An announcement was made last week in the Carleton Place Canadian of the sale of the Comba Block on Bridge Street. Mr. Gemmill Comba is retiring from the home furnishing business that he and his son Stewart have carried on for many years. The change-over takes place November 1st. Mr. Gemmill Comba served as mayor of Carleton Place for three years and is now reeve of the town.
During the years he established pleasant relations with a large part of the community and his friends will wish him happy years after his retirement. The following is from The Canadian. “Another major business change took place in Carleton Place last week with the sale of the Comba Block to an Ottawa firm. Gemmill Comba told The Canadian it was a real estate deal and he did not know what the future of the large furniture business on the ground floor of the three-storey block would be. Mr. Comba and his son, Stewart, have had business since about 1936 when the former purchased the Taylor Block as the property was once known. It is probably the largest block of property in the Carleton Place business section They will continue operati
The name of the purchaser was not divulged. The block presently consists of a furniture business, ladies’ ready to-wear and a hardware store on the ground floor and apartments on the second and third floors. A large area of the upper floors are unoccupied and this evidently ties in with the real estate sale.
During his years of business, Mr. Comba has had varied interests, serving as a past president of the Retail Merchants Association, the 100 Club, Legion branch and he is a past zone commander. He belongs to the golf club, curling club and is a life- member of the Lanark & Renfrew Scottish, formerly the 176th Battery, 59th LAA. About 1936, he made his first business venture, starting a second-hand shop in the former Legion Building, or McRostie Block. He later had the opportunity of purchasing the rambling Taylor Block, -which once stretched through toBeckwith Street. Once in possession, he made full use of the large floor area afforded and proceeded to build up a successful furniture business. After the last war, he was joined by his son who returned from overseas.
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.
The question of what kind of meal should be furnished to transient guests in Almonte lock-up was discussed at the council meeting on Tuesday night. At the present time the caretaker, Ed. Little, gives these men a breakfast that costs the town 35 cents. It was felt they should get plainer grub at not more than 25 cents and after a good deal of talk Thomas Reid, the new chairman of the police committee, was asked to interview Mrs. Little on the subject and report back to council at a special meeting, Friday night.
This matter was brought up by Councillor Montgomery who was on the police committee last year. He pointed out that many of the men who were out of employment and sought a night’s lodging in the local jail went around saying they did not get the kind of breakfast they were entitled to when they honoured a town such as Almonte with a night’s patronage.
This caused talk that was unfair to Mr. and Mrs. Little. Mr. Montgomery thought some set bill of fare should be arranged so as to relieve the caretaker and his wife of any responsibility and criticism. Someone suggested that Mr. Reid was the very man to draw up a menu for the unwelcome overnight/ guests the town is forced to entertain.
It was hinted that if he made it plain enough the word might spread and there would be fewer calls on Almonte’s hospitality. Mr. Reid refused to accept responsibility. for arranging what the transients were going to eat. He thought though that a meal suitable for them could be served for .25 cents and still leave enough to reimburse Mr. and Mrs Little for their trouble. Mayor Comba felt there should be nothing fancy about the food served to these gentlemen of the road. While he did not believe in turning them out in the winter months with nothing to eat. He couldn’t see why the town should go to needless expense in the matter. His Worship instanced the case of Smiths Falls where it was decided that such transients spending a night in the lock up should get tea without milk and sugar, bread and butter. “Yes and in the end they didn’t get anything,” said Former Councillor LeMalstre who was sitting In the audience. “I guess that’s right, ” replied Mayor Comba amidst laughter. Jan 1933
In 1935, the Star published a recipe for coffee “cream” that combined egg yolk, sugar and water. The Canadian Woman’s Cook Book of 1939 contains six recipes for fake foods, including almonds made of croutons, a bisque with tomatoes but no shellfish, cherry pie with cranberries and raisins, and a mock sausage filled with mashed beans and bread crumbs.
One of Kraft Food’s most requested recipes is Mock Apple Pie, which substitutes 36 crushed Ritz crackers for apples, baked in a pie crust along with two cups of sugar, butter, lemon, cream of tartar and cinnamon. It was introduced in 1935, one year after the Ritz cracker, according to Jean Anderson’s American Century Cookbook.
Dough for double-crust pie
18 saltines, halved
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 half of dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate.
Layer crackers in shell; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Carefully pour over crackers (filling will be very thin). Cool for 10 minutes.
Roll remaining dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; cut into 1-in.-wide strips. Arrange over filling in a lattice pattern. Trim and seal strips to edge of bottom crust; flute edge. Bake until crust is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. click for more here..
