Part Thirty-One ~ there weren’t just doctors

A few weeks ago we talked about the doctors of Westport, and how they were responsible for bringing new lives into our town and keeping residents healthy through the village’s epidemics and everyday illnesses. But we haven’t yet talked about the two main nurses at our own Mount-View Hospital. The Lynn Sisters. Alice Lynn Alice and Rebecca were the daughters of William Robert Lynn and Mary Ann Matchet, both immigrants from Ireland. Alice, born in 1860, taught school for three years and then attended nursing school in Waltham, Massachusetts, in her early 20’s. She nursed in the Westport area for the remainder of her life and was one of the founders of Mount-View. Also serving as a midwife, A

Part Thirty ~ St. Edward’s School

Work began on The Convent School way back in 1885, and the building was completed in 1886. For one hundred and thirty years the Sisters and teachers at St. Ed’s have shared their knowledge through Catholic education with the youth of our village. The corner stone from the original St. Edward’s school sits in The Rideau District Museum. It reads, “Convent School Erected 1885; Rt. Rev. J.V. Cleary. S.T.D., Bp of Kingston; Rev. M. J. Stanton, Pastor”. The Day It All Began ~ this photo, courtesy of The Review-Mirror, shows the first day of classes at the newly-opened “Convent school” An early class photo of the pupils at St. Edward’s School, shown here in 1899. At this time, the school would h

Part Twenty-Nine ~ a few of the Doctors of Westport

Staying on the topic of doctors, this week we’re going to take a brief look at some of the early ones in the village. Doctors Berry and Singleton were the main doctors that worked at Mount-View Hospital, which still stands (as a private residence) at the edge of The Mill Pond. These doctors and the Lynn sisters were instrumental in Westport’s health care during the latter part of the 1800s and into the 1900s. From left, Dr. Foley, Dr. Singleton, Dr. Parker, and Dr. Berry, 1898, in the parlour of the Foley House. Doctor Hamilton kept the village healthy during the years of WWI, delivering babies, performing surgeries, making house calls, and even accompanying patients to Brockville when nece

Part Twenty-Eight ~ some deeper delving into Lockwood Field

Last week we talked a bit about the history of the Community Field on Concession Street. In the early days, performances would be held there and large platforms would be brought out for stages and dancing. Although no photos seem to exist of these platforms, at least to my knowledge, last week we looked at a few pictures of sports days, school events, etc. on the premises of what is now known as Lockwood Memorial Field. But who was the “Lockwood” that this field is named for? To sum it up in just a few words, Dr. Ambrose Lockwood was a war hero. Dr. Lockwood made his way to The Front during the early days of WWI where he soon discovered that patients brought into the clearing stations with

Part Twenty-Seven ~ a long history in ‘The Field’

Were you among the spectators at Lockwood Field last night to watch the performance of Taming of the Shrew? Lockwood Field, once known as the Community Field, or simply The Field, has a long history of bringing the village together. Picnics, school sports days, live theater, and entertainment has happened in that same spot for well over a hundred years, and the very first picnic ever held in Westport was held there on September 7th of 1870! Next time you are enjoying an evening event at Lockwood Field, take a look at the silhouettes of the buildings that surround you, and you’ll be looking at almost the same view that would have been seen more than one hundred years ago, from the spire of

Part Twenty-Six ~ more things we don’t see in Westport anymore ~ Part Three

This is our third week of looking at things we just don’t see in Westport anymore. Over the years, traditions change and other things just lose their appeal. Things such as: Empire Day Celebrations – Empire Day was observed annually on the school day preceding the May 24 holiday for Queen Victoria’s birthday. Considered to be the most important patriotic rite for children in English-speaking Canada, it fizzled out after the half century following its first observance in 1899. This photo is from the Westport Public School’s Empire Day in 1907. One thing that will likely never go out of style are awkward photos where a large portion of those in it are looking in different directions. Gettin

Part Twenty-Five ~ more things we don’t see in Westport anymore

Last week we looked at three things that you just don’t see anymore in Westport, like drive-ins, dance halls, and cart races. This week, we’ll look at a few more pictures of other things that have disappeared off the Westport map. Things we no longer see in Westport–the second floor of The Adams Block (later known as The Myers Block after the purchase in 1911). The top floor was removed in the 1960’s after a fire. Things we no longer see in Westport–that little building beside the old Bennett’s Cosy Corner (that was, at one time, the old post office). In case you don’t remember, or it was before your time, the building was removed many years ago and is now the site of the lovely patio at Van

