Mrs. Glen Miller-aka-Mary Miller, began working at the Carleton Place Mississippi Hotel in the 1930s. For eight years, she was employed at the grand ole lady listening to the sounds of countless social, political and business gatherings. Beginning at age 16 she did it all at the Mississippi whether it be upstairs, downstairs in the kitchen or the busy dining room. In those days the place was packed for meals and some days they went through over 100 fresh baked pies alone. The dining room sometimes held almost 100 people for meals.
Photo by Linda Seccaspina
Most of the people that stayed at the hotel were men and because she was employed during prohibition the building was dry with no beer or liquour sold. The McIlquhams’s were the owners and Mary said she was always allowed to go to church on Sundays.
One of the old chefs was Mr. Foote and he used to help Mary carry large trays that held at least 8 bowls of soup. Before she was allowed to attempt such a serving feat the chef made her practice with bowls full of water. Mrs. Miller worked seven days a week from 6:30 am to 8:30 am making exactly 5 dollars a week and free meals at the hotel. The hotel went up for sale after the fire in 1959. Lorraine Lemay began operations as the new owner in 1964.
Historical Note: In 1883 the town’s leading hotel, the Mississippi, was sold to Walter McIlquham, formerly of Lanark, by Napoleon Lavallee at a price reported at $9,400.