A Walk Down Forsyth - It's our Business!

             (SCROLL DOWN HALF WAY TO READ ABOUT MAIN STREET - THE ORIGINAL BUSINESS SECTION)

Click on the picture to be redirected for the history of each building

Forsyth, looking north. In the 1930's Marmora was still known for the porches on the main street. The road was wider, the sidewalks narrower, and cars parked on an angle.

                                       West Side

1 McGill St.

1 McGill St.

1 Forsyth St

1 Forsyth St

3 Forsyth Street

3 Forsyth Street

5 - 7 Forsyth Street

5 - 7 Forsyth Street

9 - 11 Forsythe Street, now an empty lot

9 - 11 Forsythe Street, now an empty lot

13 Forsyth Street

13 Forsyth Street

15 Forsyth Street (Empty Lot)

15 Forsyth Street (Empty Lot)

19 - 21 Forsyth Street

19 - 21 Forsyth Street

23 Forsyth Street

23 Forsyth Street

25 - 27 Forsyth Street

25 - 27 Forsyth Street

29 Forsyth Street

29 Forsyth Street

31 Forsyth Street

31 Forsyth Street

33 Forsyth Street

33 Forsyth Street

35 Forsyth Street

35 Forsyth Street

 
Big Fire in Marmora             March 29, 1900
A fire at Marmora early on Saturday morning last caused the destruction of several business places and one dwell- ing, and a loss of about $30,000. Be- tween two and three o'clock in the morning fire was discovered in the butcher and grocer shop occupied by J. Rose and spread to John Green's harness shop adjoining, and from there to the large carriage shop owned by Dan Dunlay. From there it spread to the block owned by Capt. John O'Neill, and containing the general stores of Mark Keyfetz, and Lavine & Co. and the hardware store of Frank Carscallen. Over these stores were residences of a number of families, who lost part of their property. A residence in the rear of the O'Neill block was also burned.
Some of those who were burned out lost everything. Among them was Mr. Samuel Hatton, who had just re- moved all his household effects from Stirling to Marmora the day previous. They were stored in the rooms over Mr. Rose's shop, where the fire origina- ted, and were a total loss. Mr. C!inton Hogle had his goods all packed for re- moval in the same building, and also lost everything. The origin of the fire is unknown.
Stirling News-Argus
 
 
 

Population Statistics

  • 1839 - 369
  • 1879 - 400
  • 1893 - 700
  • 1911 - 865
  • 1915 - 877

 A TRIP DOWNTOWN

Some footage of downtown Marmora in Hastings County taken in late summer, 2011.

The earliest commercial sectors of Marmora had been clustered around the dam,  at what had been called the High Falls.  As the years went by,  the blacksmith shops,  wagon makers and taverns,  needed by a growing town,  were constructed southerly,  along what is still called Main Street.

It was a time when all heating was done by wood and fire spread it hand of destructionpredictably and all too often.  Without pressure water or an organized fire department,  the villagers had only bucket brigades to douse the flames.

As the old downtown was inevitably lost to age or fire,  a new one was built on Forsyth Street.  Shortly after the turn of the century,  Marmora boasted a string of new buildings on the west side of Forsyth Street,  north from what would become Highway #7. ByOctober 1911,  street lights were installed on Forsyth St. 

But it was still a long way from being a highway.  Indeed,  Marmora's wooden sidewalks crossed both main streets uninterrupted.  Even in 1914,  the delivery of a new Russell or Ford motor car would cause a stir in the village.  The usual means of transport was by horse and rig.  And,  given the rutted,  muddy road,  it was still the best.  The first 5 gas buggies to arrive in 1914 were owned by Dr. Crawford,  Thomas English,  Ernie Bell,  Bert Horwitz and Ralph Neal's father,  Alfred Till Neal.

Throughout the village,  the bustle of the marketplaces,  the noise of the blacksmith's shops and over it all,  the dust and smoke of the Pearce Lumber Mills gave the smell of success.  It was an active and prosperous little town.

