History – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Clothier Hotel, 9 Water Street, Oxford Mills http://www.ngtimes.ca/clothier-hotel-9-water-street-oxford-mills/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/clothier-hotel-9-water-street-oxford-mills/#comments Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10541 Here is a building that no-one but older residents from Oxford Mills will recognise. It was constructed c 1835 of timber frame and served as a hotel until 1914.  It had a 2nd storey balcony and 1st storey veranda both of which ran the length of the front facade. It was built by Asa Clothier […]

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Here is a building that no-one but older residents from Oxford Mills will recognise. It was constructed c 1835 of timber frame and served as a hotel until 1914.  It had a 2nd storey balcony and 1st storey veranda both of which ran the length of the front facade. It was built by Asa Clothier and was owned by numerous individuals, many of whom also used the property for other businesses, such as shoemaking, over the years. The last hotel keeper was Thomas Warren, who left here and moved to Kemptville, where he ran the White House on the corner of Clothier and Prescott Streets for many years. It was sold to the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 72 in 1915.  The Lodge and Regalia rooms were on the 2nd floor and there was a large hall on the ground floor that saw many community dances, masquerades and dinners. The Hall had its own Band, which played here regularly. From its days as a hotel, there were horse sheds and stables between the Hall and the river. But the old building, with its wood frame construction, was not necessarily the most comfortable place. It took five wood stoves to keep the interior warm.

The Lodge had as many as seventy members at one time. The Lodge ‘went into darkness’ in the 1970s and the library operated from the first floor. The building was owned by Harold and Bernie Patterson for many years, from which they operated their electrical and plumbing business, before it was bought by Gerry and Debbie VanGurp. They transformed the building into Olde Porch Primitives, and it is completely unrecognisable from the old hotel. It is now preserved for another century through their work.

In the original plan for the Village of Oxford Mills, a road allowance ran to the north of this property, from Water Street to the river bank. By Street, as it was to be called, remains an unopened road allowance today, and is marked by the Canada Post post boxes standing on that side of the road.

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Ferguson Forest Centre Saved http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-forest-centre-saved/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-forest-centre-saved/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:15:09 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10464 The recent news that the Ferguson Forest Centre was threatened with closure reminded everyone how important an asset it is to this community. But this was not the first time the FFC nearly closed forever. As we mark the anniversary of amalgamations and the Common Sense Revolution of the Mike Harris Government, it’s timely also […]

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The recent news that the Ferguson Forest Centre was threatened with closure reminded everyone how important an asset it is to this community. But this was not the first time the FFC nearly closed forever. As we mark the anniversary of amalgamations and the Common Sense Revolution of the Mike Harris Government, it’s timely also to remember the events of the 1990’s and the FFC.

The announcement, when it came, was like a bolt from the blue, bringing shock and dismay to the residents of North Grenville. Of course, North Grenville didn’t yet exist, for this was October, 1995, and the Ontario Government had released their first targets for closures and cuts under the Mike Harris “Common Sense Revolution”. The G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station, covering 1,100 acres in Oxford on Rideau Township, immediately north of the Town of Kemptville, was scheduled for closure by June of the next year.

The Forest Centre had been opened in 1945, when the Province bought the old Moore farm to establish both a mixed forest for lumber and other specialist work, and, most centrally, a tree seedling nursery to produce stock for reforestation efforts in Eastern Ontario. It had been found that much of the land in the region was susceptible to devastating loss of top soil once trees were removed by farmers. Areas such as the one now covered by Limerick Forest, soon became unable to sustain farms and settlement. Other places actually became sandy deserts, as the tree cover was removed. The role of the Forest Station in Kemptville was vital in reforestation, because, as one expert put it: “Indigenous species must be grown in the proper time zone and soil conditions. Seedlings from other areas are not satisfactory and do not grow well. The difference from one area to another is highly significant.”

In addition, the closure of the Ferguson Station would mean loss of jobs and a precious asset to the Oxford-on-Rideau Township area. It all seemed so unnecessary to local residents, workers and staff at the Station, local politicians and the forestry industry. Why shut down such a valuable resource. The Ministry of Natural Resources [MNR], who operated the Station, pointed to the one million dollars they lost every year at the Station. There were serious questions in the community about the efficiency of MNR operations, however. The Government were charging ten cents per tree to buyers, when it was calculated that the market would easily pay three times that amount.

