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Thursday, 5 May 2011

West Broadway: A neighbourhood history (Part 1)

Earlier this year, a friend bought the house at 146 Maryland Street and converted it into Level Hair and Spa. Researching the history of the house sent me on a historical chase back to the very beginnings of part of the West Broadway and Wolseley neighbourhoods.

This is one of a three part series:
Part 1: West Broadway's pre-history
Part 2 - A neighbourhood forms
Part 3 - Lives lived at 146 Maryland

City of Winnipeg and Parish of St. John ca 1882 (excerpt: source)

Prior to 1882 the land on which 146 Maryland Street (then known as Boundary Road) is located was just outside the City of Winnipeg boundaries and was part of the “Highwood Cottage” estate of James Mulligan.

Irish-born Mulligan was a career military who came West with the British military in 1848 – 49. After service, (he was likely retired out after losing an arm), he was given a river lot that stretched from the Assiniboine north to Broadway and included present day Furby and Maryland Streets.

Over time he bought up other land, notably south of the Assiniboine and eventually owned all of what is now Crescentwood and part of River Heights. In the mid 1860s he ran a ferry from the foot of Mulligan (Sherbrook(e)) Street to his southern property.

In 1867 Mulligan went back into service, this time as a police constable for the settlement of Red River. He eventually became chief constable, the last before Winnipeg became an incorporated city.

In December 1869 he was arrested with 47 others by Riel’s provisional government at
Dr. John Schultz' house and hauled off to what had been his jail for a period of ten weeks.

"Tragedy at Fort Garry" (Source)

It’s likely that he was a prison-mate of Thomas Scott when he was executed by Riel’s men on March 4, 1870. (For more on the arrest and execution of Scott).

By 1878 Mulligan was one of the largest property owners in the city and wanted to cash in on the crazy land speculation brought about by the coming of the CPR. In 1881 he subdivided some of his property into residential lots and created “Furby” Street. At the time the land barren with the exception of a few shanties of Aboriginal and Metis people who had been pushed to the edge of the city.

When the CPR came in 1882 the boundary of the city moved further west so Boundary Road needed a new name. Mulligan previously bought out the riverside mansion of
Hugh Sutherland (see above map) who was president of the Winnipeg and Hudson Bay Railway. The name of Sutherland’s estate house ? Maryland !

October 16, 1882, Winnipeg Daily Sun

Mulligan sold off most of his land holdings, including his own estate, and moved to a Portage Avenue address in 1882.

The 'Mulligan Street' name was changed soon after by the city. Still wanting to keep a “Mulligan“ reference they named it Sherbrook(e), the name of the unit of army pensioners of which James Mulligan was a member. (He was posted a number of years in the West Indies where Sir John Cope Sherbrooke was once colonel, so it is most likely that our Sherbrooke and MontrĂ©al's Sherbrooke commemorate the same man).

In 1885 Mulligan retired to Oshawa, Ontario where he died in 1891.

Also see:
Part 2 - A neighbourhood forms
Part 3 - Lives lived at 146 Maryland

Col. James Mulligan Speaks on an old but interesting subject Winnipeg Daily Sun May 30, 1885
The Rooming Houses of Furby Street Maunder, Burley
A Historical Walking Tour of Wolseley MB Historical Society

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