Attendees (on and off camera):
Phoebe (Carol) Ede
Suzanne Moase: Welcome everybody. If we wouldn't mind, I'd just like to go around the room - we’ll start with Patrick - and just everybody … say … their name, and then we'll show the first photo, and...
Clark Bernat: Do you care to introduce the project? Would ya?
Carrie Bosco: Oh, absolutely, I can do that (laughter) Um, I don’t need to be in the film. For those of you who don’t know what the project is that the library engaged in this summer ... it was in tandem with Canada 150 and so it was meant to be um, a ...showing our digital photos that we have from the past, okay? And so, what we did was we not only looked for those photos, not only did we want to show our photos, but we wanted them to be hung in the locations where that building originally was and what was it originally, so when look …
Carrie: So, what we did was make these posters, and actually, I have an actual poster here now. This is just a sample one, but this is the poster that you will see in various locations in Chippawa and in the Falls in general. Uh, some will be this size and some will be large, okay? So, it has the historic photo on it. It has a little bit of information, it has who are sponsors were - because we did get a grant to print and do some different things for the project and it also has a QR code um, and a QR code is for those people who come by and have their little cell phones and like to go cha-ching and it will take us take them right to the website where they will find a whole page dedicated to the before and after photos in many locations, not just the poster locations, okay? So, this project is going to go on for, you know, infinity … I would think or as long as the library is around … So, um …there's been a lot of work in the background done to attach these photos to the website so that people can view them for many years to come. So it’s um, the project were doing this afternoon is part of sort of an offshoot of this and it's to capture the oral history of Chippawa and the other locations in the Falls so we're happy that you came today so that if you have some stories about some of the photos. Um, we're going to try to capture some of the stories and we're going to hopefully be able to transcribe that into words so that it will go along with the photos on the website, so it will be all together uh, again, for future generations. So, this is, uh, I’m glad that you came.
Clark: So, I guess the other thing that the library asked us …My name is Clark, Manager of Culture and Museums in the City of Niagara Falls. Um, Suzanne has done several oral histories with us as I mentioned before, and uh, we thought it would be a great way for us to learn. I know I’ve been here for seven years and have been too busy running the museum to know the great stories of this city and this community and … um what you know the library has done is put together these pictures and it has tombstone data at the bottom about when it was built and who owned it and all that I think what we were hoping that you do is add the flavour to it, the character, the stories that don’t normally go into the sort of the data that goes in to say that it was open at this date. We want to hear the stories about who served who what was their favorite food who worked at different places those types of stories that you can't get in a book that we don't have record many places and hopefully the video lives on forever the transcriptions live on forever so, people 4, 5 ... in the Museum's we work towards 7 generations down the road - these stories and flavour of the community sort of live on so that's sort of what we're getting at so I guess we can jump right in.
Suzanne: Absolutely, um, from my past experience with Oral Histories, the best bit of advice I can give is just to do our best not to talk over each other. It is hard sometimes when we get into a conversation when we are dealing with a few people, but it becomes more challenging for us to transcribe and make it what we are hoping it will be, so we will try not to talk over each other. And just to go on what Clark said, if I wanted professional historians, that’s who I would have gathered together … I don’t. So you don’t have be an expert on anything. It’s just about what you remember what you saw, what you felt, that sort of thing … and the pictures just are going to launch, hopefully, the conversations. Alright?
Clark: Any questions before we start?
Suzanne: So, let’s talk about the first image that the library has up - they’ve also provided us these so that we can pass the images around the room, just to get a little closer.
Clark: So, Betty’s is our first topic, certainly we’ve all been there
Patrick Sirianni: And quite happily so.
Clark: So, I guess let’s just start off with something simple, what a, you know, people’s best memories of Betty’s, or thoughts of people who worked there?
Phoebe (Carol) Ede : You went in sat on a stool at the counter, and got your order.
Clark: What did you order Carol?
Carol: You know hamburger, fries, something like that. They had a big counter of all the stools you used to sit at.
Suzanne: Just stools? Just counter service only in the beginning?
Carol: Ya, mostly. The counter and the stools.
Candy Harris: I think I remember tables, I must be so much younger than you, ha-ha.
Various Chatter (unclear)
Candy: For me it was, my parents had a restaurant, I would rather, I remember Tom, so it must have been 60, or...1968 I guess, and I had my son in the buggy, and rather than going to my parent’s restaurant, this was like an exotic place to go because I was walking all the way down Main Street going to Betty’s which was like, Sodom Road - that was major for me. And I think maybe just having a pop or whatever, but it was just that it was sort of, in my mind outside of town, because anything you know past Sodom was the country, and this was an exotic place.
Carol (Carol) Ede: It was Willoughby.
Candy Harris: That’s right, it was Willoughby.
Patrick Sirianni: In the uh mid 1980’s when I worked at Canada Coach lines a lot of the day trip bus groups, seniors, Kitchener, you know, all over Southern Ontario, they used to stop there for lunch. I’ve been there a couple of times with local groups and there’s always 4 or 5 buses there, it was very popular.
Carol: Still is, the buses come in in droves.
Clark: Any memories of the owners? Who they were?
