Bylaw enacted to restrict free-roaming hungry farm animals

 In Opinion

One of the great accomplishments in the years 1900-1930 was the paving of the streets and sidewalks. Before that time there were many and frequent complaints about the deplorable state of the streets.

Month after month, year after year, we read in the old papers that a few loads of gravel were needed for the holes in the streets. The gravel did little for the roadbed which was full of round and unbroken rocks. Several of the street crossings were little better than no crossings at all. Residents were not clearing the snow from the fronts of their property and as The Creemore Star of Dec. 2, 1929 said, it “would disgrace a backwoods village.”

Attempts were made to make the street surface more agreeable for travel but on occasion it was reported that one of the men repairing the washout on Mill Street spent two hours in the hotel at the expense of the village. As early as 1903 council voted for cement sidewalks in the main part of town. Before that they were wooden. In the early summer oil was spread on Mill, Caroline, Elizabeth and Edward Streets to keep down the dust.

The year 1926 saw the removal of a landmark that was a symbol of Creemore’s early history. This was the bridge that crossed the Mad River at the south end of Mill Street. This bridge and an earlier one were built to access the flour and saw mills, which were propelled by water power. As well, the first store in Creemore was across the bridge. For some time the bridge had been dilapidated and unfit for use. It was sold to T. R. Montgomery who removed it immediately.

Another problem on the streets was not what comes to mind readily in the 21st Century. A bylaw restricted the freedom of farm animals in the winter months and at night, but in the spring, summer and fall many animals were turned loose to feed on any grassy area they could find. Big problems developed when the grass became cropped close to the ground. Then the animals greedily looked toward vegetable and flower gardens. A letter to the editor by Samuel Hisey describes the dilemma. He wrote, “I have to chase between one and 10 cows off my property each day. There were two inches of snow last Friday and cows were turned out without being fed. Then they ravished what they could of the gardens.”

One man, W. J. Gowan lost his winter’s supply of vegetables by the cows. Eventually bylaws were passed to prohibit animals on the street.

A wet, late fall in 1927 turned Mill Street into a sea of mud, through which traffic and pedestrians had to wade. These problems appeared to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The quagmire on Creemore’s main street was brought before Simcoe County council in January 1928. The council agreed to grant $9,500 towards the paving of Mill Street and a portion of Caroline Street.

Find out about it next month.

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