Tour of Creemore in the 1940s, Part 3
Long-time Creemore resident Gerry Blackburn takes readers back in time for a walk down Mill Street in the 1904s.
Continuing a walk down Mill Street in the 1940s – Going north on the east side of Mill Street, there still is an empty lot south of Noel Vanwalleghem’s apartments. The south half of the building was then a separate store. It was occupied by George McKnight as a grocery store and also an ice cream parlor. I don’t know why but he didn’t do much business and I was never in his store. To the north, there was a small one-storey building, that has been replaced by the other part of Noel’s apartment building. It was occupied then by a shoe repairman, Alf Davis. Alf was also the Boy Scout leader and did a great job. Being in the country I didn’t belong to the Scouts.
The next building was the Creemore Meat Market. It was built in the 1880s as a Meat Market by the Hisey’s. Originally it had a peaked roof with a brick false front, just like the Wild West. In 1917 the bracing of the south half of this front gave way and it blew down and was never replaced. In the 1940s it was operated by Wes Johnston and his brother Jake, basically only selling meat and a few other associated items. They also operated their meat processing plant at the bottom of Ten Hill, butchering local cattle and pigs. They had an ice-house there with a summer’s supply of ice packed in sawdust. I remember Orville Gowan cutting ice in the Mad River just north of the Caroline Street Bridge. My parents bought most of their meat from them. The next building, now Home Hardware was a clothing, dry goods, and grocery store owned by the A.W. Bruce Co. They didn’t seem to do much business and later were bought out by a Mr. Flanery who had a great sale selling off a lot of almost antique shoes and clothing. At that time the upper floor was all one room, called Leonard’s Hall, after the original owner and was used for school concerts, dances, etc. Later the owners became aware of a weakness in the floor structure, and to help this, they had props installed, downstairs before the shows. This activity was then discontinued.
The next building was the Sovereign Hotel, which by this time had almost no patrons and closed. It was then bought by Dr. J.R.H. Graham, Creemore’s long time family doctor, who used the ground floor for his office and rented the apartments upstairs.
We then go across Caroline Street to The Creemore Village Pharmacy. The story is well known, that W. J. Corbett brought his stock from Avening to Creemore in a wheelbarrow when the railway came through in 1878. It is Creemore’s oldest continuous business. During the early 1940s it was operated by Milton Corbett and then Albert Orr. Starting in late 1938, a dentist, Dr. Stewart, had his office upstairs. I remember him putting braces on my teeth, but he joined the R.C.A.F. shortly after the start of WW2 and that was the end of the braces.
Gerry Blackburn is the author of Creemore, as Remembered by Gerry Blackburn, available at The Creemore Echo Newsstand.