Comba’s -The Scariest Building in Carleton Place?

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All photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

In the early days the school children used to cross over to the other side of Bridge Street to avoid the Leslie Building as it always had a certain mystique about it. Before Comba’s the building housed a series of funeral directors. Alan Barker, one of the funeral directors and furniture store owner, used to tease the kids by standing outside the building and inviting the kids in as he rubbed his hands together.  Those delivering flower arrangements would also endure his dark humour as he would stand behind the door  and as they opened it, Barker would yell “Boo”

Comba Furniture began in the furniture business as a second hand store and at one time had one of the largest stocked stores in the Ottawa Valley. They used to carry Vilas Furniture (that was made in my hometown of Cowansville, Quebec) and ran credit for his customers. Gemmil Comba was a veteran of the first great war and his son Stewart was also a veteran of the second world war. Daughter Joan married William Collie Jr.  of Appleton in October of 1940,  and daughter Bev looked after the Record and Drape dept.

The local kids shopping with their parents used to love running up the creaky stairs to the third floor and remarked that it always seemed spooky up there. Maybe that was because the embalming had always been done on the third floor when the building had been in the funeral business.

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Photo-Linda Seccaspina

In 1948 they carried Glidden paints and many lines of goods from records, drapes, novelties, rugs, bedding ,refrigerators and electrical appliances. From all the ads I found in the newspaper archives, Comba believed in Canadian made products and he carried the Canadian made Spartan Televisions and Addison appliances.  They sold everything ypu needed for the home, and their personal belief was always giving good service to the people of Carleton Place.

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oriolesThe Carleton Place Orioles were: Leader was: Clinton Drader, H.A. Gill, Fanklin Boyd, Clyde Emmerson, John Ball, G.W. Comba– Photo by Canada Hardy’s Studio- Carleton Place 1932. Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Gemmil was also a member of The Carleton Place Orioles,  past president of the Canadian Legion Branch 192 of Carleton Place, and installed his son Stewart as president in 1952. Stewart retired as a past Legion president in 1959, and was instrumental in getting the new Legion building built in 1960. Gem was also mayor of Carleton Place, and in April of 1957, he went to Germany and England for two months to seek out industrial contacts for the town of Carleton Place.

Comba’s became Stewart’s briefly in the late 1980’s before being purchased by Joyce Murray and then becoming “Murray’s Furniture”.

 

What do you remember about Comba’s?– Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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Eva Smith

Thank you, Linda, for posting the history of this building, especially the part about it being used by funeral directors in the past. My husband and I were in Carleton Place recently doing photographs and were both fascinated by this beautiful historical building. While we stood there admiring it, we got into a conversation with a tenant of the building who saw us taking the pictures. After describing the high ceilings and pleasing living space of his apartment, he also happened to mention that going into the basement of the building was a bit unnerving as he sensed that “something” — a presence is what came to my mind — was down there. I guess he’s not imagining things! Again, thanks for your terrific history! I have posted the picture I took on my flickr account and included a link to your blog.

 

 

Related reading:

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

Do You Know What I Found?

Win a House in Carleton Place!

Smooth Criminals in Carleton Place –The Robberies on Bridge Street

The Emporium of Life — Joyce Murray

historicalnotes

Blaine Cornell-I remember Comba’s being located in the building where The Blossom Shop is at the corner of Mill and Bridge. This was in the 1950’s.

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston— I have 78 records from over 60 years ago purchased at Stewart Comba’s furniture store. There was a place at the back with a wall of records with manilla covers. My Mom used to take us there and we could listen to the record in the store before buying. (She also remembers it being on the corner of Mill and Bridge)

COMBA, Stewart Wesley 1919-2009 Furniture Store Owner– Veteran WWII Peacefully at the Carleton Place Hospital, on Wednesday March 25, 2009 at the age of 90. Beloved husband of the late Edith Comba (nee Giles). Dear father of Carol (Richard Scott). Much loved grandfather of Leslie Huber, Martin Puckett and David Puckett. Cherished great-grandpa of Anna, Caitlin, Emily and Matthew. Survived by sisters Joan Collie (late William) of Toronto and Beverley (Ron Salisbury) of London, Ontario. Friends may call at the ALAN R. BARKER FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., and on Friday from 12 noon until the funeral service in the chapel at 2:00 p.m. with Fr. David Andrew officiating. Interment later in the spring at St. James Anglican Cemetery. For those who wish, a donation to the charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family – See more at:

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.

3 responses »

  1. I remember Comba’s being located in the building where the flower shop is at the corner of Mill and Bridge. This was in the 1950’s.

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  2. The store in this story was Stewarts Store. Combas Store was on the corner of Mill and Bridge. Stewarts Store was operated by Stewart Comba.. Comba’s Store on the corner was Gemmil Comba’s store. They were two very separate businesses

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