The community mobilised and a Community Consortium was formed, representing the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, Oxford Township politicians, forestry companies and the local residents, to draw up a business plan to present to the Province. But meetings with the Minister in charge, and correspondence with the Premier’s office seemed to produce no response. No matter how viable the Consortium’s business plan was, the Province seemed determined to push through with the closure of the Station. Only strong representations from MPP’s and Oxford Council delayed the removal of equipment from the Station. But the MNR’s plan was to sell off all the two and three-year old trees and plough the rest of the twelve million seedlings into the ground. As it takes three years for seedlings to become available for harvesting, this would leave any potential buyer of the Station with no crop for three years after purchase. Clearly, the Province was not interested in maintaining the Station as a tree nursery, regardless of the essential role it played in reforestation of eastern Ontario.

Once again, the community mobilised. Urgent representations were being made to Oxford-on-Rideau politicians, and, in March, 1996, the Oxford Council wrote to the MNR about buying the Station at a minimal cost. The Station closed, as planned, in June, 1996, and the MNR started the process of selling the property. A public meeting was called at the North Grenville District High School to put pressure on the Government and inform the public. But, although more than seven hundred people had signed a petition supporting the Consortium’s efforts, only about seventy turned up for the meeting. What was worse, of the nine guest speakers booked to appear, five dropped out and another one arrived but refused to speak to the meeting. It seemed that the commercial sector was losing interest in the issue. Fortunately, it was decided at the meeting that night that volunteers would be asked to come to the Station and weed and irrigate the three million seedlings in order to save the crop for at least another year.

The Province now had to dispose of the property, and under Ontario law, the right of first refusal went to the Oxford Township. In July, MNR asked Oxford if they were interested. Oxford Reeve, Don Cameron and Councillor Owen Fitz’gerald argued in favour of Oxford expressing an interest in the purchase and Council agreed unanimously with this approach. Don Cameron informed MNR of Council’s decision and added a very significant statement. Oxford would not be changing the zoning on the land, no matter who bought it. It would remain agricultural land. This would obviously make the property harder to dispose of and limit MNR’s choices in the matter. This stand may well have saved the Station.

Weeding and irrigation continued to be provided by volunteers, organised by the Consortium. Local people came to help, as did people from Ottawa and surrounding areas. Buses of Mohawks arrived from Akwesasne to help in the work, and the extent of the voluntary effort must have come as a great source of encouragement to those working to save the Station. Ontario now decided it only wanted to sell about 360 acres of the Station, the part that was cultivated. 1997 arrived without any resolution to the issue. Ontario was asking Oxford Township to pay $1.2 million for the 360 acre package (including equipment, buildings and crops). Oxford still wanted all 1,100 acres but by May, the Township had accepted that only the 360 acres were available. They made an offer of $525,000 for the land, buildings, equipment and crops, and repeated the veiled threat that the land would never be rezoned by the township.

By August, 1997, an agreement was reached between Oxford Township and the MNR, and the Township set up an Advisory Board, a group of volunteers who would oversee the newly-acquired Station and try and build a solid economic foundation for future growth. Previous customers of the Forest Station committed to buying trees from the new facility and by January, 1998, half a million trees had already been sold, about half of the available stock for that year. The Township of North Grenville, in one of its first acts, agreed to hire a Manager to take over the day-to-day operation of the facility, and with the arrival of Ed Patchell, still working there today, a new era had arrived for the Station and a tremendous asset had been acquired by the new municipality. It would take a long time to get things on a secure footing. But as the headline said in March, 1998: the “Forest Station was Back in Business Again”.

We can only hope for a similar outcome this time.

