Part Seventy-One ~ and then there were more

For some reason, the obituaries were full of drowning deaths in the early days. Whether it was caused by the clothing that was worn (nobody dared leave their home without that three-piece suit or bulky day dress with bustle and hat), a lack of lighting along the water (last week we discussed Herbert Foster that drowned in the canal at night), or simply the inability to swim (many never learned, as there was too much work to do during daylight hours to waste time swimming when just a quick sit in the shallow water could cool you just as well), drowning was certainly near the top of the list of accidental deaths. One thing that they all have in common is the effect it had on family and commu

Part Seventy ~ Some interesting snippets

I have been reading through a book of old obituaries and articles which have been kindly loaned to the museum, and to say that some of them are fascinating would be an understatement. Although a little different than what we usually showcase on Vintage Westport, I am going to share a few that I find particularly interesting as I come across them. We will start with an entry from Newboro: The Drowning Death of Herbert S. Foster “The residents of Newboro and vicinity were cast in deep sorrow on Wednesday, June 28 when it was learned that Herbert S. Foster could not be located. On Tuesday night after ten o’clock he went upstairs to retire but owing to the excessive heat he came down, having t

Part Sixty-Nine ~ Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

We are open for the season and ready for another busy summer at The Rideau District Museum! Our latest fund-raising publication is ready and hot off the presses for your reading enjoyment. For only $5.00 you can support The Rideau District Museum by purchasing “The Rideau & District Times”. Learn more about your village with stories, articles, and many, many photographs of Westport during the War Years of 1917-1918.

Part Sixty-Eight ~ Another Season at The Rideau District Museum

Spring is in full swing in the village and that means that seasonal businesses, shuttered for the long winter, are now opening their doors. Golf courses, chip wagons, and The Rideau District Museum are ready for another busy summer where we welcome tourists and locals alike! The Museum will open next Thursday (June 1st) on our spring schedule (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 10:00 to 4:30, and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:30) until July when we open daily. Be sure to stop by and check out our exhibits as we enter our 56th season and celebrate Canada’s 150th. The building which housed the blacksmith shop for almost 100 years still stands on the southeast corner of Bedford and George Streets.

Part Sixty-Seven ~ Hooray for The Harbour

It was an exciting event in the village back at the turn of the century when the government sent in the dredge to remove weeds from the channel. Photo Source: From the postcard collection of Cliff McEwen with special thanks to Stuart McEwen and Jim Forrester An excerpt from The Book of Westport: “The people of Westport were expecting a visit in August from the government dredge for the purpose of improving the steamboat channel near the docks. Four hundred dollars had been spent on the same week a few years previous, but it was still considered to be in impassable condition.” Photo Source: From the postcard collection of Cliff McEwen with thanks to Stuart McEwen and Jim Forrester The days of

Part Sixty-Six ~ It happened this week

Way, way back in 1914, the following entries were recorded in Nell McCann’s diary: “Moved our Bed upstairs & Started house cleaning May 12th 1914 Noah Whitmarsh died of Plura Pneumonia. Nursed by Miss Lynn May 14th 1914 Ernie Botting & Nettie De Wolfe Married in house By Dr McKenzie May 12/14 Mr. Wm Bird stricken with Paralysis died on May 20/1914 Burried on 22 Put our Garden in on Monday May 18 – Planted our Fruit Trees on May 16-1914” Noah Whitmarsh was a local cattle dealer and also Reeve of North Crosby for several years. He died of pneumonia at Westport’s Mount View Hospital. Mrs. Charlie Ethel Chamberlain and her sister Annette (Nettie) DeWolfe in their younger years. Nettie married E

Part Sixty-Five ~ Thanks to our local newspaper Part Sixty-Five ~ Thanks to our local newspaper

We at Vintage Westport would like to take this opportunity to thank The Review-Mirror for allowing us to use images found within the pages of vintage Westport Mirrors over the years. We are very fortunate that a small village like Westport has had a local newspaper within our midst for over a hundred years, and our history is kept alive with the photos that can be found in them. Nothing brings the past to life like being able to look at the face of an ancestor, seeing the streets that we still walk today, and being a part of the sports and events that have kept Westport thriving as a community for generations. So a shout-out of thanks to Howie and The Review-Mirror!