Carol: Judy and tro…. Um, troo?
Candy: I don’t think I ever met them.
Candy: No, not until just a few years ago.
Suzanne: Did anybody know the real Betty? Know anything about the real Betty?
Candy: Was there a real Betty?
Carol: Yes, there was.
Candy: Was there?
Carol: Betty Sobanski was her name.
Suzanne: Do you remember anything about her?
Candy: Real Betty, oh ya, I see it right there…
Clark: Oh, it is on there… (laughter)
Various Chatter (Unclear)
Carol: Oh, ya it is. No, all I know is she was a lady who had blondish hair, and I know when Joe bought out the restaurant, she moved to the Falls somewhere, that’s all I know.
Carrie: Was she a good pie maker? … (laughter) ... because they’ve been known for their pies.
Carol: Yes. Pies and fish and chips. It is Betty’s recipe that they use now in the restaurant for the fish batter.
Suzanne: Is it? Well, it is on my hit list every summer, the fish and chips. Alright, well that’s great, let's move onto the next photo.
Patrick: The Rat Trap….
Suzanne: Do you remember it being referred to as that?
Carol: I remember it being referred to, but I don’t quite remember the building, I remember seeing it, but I never going near it.
Clark: So what I was wondering was when it was pulled down - so it is now the parking lot of B-Jays so you remember the building being there at some point?
Carol: I remember it being torn down and a garage being built, a service station, was built and then Bill Berter owned the service station after and then sold it to Joe, or, anyways… sold it to B-Jays.
Candy: See I don’t remember ever being, well, I’m seeing Macklem House, I’m thinking of what was the Barracks at the end of the old street, Main Street?
Suzanne: No, that’s the other Macklem.
Carol: That’s by the river.
Clark: We will come to that later.
Candy: Oh, the other Macklem…
Suzanne: Now, are there still Macklem’s in the area? The family remains in the area?
Carol: Ah, no. The nearest relative lives in somewhere by Perth. Don was in contact with him, and he just passed away because she sent me a little letter saying he had just passed. But, he was one of the latest Macklem’s. Now his children are quite aware of the Macklem history in Chippawa.
Suzanne: But they don’t live in the area?
Carol: No, they all live up that way, none of them here.
Suzanne & Clark: Well, this one has been gone for a long time, so we didn’t expect … we didn’t expect… (chatter)
Carol: It was taken down when I was a little girl, so I just barely remember something being there, that was about it.
Suzanne: But you do remember it being referred to as The Rat Trap?
Carol: Ya. oh ya, Don talked about it a lot… about The Rat Trap.
Clark: OK, let’s try that one.
Carol: Oh, Baltimore, built in 1814.
Candy: It's had a lot of incarnations, that building …
Carol: 1816, ok.
Clark: So, I don’t think any of you … I took a look at this building as we drove by, I think it has sort of taken on a couple of different incarnations, um, right now. So, The Boat House is there, do we have memories of sort of that building, that the, the restaurant itself?
Candy: It was Chaplans, and then it was a Carrie Bradom had it, it was dress store... a women’s dress store … the Village Depot it was called. It’s been so chopped up. It’s, I mean if you put the building anywhere else, you’d never recognize it … it is just because it is on the corner.
Candy: You know, um, but still, I feel bad it was torn down.
Suzanne: It was extremely old.
Candy: Ya, it’s a prime piece of property too.
Clark: Yes. So being in that property though, certainly it would have been against - depends on which side, it is on the other side of the square. Was that area of the neighbourhood busy at any time? Like would people sort of you know, if they came to Chippawa was it the other side, or was this part of the Chippawa busy? Or, what did people get up to?
Candy: There was just Mackenzie’s on the corner, other than that, you just drove straight through and you knew you were home when you hit the grate on the bridge...clunk, clunk, clunk … then you knew you were home. Like I was always on the other side of the bridge and it, there was a definite, you know there were kids on the one side, and kids on the other - the good kids on this side ...
Carol: Except when you got to school, when you got to school, that’s when you mixed.
Candy: We lived on that side of the bridge, on the south end, there was no reason other than Girl Guides, and the dormitory for the dances um, to cross the bridge, you couldn’t get out of town there weren’t buses (laughter) you were stuck here. But, I don’t remember ever coming across the bridge - other than well to go to Hog Island, but we never really looked there - well, at least, I didn’t. Just wanted to get to the water… Kings Bridge Park.
Clark: I was going to say this faces Kings Bridge, right, so …
Candy: Ya but, no, it's’ not, it’s Hog Island. (laughter)
Clark: Hog Island. Ha-ha. Just because they change the name doesn’t mean it is really changed.
Carol: I’ve got at home a book from that building when… who was it… the first, one of the first Cummings, the first settlers in Chippawa and he ran a store out there and it’s from 1815, and I’ve got his log book, who he sold things to, and what and how much it cost, but the book is very fragile - but that was 1815.
Suzanne: That’s amazing!
Carol: And he had a general store out there - it’s been a Norton dormitory too, when the Norton was being built, and stuff they've made that into rooms for their employees.
Suzanne: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Carol: Yeah, it was a Norton Dormitory at one point.
