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Thursday, 23 December 2021

Farewell, Brunkild Hotel (1922 - 2021)

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Sadly, the circa 1922 Brunkild Hotel won't make it to see the century mark as it was demolished earlier this month.

The hotel was closed by health inspectors in late 2016 and fell into disrepair. According to commentary on Twitter, the pipes burst causing water damage to the building and an arson during a subsequent renovation attempt sealed its fate.

The Poersch's in 1967 (Nov 14, 1967, Winnipeg Free Press)

According to Hugging the Meridian, a community history book, the hotel was built in 1922. Prior to that, folks visiting the area could stay in one of a couple of rooms above the general store of William Poersch. Poersch was the founder of the community having settled many families from his native Prussia (Germany) in the region.

The first proprietor of the hotel was  Herman Karl Poersch and wife, Helena. Like William, his cousin,  Herman came to Canada from Germany as a young man. The couple married in 1907 in Morden and farmed in the district before coming to Brunkild.

The couple moved to Winnipeg in the 1950s. Helena died in 1976. Herman in 1977.

When war broke out, there were plenty of young farmers and farmhands in the Brunkild area who enlisted. One of them was Russell Terres Zdan whose parents, Peter and Millie Zdan, were proprietors of the Brunkild Hotel in the 1940s.

Zdan was a gunner with 428 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, when his plane was shot down in August 1943. He was listed as missing and later presumed dead. (For a longer bio of Zdan and more about his mission, see his International Bomber Command Centre Losses Database page.)

More images. (Also see my Brunkild and Brunkild Hotel Flickr album)

Brunkild Hotel, bottom right. (Source: unknown - perhaps an old postcard?)

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