Dan Shannon suggested you join the "Brighten Up Club",  and buy your paints and supplied from his general hardware.

E.M. Gladney tailored "Hoberlin suits" for $20.00 and up.  Mrs. Marrin announced a display of Summer Millinery.  More modest dresses for children were offered by F.N. Marett & Co. for 35 cents to a dollar.  Ladies coats ranged from 5 to 10 dollars.

1907 looking north

Celia Murray" Our awning looks huge! I remember cranking it up (or down) to keep the sun off the window display to keep the clothes from fading in the windows."

Reeve Hubbell himself ran a business central to the success of any country town - the feed and flour mill.  He offered "an abundance" of seed oats for sale,  free of noxious weeds by Government test. If you wanted good bread,  he offered five varieties of flour and "settings of eggs from selected pen of S.C. White Leghorns".

Four miles from town,  opposite the railway station,  the O'Connor Hotel was set back by the decision that Marmora Township was going dry.  As it turned out,  the whole country would follow.  The train station and the Central Ontario Railway connected the community to a web of steel rails crossing the province.  Trains came and left at least three times daily.  The rig drivers meeting them occasionally fought for fares and,  at least once,  ended up in court for doing so.

 

Corner of Highways 7 & 14,  with Dale House in the background, where the post office now sits.

Leo Provost writes: I would say 1941 by the looks of that Dodge car & the one on the left is about a 38 or 39 dodge trunk lid.  Where the Imperial Sign is in front of the Dale house was a City Service Station in the 50s.   I worked there in 1953-54.  Ed Armstrong,  from Madoc,  was the owner. The Mine was just starting. It sure was a busy town then.

Forsyth St. looking south to #7, Marmora Hotel

1914,  Jim Gehan the Blacksmith

While reminiscing about the old days, Jack Grant mentioned Jim Gehan,  a harness & carriage maker.  The 1914 Belleville Intelligencer,  in their Industrial section, wrote:

"This is one of the leading black smithing. woodworking and carriage making shops in Marmora. Mr. Gehan has had many years experience in this trade and established himself In business here eight years ago. He has acquired a high reputation for the uniform excellence and reliability of his products which comprise every description or first class carriages, buggies, rubber' tired rigs, light and heavy wagons, cutters, sleighs, etc., or the latest and most approved designs.

The premises occupied are of ample dimensions, utilized for black smithing and wood working shop, equipped with all necessary machinery. Black smithing, tire setting, , etc., is promptly attended to. All kinds of work, light and heavy, is done. both machine and hand made shoes are used, while special designs or shoes are made to order when required. Repairing and general jobbing work in all its branches is done here. All work turned out is of a superior make and quality and is conceded to be first class in every particular. The trade extends all over Marmora and surrounding country, and several experienced hands are employed. Mr. Gehan is also agent here for Cockshutt and Frost & Wood farm Implements. Personally he is a gentleman well known and highly regarded In the community."

 

 

                                        East Side

2 mCgILL sT.

2 mCgILL sT.

2 Forsyth Street

2 Forsyth Street

4 Forsyth Street

4 Forsyth Street

8-10 Forsyth St.

8-10 Forsyth St.