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It was 20 years ago today… http://www.ngtimes.ca/20-years-ago-today/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/20-years-ago-today/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:50:33 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10386 Societies have always seen natural phenomena as portents, signs of good or ill, marking some major historic event. If that’s the case, then the coming into being of the Township of North Grenville (as it was called until 2003) had a most impressive event to mark its arrival on the scene. The Ice Storm of […]

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Societies have always seen natural phenomena as portents, signs of good or ill, marking some major historic event. If that’s the case, then the coming into being of the Township of North Grenville (as it was called until 2003) had a most impressive event to mark its arrival on the scene. The Ice Storm of 1998 began twenty years ago, January 4, 1998, and was one of the most serious natural disasters in Canadian History.

The story of how the Townships of Oxford-on-Rideau and South Gower were amalgamated with the Town of Kemptville on January 1, 1998 is one that will be told in this paper over the coming weeks. But the gathering of the very first meeting of the new Municipal Council of North Grenville was somewhat overshadowed by the enormity of the Ice Storm itself. In just one week that January, more than twice as much ice pellets and freezing rain arrived in our area than would normally fall in an entire year. The loss of electricity was felt right across Eastern Ontario and as far east as Montreal.

Those of us living in North Grenville at the time were among the one and a half million Canadians who found themselves in the cold and dark at the worst time of the year. Many can remember having to bed down in the W. B. George Centre for at least a few nights. For a brand new Township Council, this was a real baptism of ice, and it was long days and even weeks before people could begin to return to a normal life again.

There is to be a special gathering on Sunday, January 14, at St John’s United Church in Kemptville to share memories, mementoes and stories of those amazing weeks twenty years ago. Beginning at 2.30 pm, there will be a talk by Don Cameron, the first Mayor of the new Township of North Grenville, who was faced with the challenge of dealing with the Ice Storm in his very first days under the new amalgamation scheme. Everyone is invited to come by for an afternoon of chat and memories.

It was twenty years ago today, as someone wrote, and it is hard to believe that the years have gone by so quickly. Twenty years of North Grenville. We were part, albeit without being asked, of one of the biggest social and political changes to hit Ontario since Confederation. Between 1996 and 2001, the number of municipalities in the province dropped from 850 to 444. Communities, like South Gower, which had existed since 1799, became absorbed into the new body. The Town Hall in Oxford Mills, which had been the capital of Oxford-on-Rideau since 1857, was no longer the social centre it had been for 140 years.

This year of 2018 is an anniversary one for North Grenville and its people, but it is one that not everybody will celebrate. Perhaps it is to be expected that old loyalties and identities take time to adapt and change to new circumstances, and the manner in which amalgamation was imposed on the people of the three older municipalities did not help to create a strong new identity. But we are still here, and still adapting. The Ice Storm and the creation of North Grenville will be forever intimately connected in the minds of those who were here at the time. The storm of the Century was an impressive portent for the new Township. The effects of both are still with us.

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Throwback Thursday: Oxford Station Cheese Factory http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 17:43:01 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10380 At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm […]

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At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm families during the May to November cheese-making season.

In 1904, there were twenty-six cheese factories sending their product to the Kemptville Cheese Board for sale. Each cheese weighed around 90 pounds, and the Oxford Station factory supplied 60 cheeses in one week in June, 1904. This was small in comparison with the total of 2,139 sold through the Kemptville Board that week, but its output increased enormously over the years, eventually reaching 20,000 boxes a year in the 1930’s.

The Oxford Station factory was built in 1899 by James Sanderson, a man of great vision and energy, who built the first refrigerated storage facility in Eastern Ontario. James Sanderson served on the Oxford-on-Rideau Council, was Warden of the United Counties, and was M.P.P. for the riding for thirty years, between 1907 and 1937. The Sanderson family operated the cheese factory until it burned down in 1963.

Cheese was an important export item for Canada, reaching a peak level in 1904, when 234 million pounds of cheese was exported to Great Britain, that was 95% of all the cheese imported by Britain that year. But, aside from increases during the two world wars, exports of cheese declined steadily after that. Public demand for liquid milk drew supplies away from cheese-making in the small community factories, and the introduction of large, automated facilities made the local cheese factory less and less economically viable.

But for generations of people in North Grenville and beyond, the daily run to the cheese factory was both an economic and a social occasion, and there are still a number of these buildings dotted around the municipality, reminders of a long-gone era.