Clark: Next one…
Multiple people to Carol: You know lots of stuff… (laughter)
Carol: Well, you get to know it, when you live it.
Clark: So, this building…
Carol: Chippawa Public Library, my uncle designed and build the house.
Suzanne: Your uncle designed and built? Ya? what was his name?
Carol: Edward Whiteman.
Clark: So, I guess, I was trying to think of what to talk about the library, you know what the library does...
Carol: It sat where the water tower was.
Clark: The water tower was here?
Carol: The Fire Department.
Clark: The IODE was involved with the construction, how long was the IODE in, is it still, well there’s probably not many IODE’s anymore. Anybody know of any of the IODE members around, or who was involved?
Carol: No. I think that that is passé.
Candy: No, but I remember the smell of that building though...
Clark: What did it smell like?
Candy: It smelt musty, it smelt old books, ya.
Clark: The IODE?
Candy: The old one.
Carol: I was always afraid of Mrs. Bond.
Candy: Mrs. Bond, yes, well Mrs. Rutherford worked there too so it was kind of a double whammy if you walked in and they were both there. (laughter)
Suzanne: Are these the librarians?
Carol: Yes, whether they came from the library or took care of it, but, oh well Mrs. Bond was scary, to me as a little girl.
Suzanne: And Mrs. Rutherford was the other?
Candy: Yes, she was. Marian - she was the wife of George Rutherford who was principal of King George. And uh, well he was a scary dude. (laughter). He was you know, he was just very proper and you know, you had to, I remember, I never had him as a teacher, but I remember him going to each room and telling each class - when you see me or any other teacher on the street...or anyone, any adult who says asks how you are you say, “I’m very well thank you Mr. Rutherford, and how are you?” Well, I live 3 doors past the school, and I was walking down the street one day going towards the square and I saw him coming he lived on Strang or Bond, and he was coming back from lunch, and just I remember I couldn't have been any more than 7. I was petrified because I knew I was going to have to greet him and I started walking really, really slowly and I thought - okay if he hits the front then he'll go in before me, but actually no, no, no and so I managed to get it out you know and he smiled and he just sort of stopped and we sort of slowed down just as we we're getting to each other and he just smiled and said blah blah blah blah blah and then he gave me a great big smile when he was walking away and I thought (exhale) and that was way back when, when, you had respect for your teachers (laughter) and he petrified me. So, by extension his wife petrified me too. She was a lovely lady, I mean I didn’t find anything wrong with her, but...she’d be at the library at the time.
Carol: I just hated the library.
Candy: I just wanted to take this book out...
Carrie: Well I’m glad you came today.
Carol: Well back then it was just a big dark room with books, and shelves and books and stuff and at the desk was … Mrs. Bond. And when you come in, she just looked at you and, she just shuddered.
Candy: Well it was like you were going to steal them… (laughter) She didn’t want them to go out the door.
Candy: So, this library was much better?
Carol: Oh yes, open, cheery, and yup.
Clark: Any memories of the library when it was this one?
Carol: What’s that?
Clark: Any memories of the library when it was this one? Your impression was probably a young kid, right?
Candy: Well I was a young adult when this opened but, it’s funny, every time I took a book out it was when I was putting in my number that I realized that I had already read it. I kept getting the same books over and over (laughter) I don’t know why …. So thankfully I don't have that reminder anymore because there aren't those cards (laughter)
Carrie: It’s like a whole new book all the time.
Candy: Brand new! (Laughter)
Candy: Oh jeeze, Evan’s!
Carol: Evan’s, now there’s another story…
Clark: Alright, what’s the story?
Candy: Every child in Chippawa stole something from this poor man.
Patty Willick: I’ve only stolen something once in my whole life, and I threw it out on the way home I was so petrified…
Carol: So, did I, I did the same thing!
Candy: I was so afraid…
Carol: I did the same thing… I threw it out the bus window, I thought I’m not going home with this!
Candy: You walked in - to the right was a magazine rack - American Bandstand had just started it was only a few years old or whatever anyway, I went in and there was an American Bandstand um yearbook and … I took it! And I walked out the door and down I went and when I got to the town hall. It was like … and I couldn't have been any more than eight, it sort of hit me what I had done.
Candy: So, I hid behind the town hall, going, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? I mean I couldn't even look at this book and I walked back and walked up he was at the back of course, and I said and I remember this as if it happened yesterday … “Mr. Evans I stole this book”. And he went “I know” and that's all he said and he took it back he didn't reprimand me, he didn't do anything he just said “I know” I thought, okay he's going to go over to the restaurant and he's going to tell my mother and I'm dead, she's going to kill me. Do you know he never did? … he didn't turn me in and I had put this actually this little story up on Chippawa Past or Present, just a couple of weeks ago and then all of these other people replied with all the things they had stolen too! And then it sort of dawned on me it was like a rite of passage that you had to steal from Mr. Evans.
Carol: I never stole from him, I did from Eaton’s.
Candy: Oh, well…
Carol: That’s why they went bankrupt.
Candy: He had penny candy in there, it was just ….
Carol: Do you remember he would stand over the counter and rub his belly?
Candy: I don’t remember that.