12 Forsyth Street

12 Forsyth Street

14 Forsyth Street -                    The Hubble/Marett block

14 Forsyth Street -                    The Hubble/Marett block

16 Forsyth Street

16 Forsyth Street

18 Forsyth Street the dempseyshannon block- north end

18 Forsyth Street the dempseyshannon block- north end

20 Forsyth St the Dempsey Shannon block - south end

20 Forsyth St the Dempsey Shannon block - south end

22 Forsyth Street

22 Forsyth Street

26 Forsyth Street

26 Forsyth Street

28 - 30 Forsyth Street  THE DUNLAY BLOCK

28 - 30 Forsyth Street  THE DUNLAY BLOCK

32 Forsyth Street

32 Forsyth Street

36 Forsyth Street

36 Forsyth Street

38 - 40Forsyth   The Se corner

38 - 40Forsyth   The Se corner

Fire in Marmora   May 18,          1905,  North Hastings Review
Just as we go to press we learn of a disastrous fire in the village of Marmora, which occurred last night. The fine "Arcade" Block, containing several stores, The "Herald" printing office, and up-stair offices, was totally destroyed, entailing heavy loss to the occupants. J. W. Pearce, M.P.P., occupied the largest premises in the block, with a large general store and he will be a heavy loser. Chas. McWilliams, merchant tailor; Wm. Sanderson's harness shop, John Shannon's dwelling, and the Herald printing office are completely wiped out. Parts of the stocks were saved. Further particulars can not be obtained before we go to press.
The Review particularly extends its sincere sympathy to Bro. Snell, of the Herald, in his loss, "knowing how it is ourselves"
Since the above was put in type, a note has been received by The Review from Mr. Rendol lost everything, amounting to about $3,000. with no insurance. Through our columns Mr. Snell wishes to say to Herald readers that at present he has no definite announcement to make, but that he will in a short time give them information as to the future.
Aftermath of the Fire    May 25, 1905
Main Street since the fire is desolate enough. Nothing remains of the Arcade block but the cellar walls and debris. Mr. Pearce has bought out Bleecker Bros. store and has this week commenced a fire sale to dispose of the goods saved from the fire and also the stock bought off Bleecker Bros. His insurance on the building and stock amounted to $6500., his loss is heavy. Mr. Charles Mc- Williams, tailor, saved practically all his stock and contents. He has opened out in the up-stairs part of Bleecker Bros. store, now J. W. Pearce's. Mr. Sanderson, harness- maker, saved most of his stock and has fitted up a shop in the implement shed across the street. Mr. John hold goods and his daughter, Mrs. " Drennan, lost a purse containing about $75. Mr. Shannon and family have moved into the house formerly occupied by Mr. D. Conley. The "Herald" plant was completely destroyed, loss about $3000. with no insurance.                                     North Hastings Review
Marmora Herald                      Sept. 13, 1906     Mr. J.D. Narrie has a new spic and span shoe store.
Dec. 1907 -   George Clapp,  former barber for Mr. V Pringlehas opened up a barber shop in the store formerly occupied by J.D. Narrie.
 

Bob McKeown WRITES:   hey! looks like cruise nite....left side is a 53 Ford, a blue 50 Nash, and a red VW bug driving northward.....right side is a new looking green 61 Pontiac, a blue 59 Vauxhall, a black 53 Ford, a light blue 49 Henry J, a big blue American? 59 Pontiac, a light blue 52 Plymouth.....pic date is about 1962

GALAUGHER PHOTOGRAPHY

(and watches, clocks & books)  was located opposite 3 McGill Street in the late 1800's, evidenced by his photograph (1884)   referred to as the first train arriving at Wolfe Station from the north.  This photo is marked with the Galaugher Photography stamp.  Click here to see the 1884 Coe Hill Mine collectionwhich we received with this photo and believe to be Galaugher's.

 

Possibly "Alex"  Galaugher

T. STEWART -  PHOTOGRAPHER   1900-?

Located in a frame building on the site of the Memorial building.

                                Vansickle Farm                                              Photograph by T. Stewart

Excerpt from Industrial edition, Belleville intelligencer, 1914

A well known and popular studio in Marmora which embraces all the modern improvements is the one conducted by Mr. T. Stewart.  The studio located on Forsyth St. is nicely arranged and possesses all the modern conveniences. He is an experienced and practical artist who gives his personal attention to every department of the business and allows no work to leave his establishment that does not come up to the highest standard of excellence. Notwithstanding the high quality of these pictures the prices are moderate and promptness In the fulfillment of all orders Is a distinguishing feature of the business.

