WHAT A GAS !
THE HISTORY OF SERVICE STATIONS IN MARMORA
Back in 2014, when we first created our website, Tom O'Neill wrote to say, " In the sixties, I can count 14 gas stations between the Ellis station to the east and Russ Pitman's to the west, Beckers to the south and Tom Smith's to the north. Now there are three!!" It's time to take stock.
Marmora's first gas pump was installed in 1902 as an adjunct to the hardware store owned by Wm. Hughes and Harry O'Connor, located on the NE corner of Highways #7 and #14. (see photo above) This would have been a gravity fed gas pump with a clear cylinder called a visible gas pump.This style gasoline dispenser used a hand operated pump to move gasoline from the storage tank into the visible cylinder at the top of the pump. Once the cylinder was full the customer would then place the gas nozzle into the tank. A valve on the pump would then be opened to allow gravity to feed gasoline into the tank. The amount of gasoline dispensed into the tank would be measured by the amount removed from the cylinder.
The hardware passed through several hands (see 36 Forsyth) with the pump being removed in 1937 when the Ontario government passed an Order-in-Council abolishing glass pumps due to its dangers.
By 1917, motorized traffic was on the increase, with Mr. Hulin's passenger and mail car running a service from Stirling to Marmora. It was also reported that C.N.R. Agent, Ernest Bell and Dr. Crawford were the very first ones in the Marmora area to have motorized cars. The need for gas stations was increasing.
Michael Moloney had already established a Chevrolet dealership and Cities Service station in partnership with C.A. McWilliams, located at 15 Forsyth St. (the empty lot) Upon the death of Mr. McWilliams in 1934, Mr. Moloney was joined by George Forestell, who stayed in business there even after the death of Mr. Moloney in 1940, at some point switching the gas brand to Texaco. It was 1951 when George retired and sold the property to Albert Maynes who demolished the gas station in preparation for his new stores which would include Richard's Restaurant and two retail stores. (Click here for more info)
THE SOUTH WEST CORNER
By 1918, B.C. Hubbell had built a service centre on the Warren property (now the library parking lot), to be occupied by George Kerr. (Phone 13) He sold and repaired Willys-Knight, Chrysler, Whippet and Plymouth vehicles. Having been called off to military service, he sold the station to Stan McMechan who started a Ford dealership. On May 8, 1919, it was reported that the gas tanks were sunk under the road and pumps installed.
More cars? More gas stations. 1926 saw the opening o Hugh Crawford's service station and pumps on the site of the library. It was known as the Marmora Garage (phone 63) Mr. Crawford died in his own car in a fire.
THE SOUTH EAST CORNER
And across the street, on the SE corner of Highways #7 and #14, Joseph Dale purchased the house with the famous elm tree and intended to install an Imperial gas station.( phone 86)Mr. Dale also offered a towing service. This gas station was purchased by C.E. McElwain in January of 1937 where Dusty Miller and George Coates were mechanics. It changed hands a number of times, owned by MacKenzie Reeves, W.A. Sanderson, Arnold Walker, Ed Armstrong, BP with George Lummiss as agent from 1954-1969 and eventually Vic Provost, who expanded the BP business, tearing down the old house and building a new store front.
The Village of Marmora had sold the lot to the west of the Memorial Building to the British American Oil Co., in April of 1935, who erected a modern servie station.
In 1954, the Marmora Herald reported the opening of a new garage west of the Memorial Building on #7 Highway, accessible from #14 Highway too. In fact it had already been the business of Harry Johnston (Phone 63). but that year he formed a new partnership with Dell Killian and planned for renovations.
"The new garage is a commodious one and will enable the firm to take in 6 or 7 cars at a time for repairs or over hauling. It is fitted with a hydraulic lift, as well as a long pit for working under cars. Two large entrance doors are in the north west part of the building and another large one facing #14 Highway will be available as the old garage building can be removed in the spring or early summer." The photo above shows the location when it included a restaurant, known as “The Bluebird”.
The location was later run as a BP station by Les McKeown, and then Don Thompson. Upon closing in 1981, the garage was, for a short time occupied by the Village of Marmora, then sold to a real estate company.
As we cross over the Crowe River and head west, there are five more gas stations to be accounted for. Next door to the Bellevista Motel was the White Rose Service Station, built in 1952 by Wes Sweet & Co. and opened in great fanfare. It was later operated by Clarence Rogers. Wayne VanVolkenburg wrote:
"Clarence Rogers had the White Rose station at the top of the hill just west of the motel. He only did oil changes, but was quite knowledgeable about auto repair. We would use his garage and tools at a cost of $1. The advice was free! He and his wife were both nice people. I remember that he drove a black 1959 Pontiac. I believe that they operated the garage in the 50's, 60's and into the 70's.