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Throwback Thursdays – Prescott Street at Asa http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursdays-prescott-street-asa/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursdays-prescott-street-asa/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:30:53 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10271 Two photos for the price of one! This is the corner where the old Scotia Bank building stands today, across the road from Geronimo Coffee House and the old Red and White Store. As can be seen in the lower picture, Scotiabank was once located in the older building, before crossing the street. The large […]

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Two photos for the price of one! This is the corner where the old Scotia Bank building stands today, across the road from Geronimo Coffee House and the old Red and White Store. As can be seen in the lower picture, Scotiabank was once located in the older building, before crossing the street. The large building on the right was the McPherson Hotel, which burned down on New Year’s Eve, 1939, having been a major feature of the town since the mid-1870’s. It was a busier street in those days, with wooden sidewalks and an unpaved thoroughfare. Note, too, that all the men in the picture were wearing hats. Absolutely required back then! These photographs bring home clearly how much has changed over the decades.

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Kemptville College – Early 1920’s http://www.ngtimes.ca/kemptville-college-early-1920s/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/kemptville-college-early-1920s/#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:37:55 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10142 The photograph shows two buildings that formed the core of Kemptville College in its early years. In the background is the renovated farmhouse of the Murphy farm, and the original Gym and Judging Pavilion is in the front. Kemptville College was established as Kemptville Agricultural School in 1917, with an investment by the Ontario Government […]

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The photograph shows two buildings that formed the core of Kemptville College in its early years. In the background is the renovated farmhouse of the Murphy farm, and the original Gym and Judging Pavilion is in the front. Kemptville College was established as Kemptville Agricultural School in 1917, with an investment by the Ontario Government of $50,000. The School’s existence in Kemptville owed much to the influence of a local resident with a position within that government.

On September 21, 1916, the Kemptville Agricultural Society were holding their Annual Fair. The guest of honour was the Honourable G. Howard Ferguson, Ontario’s Minister of Lands, Forest and Mines and local boy made good. The country was in the middle of World War 1, and the area needed some good news, which Ferguson was happy to provide. Stealing the thunder of the Minister for Agriculture, whose announcement it should have been, Ferguson revealed that the Ontario Government would be establishing “a two-year course in Agriculture and Domestic Science in the Village of Kemptville”. As an ex-Reeve of the Village, and coming from a family with deep roots in the community, it is, perhaps, only fair that Ferguson got to break the good news.

But it would take some time to get the courses operating. First of all, land had to be found, and two farms were bought in 1916 from Thomas Murphy and Alex Armstrong, one on either side of the Ottawa-Prescott Highway (now CR 44) in Concession 4 of Oxford-on-Rideau Township. Over the years, the College would purchase other parcels of land. The house on the Murphy farm had been built by an earlier owner, Thomas McCargar, in the 1840’s and was completely renovated in 1918 to house the new President of the Kemptville College, W. J. Bell, and his family. Over the years, various alterations were made to the building, and it still survives today as the home of the North Grenville Co-operative Preschool and Learning Centre.

It was not until 1919 that classes officially began at the College, then known as the Kemptville Agricultural School, when short courses were offered in Farm Power, Agriculture and Domestic Science. The old barns on the Murphy farm were torn down and a new Judging Pavilion and Gymnasium were built in their place. This building is today known as Purvis Hall, and later contained the Library for the College on the upper floor. This space was used as a Hall and Gym, where sports like indoor softball and basketball were played. Regular dances were held there over the years, as well as dancing classes.

The downstairs space has seen many events over the years, but was originally used for livestock demonstrations and classes. In 1919, there were 444 students using the building. From 1927, when the first College “Royal” was held, students showing their cattle would walk them across the highway from the farm buildings and into the Judging Pavilion. The building was used for the Royal down to very recent times. Today, the future of the campus is still unclear.