All kinds of portrait enlarging and large groups given careful attention. Finishing for amateurs promptly attended to.            Mr. Stewart established himself in business in Marmora fourteen years ago.

(Birth registration, Ancestry.com states #018509-03 (Hastings Co) STEWART, Roy Graeme, m, b. 1 Jun. 1903, father – Thomas STUART (sic), photographer; mother – Florence E. BOOK (cut off), infm - Dr. Mackecknie, Marmora)

THOMAS STEWART PHOTOGRAPHY

25-27 Forsyth  Photo by Thomas Stewart

Wilma Bush wrote:  LEFT  is my great Uncle Pete Connors (brother of my maternal Grandmother Maggie (Connors) Gallagher. Pete married Gertie Cook - they moved to Saskatchewan where they farmed & raised their family! I met him a few times when he returned to Marmora to visit relatives.  The Connors family were raised north of Marmora past 'Long Swamp'.

                          Forsyth Street                                                   Photograph by T. Stewart

YET MORE FIRES -  1914 & 1915

 

MAIN STREET - THE ORIGINAL BUSINESS SECTION

1857-58 Canada Directory

Starting in 1821,  with the development of the Iron Works at the dam area,  all of Marmora's business was taken care of by entrepreneurs on Main Street (explaining the name).  We don't have very many details,  but hope to build up an image of Marmora's first business section by slowing piecing together whatever information comes in.  All of it will be posted here.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE 1860 BUSINESS DIRECTORY

        1879 Business Directory

In 1967, Margaret Monk wrote the following description:

Bert and Mae Jones and Cora Hodge

Many small settlements came into being as a result lumbering.  In 1864 there were 49 families resident in the village. Most of the wage earners were involved in supplying services to the surrounding inhabitants. John Devlin, Thomas Price, Patrick Shea and Henry Weese were shoemakers. while Dennis Shannon was the village's tailor.
There were two blacksmiths- Simon Armstrong and Charles Clairmont.  Thomas Warren was a carriage maker. James Ranney was a building contractor, G. L. Houston a carpenter, Francis Revois a shingle maker, and Lewis and Jerome Tallon were cabinet-makers.
Robert Wadsworth was a tinsmith. Dr. N. Powell operated a flouring mill and Levi Rose was a cooper. Land agents, mining company representatives, a division court clerk, a bailiff, and about three hotel keepers and general merchants also lived in the village.                                               

Grace Warren also described in 1967 the development north of 1 Main St,  where Mr Wilkinson cobbled shoes:

"Farther north on the same side of the street was the Arcade Block,  a little of the excavation may still be seen. It was built by Josiah.W. Pearce and was of long brick blocks with a verandah the entire width.  At this point,  I may say,  it seemed to be the style for the stores to have a verandah across the entire length. It housed five stores and had 2 dwelling apartments upstairs. Pearce's reserved the north end for their general store and tailor shop.

Different businesses at different times were a shoe store under Mr. Powell,  Dempsey's Bros. Stoves & Tinware before they built their block on what we now call Front Street, a flour and feed store run by M. Fidlar, an undertaking business and the Herald Printing Office in 1893, run by Zed Lafontaine.

1893

1893

The Arcade Block was burnt to the ground in May of 1905 and the occupants, which remained on in business,  seemed to move to our present Forsyth St  .It is claimed that when the " Arcade Block " burnt so did all the earliest
records of the Marrnora Advocate & Herald.

Farther up Main Street,  close to where the Kouri residence is now,  was Joe Warren's Blacksmith Shop and residence.( 11 Main Street)  Joe Warren was the 1st reeve of the Incorporated Village.
Next on the north side was the Pearce Co. property consisting of stone grist mill, sash and door factory,dry kiln and office,  all later destroyed by fire."  It was John Webb who purchased the Arcade Block property and built his brick residence (next to what is now "The Cutting Corner,  previously the Hydro Office) 

16 Main Street - The Nichol Bakery

Arthur Sweet,  a baker himself,  wrote in 1967,   "Mark Nichol, and later his son Charles, had a bakeshop there, and part of the equipment was still in the house when Mrs. Nichol was married (1904) The oven, which was of stone and brick construction, remained at the rear of the building until only a few years ago.