Carol: I do. And every Sunday my father said - here go get the paper, so I'd have to go down to the drugstore and get my Sunday paper for my father but he always said to me go get it from itchy belly. (laughter)
Candy: Well, I’m not going to tell you what we called him …
Carol: We called him itchy belly all the time because he was always rubbing his stomach! (laughter)
Suzanne: You raised your hand too did you steal from there to or somewhere else?
Patty: Oh yes, I did, from there oh yeah, I was petrified I threw it out on the way home I was petrified thinking he was going to strike me dead.
Patrick: Can I ask a question about that building, that barber shop, would that have been the barber shop of Jordan Decatur?
Carol: Yes. that’s the one he had.
Patrick: Thank you.
Candy: Mark Thomson
Carol: Yup Mark Thomson
Candy: Who after him, I don’t know?
Carol: George got in there, then he had somebody in there with him, who was it?
Suzanne: This says Roy Muma’s Barber Shop; do you know that name?
Candy: I remember Roy Muma, but I don’t remember him having a barber shop.
Carol: Roy Muma, I don’t remember that.
Clark: What about, what’s the building next to it, what’s that?
Carol: That was Somerville’s Meat Shop. Every time I went in there he gave me a free wiener! (laughter) and so I ate it all the way home.
Candy: I’m guessing from that picture, the sign, that was the Foxhead Inn and the rooms started at 2 dollars a night.
Patrick: Wow, 2 dollars!
Carol: I remember that sign, that was an iconic sign in Chippawa.
Carrie: Was that up there for a long time, that sign?
Carol: Years. Years.
Candy: And Somerville’s Meats, it was eventually or maybe before this picture, I’m not sure Donny had told me that my father’s first restaurant was on the one half of it, but I don’t know whether it was before or after that was sort of made into a duplex. It wasn't very long though that it was there.
Suzanne: What was your family’s restaurant?
Candy: It was Gino’s. over by the Riverside building, it's gone now.
Clark: Any other thoughts on that one? Or…. let’s move on. Presbyterian Church.
Candy: That's way before my time. (laughter)
Clark: Well yes, but.
Suzanne: But the site, is still a church that stands on that site.
Multiple people: Yes.
Carol: I remember when it caught fire. We all went down to stand and watch it.
Candy: To see what was to do with all the fire trucks.
Carol: It was big though, the old church burnt right down.
Clark: So, what do you remember about that day? The day it burnt down?
Carol: I just remember the fire whistles were blaring and somebody yelled there's a big fire at the church and so we all went down to see and sure enough the church was burning it was a big one, ya.
Clark: is anyone from that church; is anyone in that Presbyterian Church? Know the ministers? Or?
Candy: No. I am confused though. It says the present Chippawa Presbyterian Church was wrecked in 1961… well…
Carol: That’s the add on, after that burnt, they built, there was a brick church.
Candy: The brick church, that's the one I’m thinking of. So, actually the present Church isn't the one that was there in 1961 because I remember, uh having to stop and sit on the steps because I was pregnant with Donny and I couldn’t make it all the way to the square and it was the old church, not that one. There’s one between that one, and the one that is standing on that site now.
Carol: The old church, the brick one, is now their gym - they use it for their gym.
Candy: Ya. But then they moved the manse from the one side of the street the what east side to the west side. That was a big thrill. Watching them move it across the street that was major. You lived in Chippawa - that was major. Oh ya.
Clark: Alright so, I guess the things I was thinking, does anyone remember any of the ministers that were at this church. If you weren’t, in the congregation, you might not …
Clark: Christenings or other events there anyone you know got married there?
Candy: I was Catholic then. (laughter)
Clark: We’re coming to that. (laughter)
Candy: Sacred Hearts coming up…
Candy: Oh, the Castle, there’s the Castle!
Carol: The Castle gift shop. Now a motel.
Candy: That came from the park ..
(Jumbled speech unclear)
Clark: Did anybody steal from that one? Just kidding.
Carol: That came from the Niagara Parks Commission.
Candy: It was a beautiful building, it was by The Maid of the Mist Landing wasn’t it… ya… I remember in the first or second year it was a souvenir store for a while, then Lococo’s took it over and Phil Lococo, uh was a law student at the time and they had put him there to work they Fruit Stand out front and I don't know if there were souvenirs going on there, but where that awning was, was, where the Fruit Stand was and of course we drove him crazy taking fruit and just I mean it was nuts. And he closed up one day he had a meltdown and went “that's it, I'm out of here” and closed down, but I remember it primarily as a dance hall. It was, it was just swell they had a jukebox and that whole end was just hardwood floor and benches around the perimeter and where that big window is that was like just a window seat and you just put your nickel in and got five songs, and just dance it was really cool... yeah.
Clark: So, who owned it as a dance hall do you know?
Candy: I remember the daughter and I only remember her because her boyfriend's name was Gino and that was my father's name - other than that they weren't in town very long they lived up Main Street and then they left and then it closed and it was…. sad
Carol: It was sad. It would be neat if it was still there.
Clark: Yeah and they took it down and put up a motel.
Clark: Does anyone remember you know the day that they tore that down because that is a neat building?
