Heartbeats of the village: Creamery hijinx

 In Opinion

Looking back at our village’s history we expect to learn about churches, schools and about municipal affairs, but it is the little incidents that mark our individuality. Here are but a few of Creemore’s little ‘heartbeats’ captured for posterity in print in old Creemore Star newspapers.

Delivering cream to the local creamery (now the Mad River Pottery) was a weekly occurrence. After the cream was processed into butter, the by-product, buttermilk, was stored in tank where pig owners could get containers full to feed to their porkers. One weekend in 1926, however, the animals had to go without.

“On Saturday afternoon the big buttermilk tank at the rear of the creamery crashed to the ground and spilled the contents near and far. The cause of the collapse was a faulty platform about eight feet high which supported the big tank. On account of the local planing factory being closed Mr. Kolb, the owner, had to take the big tank the Collingwood and have a new bottom fitted in which was the extent of the damage. Needless to say, some pigs around Creemore went thirsty over the weekend.”

Another exciting incident happened in 1926, at the creamery again. At one time there was a balcony over the front entrance supported by two pillars.

“A scene was suddenly created on Main Street Saturday evening, when a large touring car, intending to make the turn toward Avening, skidded on the ice and the driver lost control. The car shot under the balcony which was supported by two pillars. Both front wheels were broken off the car but none of the occupants were hurt. How the car went between the pillars and the brick wall of the creamery remains a mystery, as measurements show that it would take an expert, driving carefully to accomplish it.

“Following the accident several score of citizens gathered at the scene of the wrecked car and found to their amazement that the occupants of the vehicle were under the influence of liquor. Chief Wilson placed the two men under arrest and with the aid of some special assistants had the pair removed to the lockup commandeering Leonard agar’s flat rack as a patrol wagon.

“On arrival at the lockup, which to put it mildly, is anything but a humane place to contain an animal, let alone a human being, a fire was started in the crude box stove, which the corridor afforded. The detachment of the special constables was honourably discharged leaving prisoners access to the corridor and the stove. Half an hour later some curious boys who were hovering around the jail, were startled to see the old heating stove coming through a cell window in about a hundred pieces, followed by pieces of burned wood, ashes, fire, smoke, etc. It is said that an obstructed chimney had caused the stove to smoke so badly the prisoners had to dispose of the stove to avoid suffocation.

Chief Wilson was soon on the scene with the prisoners’ supper and succeeded in setting up another stove.”

The new form of transportation in 1928 often caused a good many problems as the next story will tell.

“A car dealer in Creemore had business in Barrie and borrowed an Essex coupe from a friend to make the journey down the Mad River. East of Brentwood the coupe suddenly slowed down to a dead stop. Well experienced with cars, the driver got down and sought the trouble. The ignition looked good and so did the carburetor. In fact nothing that he could see was wrong, and he started to crank until he sat down and wiped his brow. Then remembering the fable of King Bruce and the spider he got up and cranked some more.

“Driving from Creemore to Barrie another motorist was surprised to find on the highway a gas tank of an Essex car. Not having any idea which route the loser had taken he wisely set it to one side and drove on. Four miles on, a lone driver was seen vigorously cranking a car. On coming up with a dialogue, something like this took place. First man: Just as I always said, these cars are not in it when you want service. Second driver: Why, what’s the matter? First man: Well, here I am for half an hour; nothing seems wrong but the thing won’t go. Second driver: Have you gas? First man: Full tank when I left Creemore. Oh, yes, I always carry lots of gas. Second man: By the way, where is the gas tank on this car? First man: Why right here behind. By Jove, it’s not here, and in a twinkling he realized why the car wouldn’t go.

“The final scene has driver number two playing the part of the Good Samaritan. After returning four miles for the lost tank he then pulled the unfortunate motorist 10 miles to Barrie where necessary repairs were made.”

Helen Blackburn is a retired teacher, avid gardener and a long- time contributor to The Creemore Echo. She writes about local history.

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