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Walter Turnbull: Man at the top http://www.ngtimes.ca/walter-turnbull-man-top/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/walter-turnbull-man-top/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 19:13:16 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9918 Walter James Turnbull probably had one of the more interesting lives of anyone who grew up in Oxford Mills. His mother, Sophronia Williams, came from a long-established family in the village. She met Alexander Turnbull while living in Kingston, where they married in July, 1895. Their first children were born in Kingston, but when Walter […]

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Walter James Turnbull probably had one of the more interesting lives of anyone who grew up in Oxford Mills. His mother, Sophronia Williams, came from a long-established family in the village. She met Alexander Turnbull while living in Kingston, where they married in July, 1895. Their first children were born in Kingston, but when Walter arrived on September 16, 1896, the family had moved to Toronto. Something happened between Sophronia and Alexander, because, by 1901, she and the children were back living in Oxford Mills again, still married, but listed as the Head of the family on the census that year. Alexander remained in Toronto for the rest of his life, working as a time keeper at Massey-Harris.

Walter grew up in Oxford Mills, attending school at Maplewood, and then moving on to the High School in Kemptville. After graduation, he joined the Post Office in Ottawa, first as a clerk in the secretariat branch, and then, when World War broke out in 1914, he moved to the Censorship Office. It was an important move for a young man of 18, but he obviously impressed his superiors. Aside from a term in the Air Force in 1918-1919, Walter rejoined the rapidly expanding Post Office, rising to the position of Director of Public Relations. In 1919, he married Helen Buell Graham of Ottawa, the city where they settled down and raised their two children.

Mackenzie King with members of the party who accompanied him on a visit to Great Britain in August 1941

By the 1930’s, he had caught the eye of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who brought him into the Prime Minister’s Office in 1936. By 1939, he was Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, allowing him to witness some of the most important moments in Canada’s struggles during the Second World War. Working for King involved Walter in some tasks which were rather unusual for a public servant.

When King put his support behind the new documentary film-making arm of the government, the National Film Board, Walter found himself acting as liaison between the PMO and the film makers. He talked about visiting New York in 1939, where a film was being put together on behalf of the Canadian war effort. Although not a man with natural musical abilities, he had to correct the musicians who were recording the soundtrack for the film. “As a person with a tin ear, I found it necessary to direct the orchestra in the playing of “O Canada”, because their tempo was wrong. So here was Turnbull up waving his arms trying to get them what I thought was the correct beat”.

Earlier in that same year, Walter was put in charge of press relations for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their tour of Canada. This involved him in travelling across the country with the King and Queen in the months before the outbreak of war. As Private Secretary of the Prime Minister, Walter also took a role in the Conferences of Commonwealth leaders which took place in 1941 and 1944, events which cemented the ties between the various countries as they found their places in the overall war effort as sovereign nations.

When King met in Quebec City in 1943 and 1944 with British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill and American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walter was there as part of the host delegation, in support of the Canadian Prime Minister, as the three leaders planned for the invasion of Europe, which took place in June the following year.

After the war, Walter continued to serve at international conferences, including the one in 1946 in San Francisco at which the United Nations was formally established. Walter had travelled a very long way from Oxford Mills, and was moving in the highest political and diplomatic circles of his time. He returned to the Post Office after the war, and, in 1946, he was a member of the Canadian delegation to the fourth Congress of the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Closer to home, he represented the Post Office Department at the Universal Postal Union (UPU) conference in New York, organised by the U.N. And, in 1950, he headed the Canadian delegation to the Congress of the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain in Madrid in his capacity as the Deputy Postmaster General of Canada. He headed Canada Post, as we know it, from 1945 until 1957, and was responsible for introducing many technical innovations in the area of air mail service and the mechanical sorting of mail. Even after he retired in 1957, his expertise was called on by Spain and some South American countries, where he reorganised their national postal services.

Walter James Turnbull died in 1987, at the age of 91. Helen had died before him, in 1974. His links to Oxford Mills continue, as his mother, aunt, and two brothers are buried in the Union Cemetery outside the village.

