GERWING  - House

The following article appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper in about 1978 or 79. It was written by Earl Fowler. 


Lake Lenore Residents Preserve Area Home

 Lake Lenore - Across the road from St. Anthony's Catholic Church  adjacent to a beautiful grotto commemorating Lake Lenore residents who fought in both world wars, is the house that Bernard Gerwing built.

When he built the two-storey, two room cabin in 1903 as the first house in the Lake Lenore area, Gerwing had no idea it would be recognized in 1979 as an official heritage site by the Saskatchewan government. The Province wasn't created until 1905.

But the well made residence was awarded this distinction in early November,  thanks to the efforts of many of the 400 people in this village 190 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

Sign tells visitors of the significance of the Gerwing House

 The house was moved from its original site about  half a kilometre west of Lake Lenore in 1977, and restored to its original state in 1978 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Roman Catholic diocese of Muenster, which includes Lake Lenore.

 This year a celebration was held to mark the 75th  anniversary of St. Anthony's parish, and the shingled  steeple of Lake Lenore's first church has been erected next to the Gerwing residence as a further reminder of the community's heritage.  

Most of the work in restoring the home was done by three Lake Lenore residents - Albert Kolbeck, Math Forster, and Tony Britz. The three did some shingling, replaced some logs and did a nice job of refinishing the place, but in the main they were most impressed with the workmanship that went into the original structure.  

They purposely left part of a wall bare to demonstrate how willow laths cut and shaped by Gerwing and his brothers furnished the home's interior for plastering. All of their labor was volunteered, as were donations of time and furniture by other residents, service clubs and church groups.  

Unplastered section of wall shows
willow and poplar laths cemented 
by mud.

A pioneer wood burning stove, numerous period household items and tools, and some religious artifacts sparsely decorate an authentic looking interior. Kolbeck said about $3700 has been spent on moving and fixing up the house, and the province is committed to picking up about 60% of the tab under its heritage site assistance program.  

Fred Riederer, whose mother Agnes, was married to Gerwing and was the first white woman in the area, said 13 people spent the winter of 1903-1904 in the home. Because it was the only home in the area, travelers were welcome.  

Stove, implements donated
 by the community

The following spring saw more people coming to homestead, many of them from Minnesota like Gerwing. Rev. Joseph Ackerman of St. Anthony's parish said the first mass in the area was celebrated in the Gerwing house in 1904, and the first Lake Lenore church was built shortly after.

Gerwing died around 1906, and Reiderer's late mother married his father shortly after. The pioneer house was vacated for good about 1916 0r 1917.

The Lake Lenore townsite moved from an area half a kilometer north of the present community in 1920 when the railway come through to the south. Reiderer's father eventually built a house a short distance from the original Gerwing residence, and the son currently lives in a new house near the same site.

Photos by Pat Gerwing



Home Page - Gerwing Family Tree