In 1909 the Canadian Pacific Railway initiated the “Ready Made” farm initiative. Click here and see Page 12 and here to learn more about Ready Made farms. The Simpson family purchased their property, SE 03-42-12 W4, under this program in 1914. The barn on the property was not constructed until ten years later, in 1924, by Harry Simpson. Some residents in the area view the Simpson Barn as a local landmark. It lies east of “Simpsons’ Corner”, which was a well-developed shopping center for locals in the early 1900s. For more information on the Simpsons’ Corner scroll down to the bottom of this page.
The barn on the SE 03-42-12 W4 is valuable due to some key architectural characteristics. These characteristics and the life history of the barn are why the barn was designated a Municipal Historic Resource in 2016. The barn’s gambrel shaped roof has a double slope. This creates a larger capacity in the hay loft without increasing the height of the barn’s side walls. This type of roof reached the height of its popularity in the early 1900s. The gambrel roof on the Simpson Barn is further supported by a brace rafter frame. The barn was built using frame construction through platform framing. As well, the L shaped plan of this barn is very unique. Many who know the barn say they have never seen another barn shaped like an L.
The Simpsons used the barn from 1924 until the 1980s for their mixed farm. They had dairy cattle, pigs, horses, and chickens at various points and in varying numbers. The east-west-running part of the barn (the main barn) used to be a granary for a time. Currently the barn acts as a storage shed for feed and other equipment.
Simpson, Vernon. Personal communication. 12 Jul. 2016.
52.580034, -111.639674 SE 03-42-12 W4
Barn Condition: Good
Construction Date: 1924
Features: Three wooden cupolas and weather vanes
Roof Shape: Gambrel
Paint: Red with white trim
Decorations: No names or dates
Roof Covering: Cedar shingles
Siding: Wooden shiplap
Foundation: Field stone with cement
Additional Information On the Property
“The Simpson Families and Simpson’s Corner”
“The Simpson Families and Simpson’s Corner”. As the Wheel Turns: A History of Merna and District. 1st ed. Sedgewick: The Community Press, 1971. Print.
The Simpson Barn is an outcrop of the real center of life in the Merna area – Simpsons’ Corner.
In 1882 Mr. and Mrs. George Simpson came to Winnipeg from England. They settled on NW 34-41-12 W4 in the Merna area of Alberta in 1914 after previously moving to Saskatchewan and Vancouver. Their five sons, Jim, Albert, Harry, Percy, and John, also came and made their homes nearby. Their sole daughter remained in England. Jim, Harry, and John Simpson started business near their father’s home and formed what would later be called Simpsons’ Corner.