Part Sixty-Four ~ Continuing with class…

Need I say more. We’ve had such great comments and so many views, that we are going to keep going with our vintage class photos of local students. How great is it that the museum has so many great pictures of our children over the years! "Westport School Fair (circa 1927) Junior Room Teacher Dara McFarlane later Mrs. Wilfred Rice (Pickles) ~ Some of the faces were identified in The Westport Mirror a few years ago: Back row from left: Norm Kane, Margaret Adams (banner carriers), A. Scott, (?) Chamberlain, Don H. (Lard) Green, (?), Orville Forrester, Jamie Breakenridge, (?) Anderson, (?) Anderson, (?), (?), Ted Adams; Middle Row: (?) Scott, Margaret Alfred, Verna Abrams, (?), (?), Edith McEw

Part Sixty-Three ~ Here We Go… Again

Who doesn’t love looking at class photos from the last century? Hopefully not you, because here we go again! Because The Rideau District Museum has a plethora of photos of citizens of the village from the 1900s, it seems a shame not to share them all on Vintage Westport. Even if you see yourself here, it isn’t because you are ‘vintage’, but because you were fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on your take), to have shown up on picture day when you were in school. Westport Public School Junior Room, April 1948 Top Row: Myrtle Green, Evelyn Rice, Betty Anne Wing, Mary Goodfellow, Jill Roberts, Billy Laprade, Arlene Storms, Archie Rice, Ronald Neil, Howard Maynard. 2nd Row: Don

Part Sixty-Two ~ Continuing with the Trend

Last week we took a look at the pupils of Bell’s School, Salem, and Ardmore, and, not surprisingly, that was our most popular Vintage Westport post ever. For those who don’t follow The Rideau District Museum on Facebook, we had over 1,800 views of that particular post! We love being popular, so, to continue with the trend, we are going to post three more school photos today where you might be able to spot a grandparent or distant relative. As always, we thank you for following Vintage Westport and keeping our history alive! From The Review-Mirror (unknown date of issue). – The students of Newboro School – “Taken by a Kiwanis club person from Syracuse, NY who was staying at the hotel. Top R

Part Sixty-One ~ A Look Out of Town

This week, Vintage Westport is venturing out of the village and taking a peek at some of the outlying schools in the district. Back in the days of the one-room schoolhouses, children would walk for miles every day to class and some would even hop on the B&W and ride to school in style on the train with a monthly pass. From the pages of The Review-Mirror, this photo of the students of Salem School was taken on Arbor Day in 1937. This photo from 1951 was found in the pages of The Review-Mirror and shows the students of Ardmore School on the Mountain. The students of Bell’s School stand outside the building in 1954. The pupils had the added interest of the train running right behind the school

Part Sixty ~ A Final Look Back at Blair’s

Continuing last week’s post, “A Look at Blair’s Store”, we are going to take another glimpse at some memories of the store that stood on the corner of Main and Bedford Streets. Were you in the village at the time of the fire, and were you one of the many gathered on the street to watch it burn? From shortly before Blair’s Store burned, this ad was in the pages of The Westport Mirror. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror) From the front page of The Westport Mirror, looking back at Blair’s Store. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror) Most of the village turned out to watch the flames being fought in 1963. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror)

Part Fifty-Nine ~ A Look at Blair’s Store

Blair’s Store was a Westport landmark that stood on the southeast corner of Main and Bedford Streets. One of the last big fires of commercial properties within the boundaries of the village, Blair’s was destroyed in 1963. Do you recognize the annex to The Cove in the background of this photo of Blair’s Store? Photo courtesy of the Review-Mirror. Blair’s stood on the southeast corner of Main and Bedford Streets before it was destroyed by fire in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of The Review-Mirror. Delivery trucks are at the ready for Blair’s Store. Photo courtesy of The Review-Mirror.

Part Fifty-Eight ~ Westport’s Irish Roots

Because today is St. Patrick’s Day, and many in the village will be celebrating their Irish heritage, I thought it would be fitting to put in an excerpt from The Book of Westport. “Irish-Catholic roots run very strong in Westport. In the 1850’s, a great number of weddings recorded in the St. Edward’s parish register by Rev. Foley had origins in Ireland. Henry Bennett & Mary Ryan (both of County Armagh), John Donnelly & Margaret Byrns (both from Ireland), Felix Bennett & Bridget McCoy (both from County Armagh), Michael McCoy & Martha O’Here (County Armagh), Patrick Fegan & Alice O’Here (both from Ireland) were all united in marriage in 1852 in Westport. This class photo from 1899 shows some o