Part Twenty-Four ~ things we don’t see in Westport anymore

Lots of things disappear in a village, whether through progress, lack of interest, or the ordinary shifting of demographics that renders them obsolete. Today we’re going to look at three things that haven’t been seen in Westport for a very long time: Scott’s Ballroom that used to stand on Bedford Street at the site of the municipal parking lot, the cart races in the street of the 1960 Homecoming Week, and the old drive-in known as “Mountain View Drive-In Theatre”. Homecoming Week was a huge deal in 1960, with fun (and sometimes dangerous) events such as cart races in the streets, water ski shows, and night-time pajama parades. Scott’s Ballroom was the height of Westport activity for many,

Part Twenty-Three ~ on this day in our history

What happened in Westport during the last century on this day? Nell McCann’s diary to the rescue! 100 years ago today, Nell made the following journal entry: “Drowned in the Rideau while out fishing Capt. Bert Adams on Sat July 8th 1916 age 43 buried under the I.O.O.F. funeral private” Bert Adams can be found in this old photo of the Westport baseball team from the early 1900’s. (Names were identified many years ago in the Westport Mirror) Front (l to r): Ambrose Lockwood, Arden Dier, Bert Adams, Jim Forrester, Herb Brennan. Second Row: George Coborne (Coburn), ?, ?, Fred Forrester, ?, Back Row: Roy Derbyshire, Mike Bennett. 103 years ago today: “Lawn Social held in aid of Ladies Institute J

Part Twenty-Two ~ Happy Canada Day

As today is Canada Day, it seems appropriate to post Canada-Day-themed pictures. However, as there are no photos that seem to have been taken during this holiday in old-time Westport, the best we can do is show some of our summer-themed photos taken at what is now The Lions Club Beach. Although these photos are a little more recent than we usually post, it seemed a fitting way to kick off the celebrations that will be held there this afternoon and evening. A happy and safe Canada Day to all of our readers from Vintage Westport! “Sand Lake Beach”, circa 1948 “Sand Lake Beach” stamped 1945 A photo of the beach with a dog in the water and a sparsely treed mountain. There used to be two change

Part Twenty-One ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part Three)

Let’s go back to the days of the 1920’s. More specifically, the winter of 1923. This was the year that fire visited both the Wardrobe Hotel (which we talked about last week) and The Windsor. Both of these structures lost their battle to the flames. The Windsor, which was located just south of The American House Hotel (current location of Neil Scott’s realty office), burned down less than two months after the Wardrobe. It was shortly after these devastating fires that new equipment was purchased and a new team of fire fighters were organized in the village. Now You See It ~ The Windsor Hotel. The Windsor stood near the turn on Rideau and Main before it was destroyed by fire in 1923. The A

Part Twenty ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part Two)

In part two of “Now You See It”, we’re going to look at The Wardrobe Hotel (also known as The Wardrobe House, and for a brief period of time The Wardrop). More information was given about the Wardrobe way back on Week Five when we discussed hotels of the village. The Wardrobe sat snugly on the southwest corner of Church and Bedford Streets for many, many years and was a place to get a good meal, comfortable and clean lodgings, and maybe even a beverage or two. Now You See It ~ The Wardrobe Hotel. Circled in red, The Wardrobe can be seen across from the building which now houses the Westport Village Pharmacy. The Wardrobe Hotel was lost on a cold night in January, 1923. Now You Don’t. After

Part Nineteen ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part One)

For those that are familiar with Westport, it sometimes seems that things tend to stay the same; the same wonderful shops, restaurants and landmarks consistently dot the landscape. However, during the early years, the face of Westport was changing frequently, mainly due to fires and new construction. Take the north end of Church Street, for example. Right up until 1915 you could have a clear view of The Mountain at the end of that block. Now You See It ~ The Mountain. Up until 1915 there was an unobstructed view at the end of Church Street. Another view of The Mountain as seen from Church Street prior to 1915. In 1915, The Myers’ Block was constructed at the end of Church Street on Bed

