The Hillcrest Museum, originally known as “Squire Hall”, was built in 1910 on the west bank of the Souris River. Commissioned by Fred and Maud Sowden, the son and daughter-in-law of Squire Sowden, this unique ‘prairie castle’ was meant to recall the castles of Maud’s childhood in England and India. The fortress like structure conveys an image of strength with its crenellated towers, imposing size and massive brick facades. The sophisticated design, conceived by local architect Carter Brindle is unique from the architectural landscape of the area.
The building features an etched glass entrance, ornate wooden grand staircase banister, unique stained-glass windows, pressed tin ceilings, original hardwood floors, and woodwork. Balconies located on the west side offer magnificent views of the Souris River and the Souris Swinging Bridge.
Further details regarding this important heritage property can be found on the Canada's Historic Places website.
Photo Credit: Katrina Spangler
Souris Swinging Bridge
The museum sits adjacent to the famous Souris Swinging Bridge, and this is no coincidence. The original swinging bridge was built in 1904 by Squire Sowden who wanted to improve access to town from his land on the east-side of the river in order to make it more attractive for potential buyers.
The current swinging bridge built in 2013 is much safer than the original bridge built so long ago, but the walk over the river is just as scenic now as it was then.
Additional History Information
The Museum contains wealth of information about the area and the artifacts in the museum. If you are interested in further information or research, there are a number of resources available, both physical and on-line.
Glenwood & Souris Regional Library - Included in their lending library is a section for Souris and area history
Brandon University Library - Located in Brandon, the university library offers online services
Daly House Museum - A Brandon museum that is also housed in a historic building.
Manitoba Archives - The Manitoba Archives are housed in Winnipeg. View their online services
Manitoba Information Archival Network - Hosted at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, this service accesses the Manitoba Archives and additional information from sources outside the Manitoba Archives.