Carol: I think I was working in that day…
Candy: I think I had, I don’t know where I was. If I had known I would have latched myself to the building. That was like sort of like you know, sort of your hang out for me, it was my early teen years. So when I think of being a teenager in town that was the only thing to do if you weren't swimming in the creek you were there at least I was and then it was gone … along with everything else.
Clark: A few questions I had when I saw this is there so many souvenirs in Chippawa, there's a couple different stores that sell souvenirs. Do Tourists come to Chippawa?
Carol: They used to.
Clark: They used to?
Candy: Now just drive though.
Clark: Did they drive through and stop or?
Patrick: They would be forced to come to Chippawa before the Queen E I would think.
Clark: If they are coming from Buffalo…
Patrick: The old Canada Coach route when right up Sodom Road and down the Niagara Parkway so you would have to come into Chippawa to get to the Falls it was probably almost like a major route at the time.
Carol: The big buses still do they come off the Queen E, at Sodom and come down there through town. Because it is shorter that going down the queen e to the 420.
Gerry Brigham: They still do, and all nationalities. My property is on Main Street and all kinds of women come down giggling at my property in front of the house and they want to know what kind of tree it is, and if they can pick raspberries, including Muslims who ask where the mosque is. So, if you live on Main Street you get the full blast of tourism. (laughter)
Candy: Well it used to be uh, Bridgewater when you came off the bridge and turned left. That wasn't one way so you didn't even have to go to the lights you could just totally bypass really just come over the bridge turn left and go straight to Buffalo just follow the river down, but then when they made that one way then you had to actually come in in town and then you know turn left or right into town it was like a block.
Clark: I can see other things about this is that they take down this building and put up a Motel right in the square was that a big impact where people upset with that seems like an odd place for a Motel.
Carol: It is. It shouldn’t be there. But it’s over it’s done.
Candy: Ya, I mean the whole square has such potential it's just not living up to it.
Clark: Well Ok, so let’s start it there, has the square ever been, um?
Patrick: A nucleus?
Clark: A place where people would do things or events or do you remember any events that happened in the square?
Carol: Oh yes, the school walked all the way down.
Candy: We were just talking about that May 24th weekend and the whole school King George would come down and everybody would you know sing (mumbles), Oh Canada it was a major thing I mean the legion did all their things there every Sunday night there was as there is now concerts um and when I was a kid.
Carol: It was by the Chippawa band.
Candy: Our old band and kids running around all over the place that was another good memory I mean you could the kids were out I mean until 9 or 10 o'clock - didn't have to worry about anything the only rule was when that fire whistle goes you call home or you come home one of the two and if the whistle went and you didn't check in at least everybody, I know you were in big trouble. Because that whistle always was the tourists were just not paying any attention and they would like, drown. So, it seemed like every other day the whistle was blowing - and you had to call home.
Gerry: Not long before that from what Don told me, it was the place where the Willoughby Farm was sold the produce and it was known as Market Square.
Candy: Market Square, ya.
Gerry: And that’s also because the German settlers gave Sodom Road its name except it is a mutilation of Sat-ans Road (Satan’s Road) because it was awful there were many stretches of corduroy. Now just imagine dragging your horse cart or your ass cart over corduroy you know why they called it the Satan’s Road.
Carol: Ya. It used to be called Market Square.
Candy: Well, Sodom is really, well it’s close (laughter)
Carol: Way back, because as he said the farmers brought their produce in and...
Candy: It was Pelham Square for a while, then Market Square either way, Market or Pelham or and then Covington after…
Patrick: Chippawa was very popular back in the day, I’ve read about anyway, I think I read in the Niagara Falls Gazette, uh back in 1920’s and earlier that they used to have big summer festivals like the Canada Day weekend, Dominion Day and they would have races in the creek and picnics and all kinds of stuff and even a lot of the Americans would come over and attend these things. It was like you used to go back and forth a lot easier and people knew each other and they would have some wonderful summer programs.
Carol: Oh ya, we did all that.
Candy: Well it was Kin day - right? Kin day … they changed it to Kin day.
Carol: And remember the greasy poll?
Candy: He always won, you had to crawl to the end of this, the poll was sort of in the middle of the bridge sticking out with grease all over it.
Carol: With a flag on the end…
Candy: And the flag on the end, so whoever could actually get to the end and get the flag without falling over into the creek, won. And it was always the teenage guys in town that would do it, but that was when you know, eh, you didn’t worry about lawsuits you know.
Carol: And insurance wasn’t even a factor…
Candy: The duck thing, duck races.
Candy: The duck’s thing, the ducks, they were real ducks! I mean, now when I think about it, it, was terrible you know, they would let out these poor ducks and all these boys, girls too I guess, but I only remember the boys trying to catch these ducks.
Carol: And there were the swim races, and the boat races, the boats would race.
Candy: Ya, there was stuff,
Carol: Everything, you’d have a great time, we’d have a lot of fun, and then insurance got in the way…
Candy: Ya, insurance
Carol: So, everything ended.
Clark: Alright, let’s move on, that was great. Norton.
Carol: Ah, The Norton.