Eventually, in 1977, the building was converted into offices for use by the Township of Marmora. Upon amalgamation with the village, the building was sold and occupied by Royal Lepage Realty, then sold again to Sandra's Retail Store.
Next door was the Mar-L-Mar building, where in 1990, Bill Somerville and Ray Stanfield established a Shell gas station. In 1991 this was sold to Shamsher Kailey, who opened the Marmora Gas and Variety Store. He then sold to Gary and Jass Grewal in August of 2004, who rented the bays to mechanic Richard Eldridge for Crowe River Auto Repair.
The corner of Highway #7 and Marble Point Road was the location of a Cities Service Station run by the Jenkins family, well remembered for the bear they had in a cage there. The next corner, at the Booster Park Road, was a BA Station owned by Russell Pitman, and known as Russell's Corners.
Recently torn down was the building known as the Russ Jarvis' Relm Club, a popular restaurant and dance hall. This building was previously an Esso station, known as Marmora Heights, owned originally by Charles Ibey. He operated with one bay, and after selling to James and Edna Eady, a second bay was added.
In an easterly direction on Highway #7, we can name eight locations that have been service stations.
First on the north side is the station most fondly remembered as Terrion's. This was originally owned by Mr. Manley Lavender and his two sons, Glen and Dean, who sold to Jim Walker in the 1950's. (At that time, Jim's father, Arnold set up a station on the site of the beer store on Forsyth Street south.) The station was then purchased by Grant Stapley, then Ron Whiteman, who , in October of 1991, sold to Greg and Dan Terrion. The gas tanks were replaced at that time, and Bill McCoy was the mechanic.
After his hockey career as #7 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and #14 for the Los Angeles Kings, it seemed only appropriate that Greg Terrion would return home and buy the gas station, where he had pumped gas as a kid, at the intersection of highway #7 & #14. In May of 1999, Richard Eldridge & Bruce Quackenbush rented the bays from Terrion to run a mechanics shop known as Crowe River Auto Repairs. (Eldridge later moved to the Shell station west of Marmora)
In 2006, Terrions sold to Rupi Tiwana, who removed the bays, renamed the station Matthew Gas and Variety and added Country Style Donuts in 2007. In 2017, the station was resold and the tanks replaced once again.
MEMORIES OF TERRION'S ESSO
Tony Bowen Some of the best memories of my life... Happy Times..Worked there from age 15-22...Wilf Terrion used to put cans of beer in that coke machine! Jamie McCoy I remember when it was Whitemans and my dad had the auto shop attached to it. I used to wash windows when I was a kid. Paula Provost-Kelly added: "There was an ice cream building to the right and I worked there when I was 16." Chris Stapley That was around the same time as I ran the Havelock Auto Parts store just down the street! Delivered thousands of dollars of goods to that building! Wayne Vanvolkenburg: about the dairy freeze. I believe that in 1962 it was operated by Cecil Neal. At the serving window there was a platform with planks spaced about one-half inch apart (1.25 cm.). While purchasing some ice cream, I dropped a coin which fell through one of the spaces. This led us to believe that this had likely happened to other people as well. Later that night we returned and managed to lift the deck and prop iton a garbage can and retrieve a good amount of change. Unfortunately, we told others about this and it was never as lucrative in the future.
On the lot now occupied by Valu Mart, on the south side of #7, Edgar W. Jones and his son, Heath, opened a Shell station in 1949, which was later rented to Prest Nickle Motors. By 1952 it was later known Trudeau Motors, where both Norm and Ray Ellis worked. (Phone 260)
Next on our way east, on Victoria Street just north of #7, is Uptown Tire, which, although did not supply gas, was of great assistance to Bethlehem Steel for tire maintenance. Opened in 1952 by Bruce Smith, it would bought out by Ron Whiteman in May of 1976,
The next gas station east, on the north side of #7, east of Victoria St. , is one of the busiest in town. Built by Roy Jackson in 1952, it was set up as a Sunoco. It was sold to Homer and Audrey Hewitt in May of 1959, who then passed it on to Jack O'Connor in December of 1962.
