25 years ago — 1988
The St. Marys Journal Argus Rambling Reporter tells in his column of receiving a copy of a book that Rev. George Birtch has recently had published. He tells about his life, step by step, from the early years on the farm near Avonbank, his satisfying years of service at the Donwood Clinic in association with the founder, Dr. Gordon Bell, a native of Downie.
A transport truck, driven by a London resident, was en route to Toronto from Exeter. However, he took a wrong turn and proceeded down Widder Street — a dead end street. After backing up 300 yards of the driveway, he decided to use the Michael Smith driveway to turn around. The result was running over three six-food high spruce trees, knocking down the clothesline, and then striking both the northwest and southeast corner of the house. Damage was estimated at $40,000.
50 years ago — 1963
Pictured in this week’s Journal Argus are several of the people involved at the unveiling of the plaque recognizing the life and work of Timothy Eaton. The plaque was unveiled by Lady Eaton at Kirkton.
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) will cooperate with the Town of St. Marys to have the river channel cleared of debris as part of the project contained in the 1961 report.
Store For Rent: Present Bell Telephone Office, Queen Street, opposite Front Door of Town Hall. Automatic hot water, gas-fired heating included. Large dry basement. Brick locked shed at rear. Reasonable rent to right party.
75 years ago — 1938
Sixty feet above the sidewalks of St. Marys, the Town Hall Bell has rung for years, ready at the pull of the lanyard to give the citizens the time of day and the signal for starting or quitting work as the case might be. For long years, the bell was silent — that was during the time that the first bell to be hung in the tower was rendered impotent by a large crack in its perimeter, which dulled and distorted the tone to a lispy whisper. One day in the frosty winter air, the local Chief of Police went to ring the noon-hour chimes and he used so much pep at the job that he pulled the bell over on its back. As a result, the big noise-maker jumped from its cradle and almost came right down through several floors of the Town Hall.
Recently, the people of St. Marys raised $24,200 — to be sent to Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. “The World’s Greatest Woman” took time to write a letter to St. Marys Rotarians expressing appreciation of this gift for refugee children — which will feed 770 persons for a whole month.
Stan Bean, local trucker, recently moved a large frame barn formerly used as a sawmill by the late Robert Clarke. The building was purchased by Earl Arthur of the 7th Concession of Nissouri, and one half of it was taken out to Mr. Arthur’s farm three weeks ago. Mr. Bean’s truck was used to transport both sections, which were so large that they filled Queen Street pavement from curb to curb and the peak extended 35 feet above the roadway.
100 years ago — 1913
The plans of the Carter Company for a large flour mill in St. Marys are said to have been progressing satisfactorily, and the Argus is now able to give its readers some details of the scheme that might be of interest to them. Prior to the construction of the St. Marys Branch of the CPR, the milling business of the Carter Company was handicapped by the lack of convenient shipping facilities, and by having three different departments located widely apart in the Town — the mill at the River on Queen Street, three grain elevators and shipping sheds on the branch of the GTR, and their retail store on Queen Street midway between the two. With the coming of the CPR, they were able to remove this handicap and concentrate the entire business very favourably in its present location. This required a considerable outlay, in the erection of a new elevator, construction of a loading shed, and establishment of their store business in the Opera House Block. Further on, their water power on the Thames demands development in order to produce its full measure of power. At present, a more favourably situated milling plant is not to be found in Ontario, surrounded as it is by as fine a farming area as is to be found anywhere.
From Town Council: A request for a sidewalk from Church Street towards the Cement Works was received. Contracts for three houses have been let along this street, which will be proceeded with at once. The taxes on these houses will more than make up for a little expenditure. By motion of Copeland and Dale, “That sidewalks along Church Street, towards Cement Industry be made this year, the gravel on the hill being used, and the crushed stone put on if found necessary.”