Candy: When I think of Norton, all I think of is rotten eggs, that smell was absolutely horrendous. It was terrible. (laughter) But, if it weren’t for the Norton the town would have died, I think because everything else had gone, all industry had gone, everything, the lumber yards and the tanneries and I mean everything was gone from along the creek and everybody worked at the Norton, everybody’s father at one time or another worked at the Norton.
Patricia Willick: Even me, it might not have been as far back as that, but I worked at the Norton.
Candy: Ya, that’s right, yes you did!
Patricia: They had girls in the plant to do all the (mumbled speech)
Carol: I applied and they didn’t hire me (laughter)
Clark: So, what did you do there?
Patricia: At Norton in Chippawa.
Patty: What did you do there?
Patricia: I said we would, alright, you did the books for whatever crew you were in, they had several out there, and uh, you took care of the book work. You said, this guy is going on vacation next week, so we have to replace him, you know all that stuff. And then they decided that there were too many women, so they laid us all off, and put the if you were not a worker, the men in charge of management, they had to take over all the women's thing, and they didn’t like that. (laughter)
Candy: Surprise, surprise.
Carol: There’s all the Norton homes.
Candy: They were all nice homes.
Carol: Norton built all those houses.
Patrick: Did they build them? They actually built them, did they?
Candy: Ya. They moved some of them, didn’t they?
Carol: Ya. They moved them right on to, down Chippawa Parkway more, some were moved over behind the boathouse somewhere, and there they moved them all over.
Candy: But the dormitory, the original, well, not the original, because that would have been the Baltimore House, but the dormitory was nice, it was a nice building. And then, when they built these houses I guess that's when they stopped sleeping in the “dormitory”. Um, and then we used it for I say we, but dances, Danny Neaverth was there, Tommy Shannon - I was so excited, I got Danny Neaverths’ autograph too. From WKBW.
Clark: Were those houses for supervisors and managers or were they the workers, do we remember?
Carol & Candy: I don’t know, mostly workers, we had her workers, but workers, we thought.
Candy: But they were pretty nice houses for workers, I mean, maybe they were ….
Patrick: Management? (laughter)
Candy: Ya, they must have been.
Clark: Or in between people maybe?
Patrick: What about the smell coming into Chippawa? Remember that egg smell?
Candy: You always knew, ugh.
Carol: You held your breath at Marine Land and you didn’t let it go until you got…
Patrick: Over the bridge. (laughter)
Candy: Well, it would depend on which way the wind was blowing.
Carol: If you could hold it, and then your father would drive slow so you’d have to breathe! (laughter)
Candy: But that smell, that was the smell of money, because that kept a lot of households going that place. Ya.
Carol: And the sky would get bright at night with the fires going and the big ovens. Or whatever it was they were doing.
Clark: A few of you mentioned that their fathers worked there. So, what did they do?
Candy: All the young guys were on the breaking floor, whatever the breaking floor was. I don’t know, but that’s all I ever heard. Ha. The breaking floor.
Patricia: My husband worked the breaking floor for a while, but not too long now, he didn’t like it there he got out of that one real fast.
Candy: That was hard, wasn’t it, I mean that was hard, I mean a back breaking job.
Patricia: Oh, ya. Well what did they do there, I mean all I know is that it was hot, there was fire, I mean, whatever they were doing, I don’t know.
Candy: Breaking things. (laughter)
Patricia: Breaking things, ya. (laughter)
Carol: Whatever it was, raw material, they’d put in the fire to melt down.
Patrick: Somewhere in the plant they had that the, it was down, I worked for Carial Construction one summer and we were down there and it was like a channel of water and it travelled like the whirlpool rapids, this thing was swift, what they were doing down there, I have no idea and wouldn’t remember, them days I was just a dumb labourer, I’d just fall off the ground wherever they went, but I remember seeing that and thinking to myself, wow that’s dangerous, like if you fell in. And I had no idea what it was for, maybe it was cooling they were using it for, we had to go down there and unplug something or do something.
Carol: Didn’t somebody get burnt by something that was in by the Norton top house or whatever it was? There was something in the water and they went swimming and got burnt. Somebody in Chippawa. I kind of remember it but I don’t remember who it was. They were swimming near the top house.
Carrie: Ew, a bug.
Candy: I take it you're not Buddhist?
Patty: As long as it doesn’t touch me, it can live.
Clark: Ok. so, this one was gone, this is the Macklem Manor.
Carol: I have a, believe it or not, at home a piece of rock from the foundation of that place. Sitting on my table, I did that, I went around town and grabbed what I could out of things that were being torn down.
Candy: I don’t remember that building at all.
Clark: No, this was down by ‘27, destroyed by fire. But I guess what I was wondering about this, is there, a beautiful property right on the um, as you get back onto the Parkway essentially, it’s almost park space now, did anyone ever play in that area or, was that, no…. No?
Carol: No, we didn’t.
Candy: I don’t think we ever really went down there.
Patrick: Where was that location again, exactly?
Clark: Um, basically, it was up, well, we say Paradise Point, but it’s when you know you turn left up Main Street, and then you get on the Parkway again, it’s sort of on that curve.
Patrick: Oh, ok.
Carol: The corner of Sarah and Parkway.
Candy: There are houses there now, aren’t there?