By the 1970's it was owned by Doug (Nip) Smith, who sold to Brian and Joan Woods in May of 1985 when the name was changed to Brian's Quik Stop. 2003 saw major changes when Joan took over full ownership, changing the name to Marmora Express, switching to OLCO fuel, and adding a video store, ice cream parlour and pizza. In April of 2004, ownership was passed on to Tony Tapper. The last owner to date (2018) is Janet Saberon.
Faye Maxwell-Brown wrote "Was my first job working at Sunoco." Karen Paranuik added "I worked there when I was 14! "
Two gas stations at one time surrounded Drummond's building supplies - one opposite and one to the east. Opposite, on the north side of the #7 Highway was an Argo gas station, owned first by John Rombough, sold to J.W. Cantelon in May of 1947, then to William.D. and Hazel Lavender in Jan. 1949, followed by Roy Jackson in 1952 (who also purchased the Sunoco mentioned above at about the same time) and finally Ab Moon, who ran General Tire & Auto (phone 135). He sold Supertest Gas and Oil. It ceased to be a gas station in 1964, but remains as Theresa's cafe.
East of Drummond's, on the south side of the highway was the last gas station within the Village limits, an Esso owned by Hugh and Grace Christie, (phone 245) later sold to Mr. Goody. The owners now are Cliff and Craig Thompson.
Continuing east, just before the Deloro turn off, on the south side, there is the site of a Shell gas station established by Hector Boudreau. It was taken over by Wes Ellis and later Elgin Ellis, and changed to a Texaco. After it was purchased by Keith Tompkins, it was sold in 1975 to Walter and Doris Webb, and renamed Webbwood Texaco.
On the north side of the highway on the Hegadorn property is Gary Poirier's car dealership and mechanic, which was sold to Earl Robinson in 2008. There are no gas pumps there.
Leaving south out of Marmora, there were two gas stations: Arnold Walker's on the site of the beer store and Beckers next door to the north, managed by Eleanor Wells.
Arnold Walker was working the the gas station at the SE corner of Highways 7 & 14 with his son, Jim. In 1949, they split up, with Jim buying the Esso behind the bank building and Arnold building a new Shell garage. It was 1957 when the beer store purchased the property.
.Lionel Bennett: In 1956 it was a Studebaker dealership. My dad (Gordon Bennett) bought a 1956 Studebaker Commander Station wagon from a man who’s surname was Walker.
Pat McCrodan: Arnild Walker used to be at the 4 corners before he built the garage and took on the dealership. If you wanted a Ford, you had to go to Wells' in Stirling.
Lew Barker: I remember when Arnold Walker had the garage there. They sold Texaco gas and when we were kids they gave us red Fire Chief helmets (made of cardboard) as advertising for their Texaco Fire Chief gasoline brand!
At the Becker's store, owned by the Silcorp Co., Jim Lesage of Tweed had made appliction in June 1973 for self service tanks. It was November of 1975 before the self-service pumps were installed. In 1997 Beckers closed for good, laying off 6 people.
A very popular spot over the years was the Texaco garage at 44 Main Street originally run by Billy Smith & his wife. His son, Tom & his wife Mae, had a bit of a convenience store along with the gas station. In later years Tom built a lunch room, did minor repairs, and oil changes etc. After Tom's death, Mae and their son, Ron Smith, carried on the business and then sold it to Murney and Pansy Cooney in October, 1975.
The next owners were John Gray & his wife Gladys. Their daughter, Judy Hammock would help out.
It was later purchased by Brad Campbell and Ken Ohno and run as The North End Gas and Goodies.
IN THE TOWNSHIP
CORDOVA STORE DELORO SMELTING AND REFINING CO. STORE MALONE STORE
Gary Rossall wrote; This lonely gas station is all that remains at Murphy's Corners, once an important mill site at the north end of the famous Hastings Colonization Road. Located at the intersection of Steenburgh Lake Road and Old Hastings Road ( 44°48'50" North and 77°43'12" West), it marks the intersection of four townships: Lake, Wollaston, Tudor & Cashel and Limerick.
And at the Lake, gas was available at Marble Point Lodge and on the River at Doug Vilneff.'s Marina
Wayne VanVolkenburg added "Forrest Dennis was mentioned as a gas supplier on Crowe Lake. In 1964 it was issued from 45 gallon drums. I remember moving a few of them!"
Where was the Finnegan gas station? Their ad refers to Red Indian Gas and Oil sold on the #7 Highway.
And Byrnes Brothers - two gas pumps and sold tires & batteries