Part Fifty-Seven ~ What Else Was There (at the Upper Mills)

Last week we took a look at the west end of the Mill Pond and saw the International Buckle Factory in its glory days before the fire that destroyed it in 1909. Back in the early 1900s, the Upper Mills was the location of the Buckle Factory, The Electric Light and Milling Company, and of course, Mount-View Hospital. This week we’ll take a look at three more photos of the Upper Mills. The Upper Mills showing The Stoness Mill before it burned and would later be replaced with the brick mill that some may remember. Note the lack of houses along Mountain Road and the west end of Bedford Street. ~ Courtesy of the Rideau District Museum from our early Westport photo album. Dam on the Mill Pond ~

Part Fifty-Six ~ So this was The Mill Pond

The west-end of The Mill Pond was once home to the International Buckle Factory, which was built around 1903 and destroyed by fire in 1909. Mount-View Hospital was operated by Dr. Berry and Dr. Singleton, with nurses Alice and Rebecca Lynn, from the 1890s until the 1920s. Originally the hospital was the residence of Joel Clark who had operated the Carding Mill; the building still stands, now as a private residence, in its original location. Westport was very industrious in its early days, and had a sash and door factory, a furniture factory (Fredenburgh’s Red Mill), a malleable iron works, and more. The International Buckle Factory as seen from the west end of The Mountain. At this time, Mo

Part Fifty-Five ~ The Day the Dam Broke

The following is an excerpt from the Book of Westport: “When the village awoke on Saturday, July 1st, [1905] they were surprised to find that the Westport woolen mill and electric light dam had broken during the night and carried away the Sand Lake dam, the buckle factory dam, the road near W.C. Fredenburgh’s dam and the bridges at Mountain Road and Main Street. As a result, those in the village were greatly concerned as they had suddenly become more isolated and business was sure to be seriously affected. Damages were estimated at $10,000.” The rushing waters from the broken dam resulted in an almost complete drainage of Sand Lake, and severe damage to The Narrows and Newboro locks. From th

Part Fifty-Four ~ Before it was The Cove

Before The Cove was The Cove, it was the Tweedsmuir (or ‘The Tweeds’ as many would remember). But prior to The Tweeds, it was called The Lexena. Alex and Lena Brown combined their names to give The Lexena its title. It operated as a hotel/inn for many years and served turkey dinners and good old-fashioned cooking out of the home once owned by the Fredenburgh family. Lena is shown in the photo on the left in her late 40s or early 50s, and in the photo on the right, she is in her younger years (possibly in her teens). Lena Laishley Brown was a prominent Westport business-woman and entrepreneur that maintained a successful, neat, and prosperous establishment. Alex and Lena purchased the Fred

Part Fifty-Three ~ The Corner of Main and Spring

Before it was the bank, it was… the bank. The Merchant’s Bank was opened in the old Cameron Hotel in the late 1800s, and has remained a bank since that time. In 1913 a second financial institution opened in the village; the Union Bank was located on the corner of Main and Bedford in the old Lockwood’s store with J.J. Gallagher, manager, T.E. McLeod, teller, and Harold Dowdall, ledger-keeper. Local men gather in front of the bank in 1940. Perhaps some of you may recognize a few of the faces seen here. From the pages of the Westport Mirror. Wm. Kennedy and his son Arthur stand in front of the Merchant’s Bank on the corner of Main and Spring (current location of the Bank of Montreal) in 1897

Part Fifty-Two ~ The Death of Wm. Foley

“The Death of Wm Foley occurred at his home here on Feb 7th 1917 of Appoplexy. He fell in the Cellar where he had went to get an Apple to eat before retiring. Father D. E. Foley of Toronto said his Funeral Mass & Father ORourke sang the Libera. Pallbearers – B.J. McNally. W.C. Fredenburgh, John Cawley. Wm Ewart, J.J. Gallagher & John Mulville, His Brother James Foley of Ottowa attended The Funeral” W.M. Ewart had his office on Main Street and was a pallbearer at the funeral of Wm. Foley. According to his advertisement in the Westport Mirror of the early 1900s, Mr. Ewart was Barrister, Solicitor, Notary, Conveyancer, with Money To Loan. John Cawley, also a pallbearer for the funeral, was C

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Tel: 1-613-273-2191



30 Bedford Street, P.O. Box 68

Westport, Ontario, Canada

K0G 1X0