A brief history of 136 Mill Street, Creemore

 In Community

The Way We Were picture of Howard Noble’s building, in the March 16 edition brings back some memories of the background building at 136 Mill Street with W M ROSS painted on the wall. The picture I have submitted of that building was probably taken about 1905, while the one in last weekʼs paper, perhaps 1970. I did have the Ross sign sandblasted off in 1974.

The following is a brief history of 136 Mill Street: It was built in 1897 by George Lawrence and operated under the name G. Lawrence & Co. They sold clothing, footwear and dry goods on both floors. It used the logo ‘’The Cheep Cash Store” and gave 25 cent tokens with most sales. After George’s early death, it continued to be operated by his son Jack and daughter Elizabeth. In about 1915 Jack also started selling Model T Ford cars in a small garage (no longer there) to the South.

In 1922, the building and stock were purchased by Mel Ross who, with his sister Jessie, carried on the clothing business and added groceries, while their brother-in-law Bill Orr did men’s tailoring in part of the upstairs. Mel was a curler and his influence may have helped in having curling ice installed in the old rink.

From 1946 to 1955 various others owned the building, but business dwindled. Doreen and Gerry Blackburn purchased the building in 1955, tearing out the old counters and equipping it for a TV and appliance store, which they operated successfully for 10 years, while living upstairs. Over the years they made several major upgrades to the apartment and building in general.

The lower floor was leased to Lou Mountford in 1965. He closed his TV business before the yearend.

By 1966, after Gerry started working for Noble Insurance, the downstairs was converted to a family room and shop and the whole building was used as their residence.

Oll and Jim Wines bought the building in 1986 with a five cent to $1 store downstairs and residence upstairs. Mr. D. Lund purchased it in 1987, operating as Classic Software. Austin and Christine Boake purchased it in 1996 and continue to operate as Re/Max Creemore Hills Realty Ltd.

– Gerry Blackburn

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