Tom/ Thomas Comba did not die in the fire in 1906 but strangely enough he died in a blast in Pakenham in 1930.
Boiler Explosion Results In Death – Thomas Comba, Victim of Pakenham Blast, Has Relatives Here. – Special to The Journal. (1930) – ALMONTE, Ont., March 10 – Thomas W. Comba, stationary engineer, of Pakenham, met a tragic death today when be lost his life through an explosion in the boiler room of the sawmill of Needham and Snedden. He was 65 years of age. Mr. Comba was in the boiler room alone at noon when the boiler burst and the escaping steam enveloped him. The force of the explosion closed the doors, but he smashed the windows and some men on the outside pulled him through. He was taken to Dr. Buttles office, but be was so severely scalded that he was rushed to Rosamond Memorial Hospital, at Almonte, here everything possible was done to save him, but he died in half an hour after being admitted to the institution. Mr. Comba retained consciousness to the end was able to tell how the accident occurred. At one time engaged in bridge building with the C. P. R., he had spent his latter years in charge of the in Pakenham sawmill. He was widely known and highly regarded. He leaves a widow and a large family of sons and daughters. Also surviving are his mother, Mrs. Cornelius Comba of Ottawa and six brothers, John A., and Hugh W., of Winnipeg; Cornelius W., of Killarney, Man.; Herbert, Gordon F. and W. Allen Comba of Ottawa and two sisters, Miss Caroline Comba of Ottawa and Mrs. Walter Pickering of Detroit. The funeral will be held on Wednesday. The coroner, Dr. A. A. Metcalfe of Almonte has decided that inquest will be held
W. E. Scott
OBITUARY- ALMONTE GAZETTE JULY 22, 1954
WILLIAM EDWARD SCOTT
FORMER MAYOR AND WARDEN OF COUNTY DIES AT HOME HERE
Almonte lost one of its most prominent citizens on Wednesday morning (July 21, 1954) in the death of William Edward Scott, which occurred at his home on Elgin Street following an illness of several months. He had enjoyed phenomenally good health up to the latter part of 1953, and it was often remarked of him that he was one of the best preserved men in town for his age.
Born on a farm on the second line of Ramsay near Union Hall, a son of William Scott and Mary Jan Kemp, Mr. Scott was educated in the country school near his home and at Almonte High School. While a young man he went to Toronto where he worked with an undertaking firm until 1904 when he purchased the business from the late L W shipman which he carried on ever since.
50th Business Anniversary
Having taken stock, Mr. Scott reopened the store to the public on May 4th, 1904, and it was from that day that he really dated his connection with the business life on Almonte, celebrating anniversaries from time to time as the long period of years unfolded until he came to his 50th in May of this year. By that time he was in indifferent health and was confined to his home with Mr. R. A. Goodison, an experienced furniture dealer and embalmer, in charge at the store.
In the long period that has elapsed Mr. Scott was singularly successful in his own business and in municipal affairs. His first venture in public life was when he was elected as a trustee to the public school board, soon after coming here. He then migrated to the Electric Light Commission, as it was know at that time, and in 1911 became reeve. His career in the County Council was brilliant. He was an able representative of the town and when his colleagues raised him to the warden-ship in 1916 he filled that high office with ability and distinction.
Elected to Mayoralty
Having fulfilled his ambitions on the county council, Mr. Scott sought and was elected to the mayoralty of Almonte in 1918 and again in 1921 and 1924. It was during his last term that the present generating plant was constructed.
After that Mr. Scott retired to private life for a considerable time. As he often said to his friends he did not expect to come back. Bur in 1943 he was prevailed upon to seek the mayoralty once again, together with a slate of colleagues of whom he approved. He continued to hold office until 1946 when he retired again. This time in spite of pressure brought to bear on him from time to time he adhered to his decision not to re-enter public life.
He Wrought Well
During his time in the Council as Mayor, many progressive steps were taken that will live long in the memory of those fellow citizens who were old enough to appreciate them and who appreciated him. The late Mr. Scott had great administrative ability, was a good speaker and was blessed with a fine appearance. He had an alert manner, a springy step and gave the impression of being capable and able to grasp a subject without much exertion. He always felt it was rather a unique distinction to have been mayor of the town when World Ward One ended and again when World War Two was concluded.
Had Many Interests
He was a member of Mississippi Lodge, AF & AM and a past master; also a member of Granite Chapter. He belonged to the Presbyterian Church up to the time of union and later to the United Church. He was interested in many forms of sport. These included hockey, which he always supported, golf which he played in late years, curling and fishing. He was one of the charter members of the Pickerel Point Fishing Club and up to a few years ago enjoyed going to White Lake for a holiday.
