by Brent Eades
I spent some time today digging through the Textile Museum’s online archive of the Almonte Gazette before settling on the edition from Christmas week 70 years ago, 1946.
From the lead articles and ads shown below I learned at least two things: (a) being the caretaker of the Town Hall wasn’t a great job, and (b) we used to have a Canadian Tire store here in town.
COUNCIL MUST GET CARETAKER TO LOOK AFTER TOWN HALL
One of First Appointments That Must Be Made In New Year
It is not expected that the present council will hold another meeting as practically all business has been cleaned up and there are only a few unpaid accounts which can be held over until 1947. One of the first items of business which the new Council will have to attend to is the appointment of a caretaker for the town hall. The death of Albert Ashfield makes this necessary.
It is understood Mrs. Ashfield wants to be relieved of the responsibility by the middle of the month. The duties of caretaker of the town hall are more onerous than some people imagine. The necessity of someone being present at all times in case of fire makes the job a wearing one.
When fires are reported the siren has to be turned on and the doors of the fire hall, located in the same building, have to be thrown open. One of the silliest duties that goes with the job is ringing of the curfew at nine o’clock. This regulation was passed some years ago and is nothing but a joke.
But it is no joke for the poor caretaker who must yank the bell rope three times rain or shine. All the children laugh merrily when they hear the sound and some of the more precocious among them have been known to thumb their noses at the tower where the cracked old bell is located.
Another thing which makes life miserable for the caretaker of the town hall is the long vigil he undergoes after every dance in case of fire.
Then there is the lockup to look after. This is a little source of revenue as the caretaker is paid for meals served to prisoners but it is a rather depressing business.
But in spite of these drawbacks it is practically certain that there will be a flood of applications.
BUILDING ON QUEEN STREET DESTROYED BY FIRE THURSDAY
Three Families Are Rendered Homeless By Stubborn Blaze
Three families were left homeless last Thursday night as a result of a fire which destroyed a house on Queen Street owned by Mrs. Lunn of Carleton Place. They were Mrs. Minor Van Dusen, Miss Mary Greig and Mrs. Len Porteous. It is said the fire started in the apartment occupied by Mrs. Porteous.
It was noticed about 6.30 when flames were seen coming from the chimney. Mrs. Porteous was notified but she believed the fire was confined to the pipes and the flue. Eventually the fire spread to the walls of the building and what seemed in the beginning to be an insignificant blaze developed into a major fire that kept the brigade busy for several hours.
Furniture was removed although some of it was broken by people who were anxious to help. The firemen succeeded in saving the adjoining houses, the closest being that occupied by William Wilson. The pumper was hooked on to the hydrant near the registry office and pressure was good.
The hydrant at the bridge was found to be frozen which was surprising in view of the mild weather that has prevailed all fall. Town employees on Friday thawed it out by setting a fire around it. One young lady who saw the performance said it was the first time she ever saw a hydrant burning.