Part Eighteen ~ Taking the Train

The old Brockville and Westport train was popular in its day, which makes it hard to believe the financial difficulties that were encountered. Almost from the start, the B & W was fighting off creditors and bankruptcy. The train was used for almost everything, from circus cars to students with passes hopping on to catch a ride to school. It was also used to whisk people away to adventures in distant cities, or, quite often, on their honeymoons. The Diary of Nell McCann mentions many such couples in her diary entries, such as the following couple: “Married at St. Edwards By Rev M. ORourke at 8 a.m. Maggie Scanlin & Jack Hamilton of Elgin. Attendants Dr. James Dunn & Nellie Scanlin. Trip t

Part Seventeen ~ Early Summertime Postcards

Cottage on Second (2nd) Island on The Rideau. This cottage has since been replaced with another. Summer may not officially arrive for several weeks, but the weather certainly feels like cottage-season is already here. Camping, cottaging, and boating on the waters near Westport are a popular pastime, for obvious reasons. Early settlers, however, found little value in lake-shore property due to its unworkability, and those planning to make a living off of the land were hesitant to purchase lots on the water. Resorts and lodges were a huge summertime draw for tourists, such as Nordlaw Lodge on Bob’s Lake, shown here. The earliest cottage-themed record in Nell’s Diary was found in 1914: “My fi

Part Sixteen ~ Westport Postcards from the 1930’s

For a change of pace, today we’re going to look at some postcards of Westport from the 1930’s. Places like Castle’s Jewelry Shop (which was located on Church Street) and various stores around the village would sell postcards of local sites to the vacationing masses. The following three photos were given to the museum many years ago from an anonymous donor. Church Street (circa the 1930’s) Another view of Church Street Main Street after the Post Office was built in 1935.

Part Fifteen ~ People of our Past (Part Five)

Nell kept track of everyone; whether they lived in the village or were just passing through. She also knew who was checking into Westport’s hospital, Mount-View. Mount-View Hospital is shown at the left in this old photograph from the late 1890’s. From cataract surgery to appendectomies, Mount-View was a convenient hospital that still stands on the edge of the Mill Pond. Entries from Nell’s diary stated things like, “Mt. View Hospital opened for an Operation on Jimmy [Antwine] but through some misunderstanding it did not take place so Albert – a Orphan Boy was first & Wilfred Murphy & [Alphonnus] Thompson next” and, “Jim McCann’s operation performed in Mount-View Hospital on March 17th 19

Part Fourteen ~ People of our Past (Part Four)

In The Diary of Nell McCann, Nell kept tabs on the village and recorded the births and deaths that occurred around her. In the early 1900’s, even though Westport was a thriving village full of young families and hard-working citizens, there were a great number of deaths due to illnesses and circumstances of the times. From pneumonia to child-birth, death was the most-recorded event in Nell’s book. The word “born” was mentioned sixty-eight times, while “died” made an appearance two hundred and twenty-two times! “Mrs. Duncan Ripley died at her home Upper Mills Feb 9/13”. This photo, circa 1890, shows Duncan Ripley with his dog. Duncan would have been around 56 years old at the time this pi

Part Thirteen ~ People of our Past (Part Three)

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Nell McCann and the diary in which she recorded the comings and goings in early Westport. Since it is the end of the month, we’re going to look again at Nell’s diary and some of the entries that she made during the month of April and the prominent villagers that she wrote about. 1913 ~ “Dr. Singleton Sold his house to E. [Gremmon] Apr. 15“ Dr. Goodfellow and Dr. Singleton had houses side-by-side on Spring Street. The home that Dr. Singleton sold in 1913 is the 2nd house from the left. 1914 ~ “Noah Whitmarsh died of Plura Pneumonia. Nursed by Miss Lynn May 14th 1914“ Noah Whitmarsh and his brothers were cattle dealers in Westport in the late 1800’s and

Part Twelve ~ People of our Past (Part Two)

Walter Colster Walter Colster came to the village around 1905. A talented photographer, Walter set up his shop on Church Street West. In the 1909 commemorative issue of The Westport Mirror, it stated that he had a “fine gallery which is well equipped with the best cameras, etc. and turns out first-class photos”. During the early days of Westport, Gypsy caravans would frequently visit towns and villages in the area. Colster’s photography studio can be seen behind the man with the bear, dating this photo of Church Street to sometime after 1905 when Walter moved to Westport. At the end of the block, you can see the Wardrobe House hotel. With this closer view, you can see the sign for Walter

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Westport, Ontario, Canada

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