Click here for more on 16 Main Street

THE 1893 FIRE INSURANCE MAPS

For closer viewing it will be necessary to right click and save to your computer,  enlarging with your photo viewer.

Maps by Charles Edward Goad.  Click here to read more about Goad.

 

1888 Marmora BusinessDirectory

  • Bell, T.M.                 Undertaker,        
  • Miss Bentley,        Postmistress        
  • Bigelow,  Wm,                 Stoves 
  • Bleecker G.W. & Sons,Dry Goods
  • Bleecker, S.W.    Merchant/tailor   
  • Boyd D H,                          Livery
  • Campion Mrs.                Millinery 
  • Carscallen & Gladney Dry goods
  • Clairmont C,               Blacksmith
  • Clairmont C Jr,          Shoemaker 
  • Cook I J,                 Cheesemaker 
  • Devlin I                      Shoemaker
  • Dunlay Daniel,           Blacksmith 
  • Eastwood E,                    Butcher
  • Gallagher A,                   Jeweller  
  • Green,John,         Harness maker 
  • Hilton, Wm             Cheesemaker
  • Hipperson, A.J.              Hardware
  • Jones, Hugh                         Hotel
  • Jones, H.M.                   Physician  
  • Kelly, Wm                     Dry goods 
  • Loucks Adam,              Dry goods 
  • Loucks G,                            Bricks
  • McWilliams. Gorden,           Hotel
  • MitchellD,               Woollen mill 
  • Nicholl, Mark,                    Bakery 
  • Outwater J R,                    Stoves
  • Pearce I W,                  Dry Goods
  • Pearce T. P.,                   Flour mill
  • Pringle M,                            Hotel
  • Shaw,V H,                           Baker
  • Voilick Oscar,             Shoemaker
  • Warren J H,            Wagonmaker
  • Warren John,             Blacksmith 
  • Wilkinson J,               Shoemaker

1893

MARMORA FLOUR MILLS. 

Industrial Edition of the Belleville Intelligencer 1914

Prominent among the Industries carried on In Marmora and ranking with the most staple products in the manufacture of wholewheat flour, seed, bran, shorts, etc., is that conducted by Mr. W. H. Hubbell under the above title. This business Is an old established one and enjoys a widespread reputation throughout the surrounding county for the excellence of Its products.

The mill is a three story remodeled structure equipped with the most modern machinery and operated by two 54 hp water wheels and when running to full capacity the output is50 barrels of flour daily.  The leading brands are Diamond,  Forest King,  Sovereign and Family Flours.

A large local trade is enjoyed which extends all over this and neighbouring counties and covers a radius of 75 miles.  The business was established by Mr. W. Hubbell In 1898. He operated it for11? years. After several years absence he again assumed control In 1906. He is a man of first class business ability and is eminently adapted to conduct the affairs of this establishment with success and by his modern system of doing business he is winning the confidence and esteem of all having dealings with him.

Hubble's mill is the  whitish building on the far right, originally built by the pearces. All other buildings are pearce mills.  This photo is taken from the west side of the river,  and shows the original location of the one of the dams.

 
 
Sept. 5, 1907:  Fire broke out in M. C. Johns' blacksmith shop on the east side of Main St. last Thursday night. The workshop was saved but a large storehouse belonging to the Gladney Estate was burned to the ground, but not until most of the contents, mostly salt, had been removed. There was no insurance and the building was of solid pine and one of the oldest in town.
 
 

WM. SWEET.  "Baker and Grocer."  1 Main St.

