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Historic Criddle/Vane house burned to ground

The historic Big House at the Criddle/Vane Homestead provincial historic site burned to the ground Wednesday night. The 40-foot-by-40-foot house had eight bedrooms and was built in 1906.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

The historic Big House at the Criddle/Vane Homestead provincial historic site burned to the ground Wednesday night. The 40-foot-by-40-foot house had eight bedrooms and was built in 1906.

Police are scouring the site of a suspicious blaze that burned the historic Criddle/Vane home last night.

The historic ‘Big House’ at Criddle/Vane historic site burns to the ground Wednesday night.

Enlarge Image

The historic ‘Big House’ at Criddle/Vane historic site burns to the ground Wednesday night. (BLUE HILLS RCMP)

The Big House at the Criddle-Vane Homestead Provincial Park, seen in 2010.

Enlarge Image

The Big House at the Criddle-Vane Homestead Provincial Park, seen in 2010. (JAMES O'CONNOR / BRANDON SUN FILES)

Blue Hills RCMP were called to the site at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, where the big, historic home was found fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters from Wawanesa were unable to save the home, which was completely destroyed by the fire.

The Criddle Vane historic site, located about 12 kilometres south of Shilo, housed the first entomological field station in western Canada, built in 1917 for the cost of $50.

Norman Criddle, one of the homestead’s many tenants, was a pioneer in the field of entomology. The Criddles and Vanes, two families from England, settled the house 1882. The two families were known for their eccentric lifestyles.

The last family members left in 1960. In 1970, the Manitoba government acquired the homestead, which includes the family home, the field station, a cemetery, and remains of landscape features like a tennis court and golf course.

The eight-bedroom home that burned last night was built in 1906.

This is not the first time that the site has been hit by vandals. In 2012, five rural Brandon youths were nabbed by police after substantial damage was done to the property. It was damaged again earlier this year.

RCMP are asking that anyone with information contact the Blue Hills RCMP detachment at 204-726-7519, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, submit a secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com or text "TIPMAN" plus your message to CRIMES (274637).

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Having been involved with preserving historic places vandals are a never ending curse. One generation passes on and another steps up to take it's place. These ones will have to find a new place to vandalize say maybe their own bedrooms.

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