Taken all around Ed, as he was known to so many, was an outstanding citizen of the town who will be sadly missed in many ways.
In 1906, Mr. Scott married the late Effie Helen James who predeceased him in December 1931. A daughter and son survive in this first family, namely, Marjorie (Mrs. C R MacDowall), Carleton Place and Allan, an Ottawa South druggist. In 1938, he married Loretta Foy of Almonte who survives him together with three children: Judith, Robert and Kevin.
Mr. Scott was one of a family of six-two brothers and four sisters. Of these only three sisters survive, namely Mrs. John Robertson, (Jean) of Edmonton; Mrs. Robert Young, (Lucinda) of Almonte and Mrs. William Banning, (Addie) of Carleton Place. He was predeceased by one sister, Mrs. Frank Alexander (Minnie) and by a brother John A Scott of Toronto
The funeral was held from the family residence, Elgin Street, Friday July 23, 1954 with Rev J Ray Anderson conducting the service.
The following acted as honourary pallbearers: Edward James, W A James, John Lindsay, R J France, George Hourigan, D W Snedden, E P Coady, James Abram, William Anderson, James Connery, D K Fraser, Lorne James, Louis Peterson, William Shaver.
Active pallbearers were nephews: Roy Robertson, Ernest Robertson Robert A Young, John E Young, Kenneth Scott and Morley K Alexander .
22 Sep 1906
A fire, the most disastrous In the history of the town, broke out here this morning about 4 o’clock, and before it was brought under control laid waste eight of our finest stores” and four residences, inflicting a loss of $125,000, with Insurance amounting to $75,000. The fire, which was of mysterious origin, started in the back sheds of W. E. Scott and W. E. West, Mill street, the main thoroughfare of the town, and involved the destruction of the following places:
H. H. Cole’s brick departmental store, boots, shoes and clothing; Fulton Timmins, gentlemen’s furnishings, brick store, nearly all covered by insurance, owned by T. R. White; W. E. Scott, furniture dealer, frame building, owned by T. W. Shipman.
Miss Cairns’ fancy work store, owned by T. W. Shipman; M. R. MacFarlane’s drug store, brick, everything lost except show-case and books, owned by Elizabeth Paterson; W. West’s general store, one of the largest in town, owned by Geo. Paterson; W. Belton & Co., general store, owned by Jas. H. Wylle; Miss Clement, millinery store. read- Miss Clement’s Hat Studio Almonte
On Farm Street following residences were burned: John Slison, tenant of Elizabeth Paterson; Sidney Lawlar and William Lockhart, tenants of J. K. Cole, and John Hartnett. tenant of T. R. While. The town is without waterworks, but a powerful engine pumped up water from the river and did effective work being reinforced shortly after 5 o’clock by the arrival of the Carleton Place engine and fire brigade. Other streams used were two from Wylle’s woollen mills, one from the Anchor Knitting mill, one from Young Bros, foundry. and one from the Almonte Knitting Mill.
Dr Metcalfe–Photo Doug McLean who is a descendant of the Blairs from Clayton. (Rose Mary Sarsfield)
Nov. 15 1926…
Friction, antagonism and’ open quarrelling which are said to have, characterised the proceedings of the Almonte Electric Light Commission during the past year, came to a head at the last meeting of the board in the council chamber when the three members engaged in a free-for-all battle.
One of the members of the commission today bears a badly scarred face as the result of the fracas. Mayor Metcalfe, George L. Comba and F. D. Hogan were the participants In the battle. The two latter have been in opposition to the mayor during all the year, but the latter has always been ready with challenge to their attitude. The trouble culminated at the last meeting when the mayor called for a report in regard to the application of a local firm for a power installation.
This was refused by Messrs. Comba and Hogan. High words and threats began and then began a physical encounter. Mayor Metcalfe in his younger days had quite a reputation as an athlete and managed to withstand the onset of the other two. A chair figured in the early part of the battle and when it was smashed the mayor managed to get hold of one of the rungs which he used with such effect that Mr. Comba had to be taken to a doctor and have his features repaired. One of his eyes was closed by a blow from Mayor Metcalfe’s fist. At the end of the battle the council chamber was a scene of great disorder. There was blood about the walls and floor, chairs were broken and desks thrown into disarray. As an aftermath of the battle Mr. Comba has announced that he will oppose Mayor Metcalfe for the mayoralty at the coming civic elections and a warm contest is expected.
