:
the pedestrian entrance in the northeast quarter that provided access to the original dwelling, its four concrete stairs bordered by pillars featuring alternate bands of red brick and rusticated sandstone capped by concrete and a vehicle entrance on the east side with pillars also in red brick, but showing less ornamentation.

Canada’s Historic Places



Jacket plaid collar Bromley's Menswear

S. Cohen Collection

Today’s Throwback

Original Grand Stand and Race Track Heritage Brandon

Original Grand Stand and Race Track

Brandon fairgrounds, circa 1910.

Source: Lawrence Stuckey collection, S.J. McKee Archives, Brandon University

photo courtesy of Heritage Brandon


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