Tag Archives: Henry Schwerdtfeger

So was there Money Hidden in the Schwerdtfeger House?


Bertha Mayhew Schwerdtfeger, wife of Henry Schwerdtfeger & mother of Hazel & Gladys Schwerdtfeger

All  Photos from  the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


A few years ago at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum we did a well-attended hat show in memory of Bertha Schwerdtfeger who once had a hat store where the As Good as New store is on Bridge Street. Bertha Mayhew ended up marrying the tobacconist named Henry Schwerdtfeger next door and after she married she retired from her business and had two daughters Hazel and Gladys. Much has been told about the two odd sisters of Lake Ave West, but I wish I would have met them as they were quite the characters.

Gladys died in 1982 and Hazel died a few years later. There were rumours abound about those two gals and very few had been invited inside their home. It has been said time and time again if you were called to fix something in the house once you went in that house you were locked in until lunch or quitting time. As few ever got inside the front door you can imagine they came in droves to the huge estate sale that was held after Hazel died.


The museum inherited many old millinery trims and feathers from Bertha’s old shop. Some of the visitors to the exhibit said they had never seen anything like it before. A few feathered birds were still even filled with traces of arsenic, as that is how hat accessories were made in those days.


As hundreds sat in that yard that day buying bits and pieces of Carleton Place history tales of those two sisters continued. Truth be told, no one might have come into their home but the two of them did participate in the various senior events around the area. As you can imagine the two two sisters were very close and they used to walk one behind the other on the streets of Carleton Place when they attended church or went shopping.

Hazel became a nurse and only worked a short timeher mother Bertha became ill. After their mother died the two sisters stayed in the home until Gladys died in 1982 and Hazel now found herself alone. A neighbour, the late Joan Kehoe then became Hazel’s closest friend and helped her with what she could.


So that day the contents of the Schwerdtfeger family home was sold in its entirety and one more page was turned forever on another one of Carleton Place’s older families. But, since there were rumours abound about the sisters, it was said that they kept money hidden in the house. Like one of those lucky buyers on Storage Wars word travelled quickly that someone had bought a box of odds and ends containing $2000 of King George’s bills.

Auctioneer Howard McNeely denied it so did Joan Kehoe who had packed every single box. The both of them were probably quite correct, but you still hear the whispers on the streets of Carleton Place about the Schwerdtfeger house on Lake Ave West that was supposedly full of money.



Linda Gallipeau-Johnston I My Mom knew the sister’s well as they bought garden produce from her every year. I can remember them dickering over price. My Dad used to refinish furniture for them and the same dickering went on. They were just part of the package of living back then.


Related reading:

The Schwerdtfegerisms of Tobacco and Gambling

Bertha Schwerdtfeger — Mother of the Carleton Place Schwerdtfeger Sisters

The Schwerdtfegerisms of Tobacco and Gambling


old chum

A long time ago boys hounded their fathers when they bought their tobacco. You see there was a picture of an actress enclosed in each package or can of Old Chum smoking tobacco. Sometimes if you got really lucky a young lad might be able to acquire a picture of a lady in street attire- or even better- a chorus girl!




Henry Schwerdtfeger parked his vehicle outside his Tobacco shop at 33 Bridge Street, (currently the As Good As New store) with his advertisement painted on the side. The’500′ sessions were held each week in the back room of Henry Schwerdtfeger’s store. Henry would greatly enjoy the grouching of some of his players whether it made no difference to him if they were winning or not.




 - SALE BY TENDER Sealed tenders will be received...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  18 Jun 1945, Mon,  Page 19

The Swerdfeger block on Bridge Street has been purchased by Mr. McCullough of Ottawa who is a photographer. Mr. McCullough will occupy the upstairs apartment and the smaller store as his office downstairs. He plans to rent the balance of the premises. Mr. Swerdfeger has spent most of his time in Burritt’s Rapids for the past two years where he operates a general store. His wife and daughter Marilyn will join him there. Mr. Swerdfeger purchased the property and business ten years ago from Mr. and Mrs. Allan Johnson. The new owner takes over on August 15th– August 1958