Carol: Yeah, there’s a big red brick house right where it’s at.
Patrick: Thomas Clark Macklem, would he be related to Thomas Clark Street or any of them people?
Clark: I would think so. I would be willing to guess…. (laughter)
Carol: Macklem Street, Thomas Street, ya.
Clark: I don’t think we expected much out of that one, but we just thought we would give it a try. There we go, back in town.
Carol: That’s before us, yup...
Carol: Old Town Hall.
Clark: So, I guess, what, you know, I was thinking, who worked in the Town Hall? What did you go there for?
Carol: To pay the Hydro bill, pay the water bill.
Candy: Town Council Meetings.
Carol: Council meetings, and the town clerk ran the office, and you’d go in there to pay your utility bills and everything.
Candy: They used to have dances upstairs. I got it from Donny.
Carol: That’s where we had Brownies.
Candy: The New Year's Eve ball was upstairs I don’t know, in 1870 or whatever year it was.
Suzanne: You remember the dances?
Patricia: I remember they had dances, ya. There was a hairdresser around the corner and her and I decided we’d go up the stairs and see what was going on, they just told us to go back downstairs.
Patrick: Did they have a jail in that building?
Carol: A what?
Patrick: A jail.
Carol: There was in the basement, there was in the basement. Oh, I remember the policeman used to ride his bike around town. What’s his name...? I’m terrible with names, anyhow he rode his bike around town all the time, and he mostly ticketed American tourists (laughter).... because he knew he had ‘em! (laughter) And he had a little jail down in the basement of that building.
Clark: Anything else about the Town Hall?
Candy: Well, it’s virtually unchanged except for the top windows, that’s what I like about it. Like with these… the dormers.
Carol: The dormers are missing.
Carol: I guess they don’t use that. I shouldn’t say this, but Don went up into that attic area and he got excited because he took a picture of the Chippawa Town Crest but it was only half there, the other half is in the attic, the bottom half got painted, it's no longer, but he photographed it when he was up there.
Candy: What I love about that building is, and I do it a lot, is right on the corner, because I walk, I don’t drive, I’m walking everywhere, 9 times out of 10 when I turn that corner I touch the stone, because it’s the same stone, it hasn’t been painted, hasn’t been fixed, it hasn’t been cleaned, it hasn’t, it’s just the same stone that thousands of people have probably touched as they were turning the corner, or kids hanging out or women on long skirts or whatever the deal is, that building is the same, you know, I mean to me, to save a building that’s been so remodeled and changed, there is nothing really left of it, this building though is it.
Carol: It’s a Heritage building too.
Candy: Ya, that’s true.
Candy: Of course, the one on the corner too, where Evans was, that's pretty much, that looks the same
Carol: Yeah, that’s never changed.
Candy: Ya. I mean everything else is sort of….
Carol: The only thing that’s changed is where the Somerville Meat Market was which is not a Royal Bank.
Candy: But there was a house in behind those trees. There was a …
Carol: Yes, there was a big yard and a house that sat back in there and I remember Erwin used to live in there at one point, but then they moved to Main Street. But it was a big Walnut, or, Chestnut tree and there would be Chestnuts everywhere. All over.
Candy: And Claire Sh___ she was the painter, she lived in what, Riverview Cottage? On Bridge Water, she painted that scene, but looking from like the end of the bridge, towards Coal Meyers with just one guy just standing there, it was a watercolour, beautiful picture, and that tree is in it.
Clark: So, this is the main street this is where everybody went, like was it busy, what were you know…
Carol: Everybody was there, like people were always going there, like just …
Clark: On the weekend, or just always?
Carol: During the day, you didn’t have much in the refrigerator other than a block of ice, the iceman would come and my mother always would send me down there for meat all the time, and the newspaper on Sundays. But, everybody went there because that’s where Chippawa was and everybody sort of needed something and it was always busy.
Candy: Ya, people would just sort of sit in the square. Remember that old guy, people would always call him Koon. He must have been Serbian or anyway, they would call him Godfather and he would just sit in the square people used to rent out their extra rooms for boarders and that's I remember 2 or 3 men that would just during the day sit in the square and would talk and you used to go in the tree and sit and look at the town. It was a nice place to grow up until you hit about 14, and then it was like there was nothing to do, other than swim. We had one bus that came from Buffalo, stopped in front of the restaurant, one bus a day, you could get down to the Falls but you couldn’t get back again. So, but looking back on it, even though as a young teenager, it was like it was a nice safe place to grow up really, and now those days are so gone. (laughter) Remember the light? I mean we had one light. It was a stop and go. I remember my mother one time, she was on the phone giving directions of how to get to our house, and we were straight down Church Street which is now which is now Willoughby Drive. And it was all these, because I said earlier we were three doors past the school but that was it, 3 doors, never mind the number, 3 doors past the school, but she would say ok go through the light and somebody on the other end must have said, which light?? It's the only light we got! (laughter) Through the light...
Clark: Ok, we are looking at all these pictures and some are probably maybe Fall, what about Christmas time? Was there decorations on Main Street?
Candy: They had a Jewelry store midway, and they had music playing and their windows were decorated and that’s it, yeah.