Linda, for your post of Comba’s Furniture and under AT THE RECORD BAR – her is my record player and some of my records that came from Comba’s when they were situated where the Blossom Shop is. Not to give away my age but that was nearly 70 years ago. You can probably see the record player is by Decca!
I think I told this story about sitting on the counter at the back of the story where all the records were – Mrs. Comba would play the record for us and if we liked it my Mom would buy it. I remember this very vividly!–Linda Gallipeau-Johnston
New George L. Comba School Opened Officially at Almonte – ALMONTE, March 21.–(Special) – The official opening of the new $80,000 George L. Comba Public School took place Friday night and a large gathering was on hand to see Mr. Comba hand the key over to Principal John C. Sutherland. The four-classroom school which accommodates 140 pupils was named in honor of Mr. Comba for his 35 years service as secretary-treasurer of the Public School Board. The school, which is H-shaped, has a combined area of 5,800 square feet. It was built in such a way that additional classrooms could be added in the future without changing the oil-heating system. Howard Davey was the general contractor and included in the list of sub-contractors were J. H. Martin of Almonte, who did the heating, plumbing, and ventilation, and A. W. Smith of Almonte who did the lighting. Senior School. D. Ward McGill, chairman of the Public School Board, acted as chairman for the opening ceremonies and Mayor Alex McDonald welcomed the guests. In receiving the key from Mr. Comba, Mr. Sutherland said he hoped to see the school grow and develop from a junior to a senior school.. Grades one to six are now being taught by Mr. Sutherland and the following staff: Miss A. Gillie, Miss M. Turner and Mrs. M. Turner. Arthur W. Smith, president of the Almonte branch of the Canadian Legion, made the presentation of the school flag and commended the school board for their work in the new project. J. W. Barber, inspector of public schools, spoke briefly and said everyone should feel proud and give, thanks for the new school. There would have to be many sacrifices made, however, until it was paid for. Dedication of the new school and the closing benediction was given by Rev. F. F. Reade of Almonte. During the evening Miss Judy DeSadeleer made the presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. G. L. Comba in appreciation for her services helping her husband carry out his duties during his recent illness. Members of the local Scouts were on hand to help during the ceremony and included in the guest list were the present, school board along with last year’s members and members of the town council. At the close of the evening Mrs. John Sutherland and Mrs. George L. Comba poured tea and refreshments were served.
Wendy DecaireAhh, my sweet great Uncle George. I think Kathy may have that photo at our family home. It may be dated. Early 50s
IN TORONTO TOMORROW, flying squads of Red Cross volunteers will conduct a blitz of the downtown area. Shown here are Tanya Patterson, Kay Gilmour and Eileen Comba, who display a placard telling of planned efforts of 350 fund-raise
The Co-operative Nursery School of Almonte
The school has its origins in a private nursery school founded by Doris Comba in 1959. By 1960, the school had relocated to its present location. In 1973, the parents decided to establish a co-operative and since then it has been a non-profit organization. It operates and is regulated by the Childcare and Early Year Act of Ontario.
In 1932 the girls began inter-scholastic play in a two day elimination tournament, which served as the County championship. Mrs. Maisie Cowan came to teach Physical Education at the High School in 1938, and put together some strong teams. The 1944-45 Junior team won the Lanark County title . Team members included Catherine Jamieson, Betty Houston, Vivian Naismith, Emily Comba, Margery Royce, Alice Jamieson, Doreen Sinett, Rita Young, Noreen Moncur and Joan Brydges
George Leslie Comba Birthdate:1891 (66) Birthplace:Pakenham, ON, Canada Death:1957 (66) Almonte, ON, Canada Immediate Family: Son of Charles Comba and Jenny Comba Husband of Emily Louise Comba Father of Murray Lawrence Comba and Emily Louise Comba Brother of Annie Maud Comba; Leslie (Lizzie) Esme Emma Comba; Thomas Ernest Comba; Charles Comba; Mary Alice Comba and 4 others Occupation:Mayor.
My mother was Doris Comba and she was married to Murray (funeral director on Church street)I lived there from 1949 to 1952. I remember Donnie Petersen, a good friend who lived behind us. We lived on Church street across from Comba’s funeral home, also Jerry Keeley and his whole family, very good friend. Remember diving off front bridge and also into the flume off the railroad bridge. My cousin was Hugh Mcmullan; he lived in the big stone house just up from the Flour Mill on Main Street.