Excerpt from Industrial Edition of Belleville Intelligencer 1914

The commercial interests of Marmora comprise no more Important factor of growth than that of the trade In bakery goods, bon bons etc. A prominent leading enterprise devoted to the trade here is the one conducted by Mr. Wm. Sweet.                      'This business was established by its present proprietor fourteen years ago. He commenced operations with all the most advanced facilities for promptly supplying the trade. The premises located on Main street, Phone 29, are ample In area and thoroughly equipped throughout. Mr. Sweet Is a manufacturer of bread, buns, bakery goods and dealer In groceries and fruits In season, which are sold at wholesale and retail. Several bakers are employed and one wagon is In use for delivery purposes. A large and leading trade Is enjoyed and everywhere this establishment Is recognized as maintaining the highest standard that has always characterized its operations from the outset. Mr. Sweet the proprietor of this establishment has a wide experience In the lines carried. He is highly regarded in social and commercial life.   Read more about Mr. Sweet at 1 Main Street-click here.

 

1934 FIRE IN THE GRIST MILL

One of the worst fires to occur in Marmora in several years destroyed the big grist mill on Main Street early Monday morning. The fire was discovered about 8 a.m. by Doug Jones, who happened to be driving past and noticed the reflection of the fire on his wind shield. He stopped to investigate and found quite a fire in the basement of the mill. He first rushed to the residence of Clifford Spry and gave an alarm and then drove to the telephone office and roused Miss Mary Ryan, the night operator, who immediately called the Rectory. The fire alarm was soon ringing, but for some reason it was un- usually difficult to arouse most people and those who did turn out first didn't know where to look for the fire. As a result it was probably 15 or 20 minutes before the chemical engines reached the scene of the blaze and by that time the fire had assumed serious proportions.

About 5000 feet of lumber was stored in the basement of the mill, along with other material, and when the lumber caught fire it made a very hot blaze, which the chemical engines would not check. In some way one of the pulleys, which operate the fire shaft had been loosened so that it turned on the shaft and as a result it was impossible to get any water pressure to operate the fire hose, with only a small stream coming from the nozzle. By strenuous efforts the fire was prevented from spreading to the adjoining house or stable, but every- thing about the mill except the old stone walls was destroyed.
The mill was one of the oldest, as well as largest, buildings in Marmora and had been in operation for over fifty years. It had three stories, besides the basement, with a one story store house on the south side. It would be difficult to estimate the value of the building. To erect a building of equal size would probably cost $15,000. or more, but the value at the time of the fire would be a good deal less. The equipment which was destroyed would also cost over $1000. to replace. The Pearce Company had no insurance on the building or equipment.
For a good many years the mill was successfully operated as a flour mill. Among those who operated it as a flour mill being the late W. H. Hubbell. It had suffered from fire on previous occasions, but had always been restored and was generally enlarge or improved.
The first fire remembered was in 1884, when the building was badly damaged. A fire occurred while Mr. W. H. Hubbell was in operation but no serious damage was done at the time. The flour milling machinery was taken out a few months ago.
Mr. G. B. Airhart occupied the mill for several years, carrying on a flour and feed business and doing a large amount of grain grinding. He gave up the mill some six or more years ago and had taken it over again the latter part of last year. Fortunately his stock was comparatively low, one car had arrived, but was not unloaded, and another was on the way. Most of the feed in the bags was saved before the fire reached it. Mr. Airhart's loss is estimated at from $200. to $300. and was not covered by insurance.
There is very strong reason to believe the fire was of incendiary origin. It started in the basement of the mill where there was no stove, no electric wiring or anything .else to start a fire and where no one would have occasion to go on any legitimate business at that time. It is hard to believe anyone would be vindictive enough or degraded enough to deliberately set the mill on fire, under present conditions especially, but there doesn't appear to be any other explanation. The Provincial Police are investigating.
Marmora Herald January 13, 1934