Clark: Ok, just curious.
Candy: Oh, well when the Festival of Lights first started the Bandstand was the world’s largest music box, they put sides on it and it and you know was supposed to be a music box.
Carol: All painted and it was beautiful. It was beautiful
Patrick: Oh ya, at the festival of lights.
Carol: I think somebody had vandalized it. Signed over all the painting, so they couldn’t put it back, … what a shame.
Clark: Alright, we’ll go on to the Catholic Church.
Carol: Oh, being erected. That’s being built.
Everybody: Yeah. ya.
Clark: That’s it being built, anybody get married in there?
Candy: I did. First time (laughter) Ya, I did.
Clark: Memories of what the church looked like on the inside?
Candy: It looks pretty much the same, they added a whole thing at the front now, like it used to be just steps and now there is a like a vestibule thing first to get into the church, but it looks the same, statues are different you know but everything's the same.
Carol: There’s a house there on the left-hand side and I remember Goldchuck’s used to live there and I would go there and play, with them.
Candy: And then there’s the other church, the Chippawa, that was there.
Carol: Yeah, that was the other side, and then I guess the Church bought out the property and then took down the house. The house was on the side. I used to go there all the time to play with them. I don’t know what they had for floors in that house or not, but I was never allowed in, could never go in the house, we always stayed outside.
Clark: Churches often had big events at different times of the year and family get togethers did this Catholic Church do that? or...
Candy: I don’t remember that, it was just communion, I mean first communion they had breakfast downstairs uh, that was all I…
Patty: They had Brownies there, I did Brownies, I went to Brownies and then I lead Brownies when I got older obviously.
Candy: My brownies were at King George.
Patty: Well we were the Catholic Brownies (laughter)
Candy: What? Well I was too (mumbles)
Carol: On top of the Town Hall is where I went to brownies.
Candy: I’m 70, how old are you?
Patty: I’m 60.
Candy: Jeeze, 10 years, lord.
Clark: So, Brownies was in the basement, so what did the basement look like?
Patty: Like a basement (laughter)
Candy: It still does, it looks exactly the same …. Ya … Kitchen at the end…
Patricia: Well, at the windows are all up…
Suzanne: Somebody else said they got married there?
Candy: I did.
Suzanne: And then where was your reception was it somewhere in town?
Patricia: Uh no, my in-laws lived on the Boulevard, outside of Chippawa and they had the party out there. We went to the Riverside hotel, actually that did dinners at the time, so we had our dinner there and then went back to the farm. Ya, it was not like today's weddings. (laughter)
Candy: Oh jeeze. Eight hundred dollars a plate (laughter)
Carol: They are ridiculous, I’m glad my girls are done.
Clark: Any memories of priests? That were...
Candy: Oh jeeze (laughter) … Father Nichol was right up there with the scary factor with Mr. Rutherford.
Patricia: Oh, I loved him.
Candy: He was a nice man, but he was very stern.
Patricia: We'll see, one of the first things he said to me was, - now, you are not going to try to make a - out of you, we’ve got two of them already”. This was when we had to go before we got married - that’s what he told me.
Candy: He was a nice man.
Patricia: He was a really nice man but he was very boom, boom, boom.
Candy: It was those nuns that would kept classes down in the basement that were … oh…. They were vicious women (laughter) they really were. You can cut that out if you want.
Clark: Nah, that’s the flavour I was talking about.
Candy: I was petrified; of course, everybody scared me at that point. I guess. They just, holy smokes.
Patty: They used to trot us over from school, every Friday (mumbling and laughter)
Carol: Chippawa diary, I used to go there every day for milk.
Clark: So, as a child or later on too?
Carol: As a child, yup, I’d go in there and get a quart of milk, from that side door.
Patty: Ya. That’s where my mom lived.
Patricia: Ya, we lived in the house, my dad had the dairy in front.
Everyone: Ya… Yup.
Clark: So, what was a day like for your dad?
Patricia: What was a day like? Well he was the only one who worked there but he’d get up and start, but then my mother would get up and she went out, but I don’t know what she did for him, washing the bottles or something, they didn’t have, like today you know, but I know they both worked in there for quite a while but she didn’t do as much as him, but …
Candy: See, Gilpin's Dairy after the family …(mumbles)
Carol: I’m not sure but I think Don had a milk bottle from there, I don’t know my girls would have it.
Patricia: Don had a milk bottle from there.
Carol: Well I know we had a poster from the from the dairy, Chippawa Dairy, with a little girl on it and it’s beautiful, just beautiful.
Candy: Oh ya, I know that one
Carol: It says Chippawa Dairy.
Candy: So, is this was… what? the fire?
Patricia: Ya, there was a fire and it was, just in that, like you know, in the wall between the house and this, and they could never figure out what started it what happened.
Clark: Was that when you were there?
Candy: What year would that picture be? Do you know?
Patty: What year was the fire mom, come on… remember.
Patricia: Ok, I was 14 when I came here, like how am I to know…
Patricia: So, this would have been a couple years later.
Carol: Yep, Gilpin's Dairy.
Patricia: Well my dad worked for dairies all his life and heard about one for sale and he said my mom….