Remember Stan and Jessie Morton and their children, used to go to the Ball games at the fairgrounds on summer nights. Swam at Donaldson’s and Murray used to take us kids to the big Rock at Blakeney as well as the rapids. Loved going with Donnie to his Dad’s Ice Cream Factory, worked there a couple of summers with Mr.Thorpe, Archie and the rest of the crew, My mom worked as Mr. Petersens Bookkeeper for awhile and then for Harry Gun at the IGA market before she married Murray. Had a crush on Judy Guthrie and Sylvia Gale back when the world was young. Would love to hear from any who knew me way back then. The best years of my life, at least as a kid–Jack De Sadeleer Australia from almonte.com
George Leslie who once owned the Leslie/Comba building on Bridge Street was playing a game of checkers with another local merchant one day. A customer came in and paid 50 cents on his account as you could do that in those days. George, not wanting to be bothered never looked up and told the customer just to leave it on the checker board.
Just as the game was ending Reverend McNair of the Seventh Line Kirk congregation made his daily call and approached the two gents playing with a big smile. Well that smile soon turned into a frown as George Leslie ending the checker game told his opponent quite emphatically,
With that George stood up and put the 50 cents in his pocket. It was said after that the the good reverend never visited the store again.
Last Days Of Beckwith Auld Kirk
The last of the five ministers of the Seventh Line Kirk congregation was the Rev. Walter Ross, M.A. He was inducted there in 1862. For nineteen years he continued to serve his congregation, both at the Old Kirk building and after the move to Carleton Place and Franktown. In 1875 he changed his place of residence to Carleton Place, where he died in 1881. He was the father of A. H. D. Ross, M.A., M.F., whose history of “Ottawa Past and Present” was published in 1927. His successor for nine years was the Rev. Duncan McDonald, M.A., a graduate of Queen’s University, inducted at Carleton Place in 1882, who was followed by the Rev. Robert McNair and in 1897 by the Rev. G. A. Woodside, M.A., later of Winnipeg.
Playfair-Brown—Married, at the residence of the bride’s uncle, William Brown of Carleton Place, on the 26th Sept., by Rev. R. McNair, B.A., Mr. Robert Bruce Playfair of Playfairville to Miss Bertha Brown of Fallbrook.
McNeelay-White—Married, at the residence of the bride’s parents in Beckwith on the 17th October, by Rev. H. McNair, Mr. Alfred McNeelay, son of Mr. William McNeelay, Esq., of Beckwith to Miss Maggie White, daughter of Mr. Malcolm White, Esq.
Pierson-Tucker—Married, at Carleton Place on Wed., 8th Nov., by Rev. Robert McNair, at the residence of the bride’s parents, Lake Avenue, Mr. Edward Albert Pierson of Calumet, P.Q., to Miss Sarah Ada Tucker of Carleton Place.
Stewart Comba Furniture later opened in 1962 at 43 Bridge Street, also known as the Leslie Building. Built in 1895, it was home to Jacob Leslie’s furniture and undertaking business. This was taken over by W.H. Matthews in 1915 and later operated by Alan Barker.-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
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.
Years ago in the early 60s Gemmil Comba sold the “Comba” building on Bridge Street in a real estate deal and Comba had no idea what the future would hold for the three-storey block. Mr. Comba and his son Stewart had operated the furniture business since 1936 when the former had purchased the Taylor Block as the property was once known. The Taylor block was once considered once of the largest blocks of property in the Carleton Place section.
The Taylor block then consisted of a furniture business, ladies ready to wear and a hardware store on the ground floor. The second and third floors were apartments and at that time a large area of the upper floors were unoccupied. Years ago a large area on the north side on the third floor was turned into a bowling alley. This was later discontinued when the owner William Irwin built a new alley on the main street which was once owned by Laurie Melrose.
About 1936 Comba made his first business venture starting up a second-hand shop in the former Legion building or McRostie block. Later he had the opportunity of purchasing the rambling Taylor block which once stretched through to Beckwith Street. Once in possession he made full use of the large floor area and proceeded to build up a strong furniture business. After WWII he was joined by his son after he returned from overseas.
Did you know that the Taylor Block was once home to Eaton’s and the original Eaton’s safe is still in the basement?
Norma Ford— We rented a 2 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor in 1964 and 65 for $35.00 a month from Mr. Comba, no lease back then. He was a super landlord and looked after his apartments. All those stairs were wicked though.
Linda Gallipeau-Johnston-– Stu Comba was so accommodating esp. when buying furniture – always throwing something in for free and not only were the stairs wicked but THAT ELEVATOR!!!!!!