It Came Out of Rooney’s Pool Hall

It Came Out of Rooney’s Pool Hall


Everything starts this way–

Hi Linda
Not sure where to look but trying to find info on an article that was in the Almonte Gazette in 1950’s thinking it could be between 1952 and 1957.
Was about my ( much older brother 😊) Bruce Stewart and a horse that ended up in the pool room in Almonte. Any info on where to find info it would be great.
Bonnie McEwen

This piece was found in  the Almonte Gazette and I edited it a bit.. (linda)

If it were not for harmless, practical jokes played from time to time in an old country town life would become dull indeed. A few years ago, on a hot, September day a Mr. Oswald A. McPhail local agent for the Cockshutt Company donned a high silk hat, long coat and cane announcing in large letters,

“I bet on the Dodgers!”

It was high noon as he walked up the main street of Almonte on his way to Rooney’s Corner. He was towing along his friend Mr. Michael J. Rooney who had bet on the Yankees and who marched behind making appropriate remarks to anyone who would listen.

Now  Mr. McPhail being of Scottish descent had something to do with the awful manner in which the tables were turned on Mr. Rooney that Tuesday afternoon. Mike who was a partner in the tobacco and pool room business operated on the corner of Mill and Bridge Street . He loved to gossip and he was having a chat with Mr. McPhail at the counter. As Mr. McPhail turned to leave through the glass panelled door Billie Ritchie who was a young man then heading his way from the service station was seen riding a pony into the entrance of the store.



Rooney’s Pool Room- Leo Bruce photograph


Mr. McPhail opened the door for young Ritchie in a very courteous manner and politely stood aside as the rider urged his steed across the floor of the store and through the portals of the hallowed pool hall. The pony which was owned by Councillor Hedley Stewart was quite tame and he looked like he was enjoying his visit as he trotted up and down between the tables. Correction–It was actually Bruce the son who owned the horse My dad had a love of horse. He at one time drove horses for Doctor Metcalfe.-Bonnie McEwen

Meanwhile Mr. Rooney, who was then a young man with a fiery Irish temper upon seeing what was coming through the front door became flabbergasted. Let’s say he was speechless– for about a second. He insisted Mr. McPhail shut the door, but when he saw it was too late he ordered the Dodger fan to put that horse back on the street where it belonged. But, Mr. McPhail, even though brought up on a farm, seemed to suddenly develop a sudden fear of the creature. So that pony took three tours around the pool tables and then left with his rider unhurried and oblivious to the irate gentleman gyrating up and down behind the counter that hot afternoon.


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1955 Almonte Gazette

Apparently on the  17th of March the same Mr. Rooney pulled one on Karl’s Grocery across the street, and on the 12th of July Mr. Woermke of Karl’s Grocery retaliates with improper decorations in front of the Rooney Tobacco Store. So it remains to be seen for Mike to figure out who was at the bottom of this vile plot.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would protect the pony from revenge, but as he points out the organization does not protect him from men like Mr. Des Smith who runs the Supertest Station next to them, the Messrs. Woermke and Paupst across the street and Mr. O.A. McPhail and many others who should be classed as monkeys, according to Mike and put under the control of the SPCA.

There was no doubt that the next chapter would unfold soon and hopefully Mr. Rooney will be in the driver’s seat. When that comes the same publicity will be held by the Almonte Gazette as this one has received.





95 Mill Street- Rooney’s Pool Hall was erected in 1835 as the home of Almonte’s first citizen Daniel Shipman. In 1859 it became a hotel– Almonte House. Alterations through the years sadly obscure its original United Empire Loyalist tradition. Even the former Shipman house and hotel and became a pool hall and tailor shop, with the rear addition converted to the Alma Apartments, managed by Alma Rooney.



almonte gazette 1950





Before Rooney’s Pool House There Was..

Tales From McCann’s Pool Room – Rob Probert

No Girls Allowed? Uncle Cecil’s Pool Room

Rooney’s Pool Room 1977

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.

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