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The Ferguson House, 506 Prescott Street, Kemptville http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-house-506-prescott-street-kemptville/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-house-506-prescott-street-kemptville/#comments Thu, 23 Nov 2017 18:33:05 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9881 This lovely house is a reminder of Kemptville’s past. In 1844, John Clothier sold 9 acres of land to John Rath. This property covered all the land on the west side of Prescott Street from Van Buren south to Holmes Street (which then ran off Prescott Street) and back to where Blossom Road and Orchard […]

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This lovely house is a reminder of Kemptville’s past. In 1844, John Clothier sold 9 acres of land to John Rath. This property covered all the land on the west side of Prescott Street from Van Buren south to Holmes Street (which then ran off Prescott Street) and back to where Blossom Road and Orchard Drive are today. The Rath family built a home on the land and lived there for almost sixty years, until the 9 acres were sold to Robert Jackson in 1901. Robert Jackson was born near Heckston, but went to California where he made his fortune. Coming back to Kemptville, he built himself a fine new mansion with the money made in California, complete with tower and extensive orchards and gardens, and he carried on the farm established by the Raths. He didn’t stay long, however. In 1907 he sold the property to G. Howard Ferguson, M.P.P., a native of Kemptville who had served as Reeve of the Village in 1900-1902. In 1923, he became Premier of Ontario, a position he held until 1930. He then went as Canadian High Commissioner to London until 1935. During that entire period, this was his home. He sold the property in 1939, and, after 1958, the land was sub-divided and developed. The Blossom Road development as it was originally, was built then. But the house remains, a reminder of Kemptville’s Premier. The picture shows Ferguson and his wife in the gardens in the 1930’s.

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Anderson & Langstaff Store, Prescott Street, Kemptville http://www.ngtimes.ca/anderson-langstaff-store-prescott-street-kemptville/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/anderson-langstaff-store-prescott-street-kemptville/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:23:28 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9746 This has been the site of a store since at least 1850, when Thomas Baldwin had a cabinet shop here. lt  then became the general store of Andrew Blackburn, and it was another of the victims of the 1872 fire which destroyed almost all of Prescott Street. Blackburn rebuilt in brick after the fire. Designed […]

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This has been the site of a store since at least 1850, when Thomas Baldwin had a cabinet shop here. lt  then became the general store of Andrew Blackburn, and it was another of the victims of the 1872 fire which destroyed almost all of Prescott Street. Blackburn rebuilt in brick after the fire. Designed by King Arnoldi, who had worked on the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, that building, pictured here, became one of the first and largest department stores in the town of Kemptville. Extended on the north side, and with extensive warehouses, stables and sheds at the rear and the south, the business was bought out by an employee, William H. Anderson, who further expanded it. In later years, it became the Red & White store and has had various tenants since the store closed. The drawing shows the building just after it opened in 1878, and then an early photograph from when it was Anderson’s store.

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Throwback Thursdays: Prescott Street, c. 1912 http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursdays-prescott-street-c-1912/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursdays-prescott-street-c-1912/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 23:59:15 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9584 This photograph was taken from the roof of the Maley Building, which stood on the site of the present Rotary Park in Kemptville. The changes, as well as the things that stay the same, are fascinating. On the left, the tall dark structure is the hose tower at the old Fire Hall, now the Court […]

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This photograph was taken from the roof of the Maley Building, which stood on the site of the present Rotary Park in Kemptville. The changes, as well as the things that stay the same, are fascinating. On the left, the tall dark structure is the hose tower at the old Fire Hall, now the Court House on Water Street. At that time, the hoses were made from fabric, and after thwy were used, they needed to be hung up to dry. Hence the tall tower, from which the hoses were hung, inside, and which also doubled as a watch tower. The Court House can be seen behind the tower. The building to the right of them is now the parking lot for the Library, which stands where the large white buildings are in the centre foreground. The pavements on either side of Prescott Street had been installed about ten years earlier, as part of the improvements that were being made to the downtown streets. At the time, these were very controversial, as some of the older members of Council considered them a luxury the town could not afford. But the energetic young men, led by G. Howard Ferguson, before he entered provincial politics, had pushed through the paving project anyway. The two steeples on Gospel Hill can be seen in the background, as well as, nearer to the right of the photograph, the tall structure of the old Kemptville High School. Kemptville has lost much, and gained some, in terms of buildings and tradition. This is a glimpse of the village more than a century ago.

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