by Lyle Dillabough
Stompin’ Tom Connors helped us save the Mississippi Hotel in Carleton Place from demolition in 1990. I wrote a letter to him at the time to which he replied to and the rest is history. He wrote “Big Joe Mufferaw” there in 1967 and it became his first “Big Hit”. Tom made a “plea” to the public in 1990 to “Save the Grand Ole Lady.” In 1990 Tom was still quite a bit in his “reclusive” period so when he made that public statement the nation’s media went into a bit of a frenzy. And that had EVERYTHING to do with why the “Grand Ole Lady” still stands at the corner of Bridge Street and Lake Avenue in CP today. (although it has changed names several times since then).
Tom was one who always remembered who helped him along the way. He communicated with me several times over the years but would never let me interview him. He wrote his “letters” himself on an old fashioned typewriter. (Was a very good writer) The last one he signed “Tom Connors” (not “Stompin Tom”) which made me feel that he had come to trust me enough to be a friend. I was very touched by that.
Everywhere I go in the country people ask me about Stompin’ Tom and the Mississippi Hotel Story. Think that’s because Tom is so popular and truly can be called “Mr. Canada.”