Sperling Grain Elevator
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Ancestors' day...

Come to Sperling on the first Saturday in every June.

Go out to the cemetery anytime for your annual Ancestors' Day visit.

  • Check out and tidy up the family plot.
  • Reminisce with your friends, ancestors, and Sperling's departed.

Please pass on the word to family and friends!

About Sperling

Sperling is a small Manitoba farming community, located about 60 kilometers southwest of Winnipeg, Canada. Small in size, but big in spirit - a community that our native sons and daughters are proud to consider their hometown.

Today, Sperling is a little dot on the map – along Highway #3, where the road turns to go straight west toward Carman. If you're driving, it's easy to miss it, as the highway skirts around to the south.

If you do follow the signs off the highway, you will find a collection of houses on a little grid of streets on either side of the railroad tracks. You won't find a restaurant, a store, or a service station today, although Sperling had many of these in the past.

You'll see some evidence of commerce...

Sperling Industries (a manufacturing and contracting business), an auto-body shop, one grain elevator, and an art studio in the former United Church.  The center of activity during the day is the post office, operated by postmistress Suzanne Schroeder – stop in to say hello and she may be able to answer any questions you have. On some evenings there will be activity in the combined arena and community center.  In the winter there will be skating and curling, and most Thursdays are bingo evenings.

The former Catholic church (once the original Waddell schoolhouse built in 1897) is home to the Golden Corner, a gathering place for seniors and also the home of a good deal of historical material. The consolidated school, a striking red brick building that stood from 1924 to 2006 at the south end of Main Street, was demolished in the spring of 2006. There were plans to use the bricks to build a picnic shelter in the schoolyard.

Some 50 houses in the community are home to about a hundred residents...

Some of these are retired folks, some are commuters to Winnipeg or Carman, and some work in the local economy. The children in these families attend school in Carman, 20 kilometers to the west.

It's a quiet place, folks are friendly, and most will say it's a pleasant place to live.  Water and sewer services were installed around 2000.  The local community club is active, keeping the arena going, putting on an annual curling bonspiel, organizing a family softball tournament in the summer, and staging occasional dinners and social evenings in the community center.

It's probably most accurate to use the term "community" in referring to Sperling.  Strictly speaking it is neither a town nor a village, but rather is just a "settlement" within the Rural Municipality of Morris.  The location is Section 29, Township 6, Range 2 West. For GPS fans, the coordinates are roughly 49° 30.5' N by 97° 42.3' W.

Three kilometers to the northwest is the cemetery...

Resting place of the pioneers and residents since 1906. The cemetery is a peaceful, cared-for area – and there are family members visiting regularly, at any time of year.  Plans are in place to set the first Saturday in June as "Ancestor's Day", when folks will visit the cemetery to reminisce and do some maintenance.

The surrounding area is fertile farmland...

Oh so flat, like the rest of the Red River Valley. There are fewer farm sites every year, as larger farms have become the norm, and the number of rural families in the district has shrunk to a few dozens.  But they are still Sperling folks; they get their mail in Sperling, and are a major part of the community.

Reunions

For many people, Sperling isn't so much about today as it is about its history.  People who grew up in the community, attended school there, worshipped in its churches, participated in community events and sports, worked in or patronized local businesses, visited friends and family – all these people seem to have very fond memories of Sperling.

A small population of between one and two hundred people has staged reunion events that have attracted five hundred or more.  Reunions have been organized quite often – in 1970, 1987, 2001, 2005 – and the spirit is quite amazing.  There are former Sperling people all across the country, and also south of the border, and it's commonplace to run into folks in any town or city who have ties to Sperling.

So, what about the history of Sperling?