Carleton Place Main Street Fire — Okilman’s

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In September of 1965 a fire broke out on our Main Street destroying what people called the “pioneer store”. Okilman’s was an institution in Carleton Place. Joann Voyce told me Okilmans was situated where the Moore House now sits. It was two attached stores, Men’s and Women’s wear and right next to what was Patterson’s Furniture Store. Rita and Moses lived in the next building south of the store. They have no idea what caused the fire that night that caused over $100,000 of damage to the three-storey structure. Firemen were called from not only Carleton Place, but also Almonte and Beckwith Township. Moses Okiliman and his wife Rita noticed smoke at 6:30 pm and hightailed it out of the building owned by his father Oscar. No one was hurt, but only a small part of the damage was covered by insurance.

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The firemen believe it began in a frame addition used for storage at the rear of the store. A neighbour, Mrs. McRostie, first noticed the smoke and called the fire department. Flames from the fire were seen for miles, and it was all the firemen could do to save the neighbouring buildings.

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Another fire in the 1930’s had already destroyed a portion of the store. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the Okilman’s lost everything, with Mrs. Okiliman only having time to grab her purse.

Ottawa Journal Photo of fireman by Foote 29th September, 1965.–

First photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Carleton Place downtown-Photo by—Niġel Klemenčič-PuglisevichI believe this is the Okilman building..You can see the McPherson house next to it.-
The house known to some as the McPherson’s House was rebuilt in 1965. It was once the residence of Mrs. McPherson and her daughter Bess who was a local telephone operator. Jack McPherson owned an insurance business and ran it from the house. Mary Cook said in January of 2007 that McPherson’s wife worked for Oscar Okilman for 25 cents an hour. Joann Voyce
Joann Voyce on May 15, 2015 at 7:54 pm said: Edit
Okilmans was situated where the Moore House now sits. It was two attached stores,Men’s and Women’s wear and right next to what was Patterson’s Furniture Store. Rita and Moses lived in the next building south of the store. I was around here then and shopped there

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada26 Apr 1928, Thu  •  Page 1

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

6 responses »

  1. Okilmans was situated where the Moore House now sits. It was two attached stores,Men’s and Women’s wear and right next to what was Patterson’s Furniture Store. Rita and Moses lived in the next building south of the store. I was around here then and shopped there.

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  2. I was sure I had actually seen a building there, having only come to Almonte in 1964, was only at the Ritchie feed outlet a few times and hardly noticed much about the building!

    Liked by 1 person

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