Niverville Area History

Niverville was named after Chevalier Joseph Claude Boucher de Niverville, an officer of the company of Legardeur de St.Pierre, who succeeded LaVerendry in charge of the Western Posts. Niverville was the first Mennonite settlement in Manitoba. From the new community, the original Mennonite settlers branched out and spread to the many communities they settled throughout the province.

Niverville was also the home of the first fully operational grain elevator in Western Canada. Constructed in 1878, the new facility began a boom of construction that saw thousands of elevators constructed across the prairies. For decades, these elevators were the hubs of economic activity for many prairie communities. A German diplomat, the Honourable William Hespler, provided financing for this first elevator. The Niverville elevator was also the supplier of the first western Canadian Barley ever shipped to overseas markets.

Niverville Historical Grain Elevator

The hardiness and determination of the early Mennonite settlers, coming from a harsh environment in Russia, ensured that this unforgiving land would be transformed into a place from which livelihoods could be wrested, albeit at considerable effort and cost. In later years, these generous settlers sent grain in relief to others suffering famine in Russia.

One odd piece of Niverville history is the Rock Festival which took place in the summer of 1970 on an abandoned farm 1.5 miles east of the junction of highways 59 and 305. Widely publicized, it attracted approximately 12,000 young folks, mainly from Winnipeg, to hear a variety of rock and folk bands. Having nowhere to park save a summerfallowed field and some dirt roads, everything turned into a sea of mud when a sudden thunderstorm struck, cutting the festival short. Not wishing to lose the opportunity, many festival patrons shed all clothing (including underwear) and splashed around in the rain and mud while waiting for any one of several local Mennonite farmers who cashed in on the opportunity, charging $5 apiece to tow cars back to the pavement of Highway 59.

Old Niverville School