What’s going on at 164 Bridge Street? It looks like the current owner is stripping away the siding and exposing the brick. The brick is being painted in the same hues as the original “paint job” that was done after it was originally built. In the middle to late 19th century 164 Bridge Street belonged to Grieg Block. John Graham also operated a wagon shop there.
The house known to some as the McPherson’s House was rebuilt in 1965. It was once the residence of Mrs. McPherson and her daughter Bess who was a local telephone operator. Jack McPherson owned an insurance business and ran it from the house. Mary Cook said in January of 2007 that McPherson’s wife worked for Oscar Okilman for 25 cents an hour.
The Hanneman Family then occupied it for a period of time. Oscar Okilman owned the house when the Hanneman’s were there in the 1940’s and owned the store to the north. During the 1960’s there was an extensive fire and it has been said that it was the Okilman’s residence.
Lot 25 is rather large and it is difficult to figure out where some of the businesses and residences were actually located as there is a large parking lot between 164 and 176 Bridge Street.
Cathie Hawkins McOrmond said that the owner has built a history capsule into the walls and was excited to hear they put in the approved BIA Facade Improvement package and the BIA Downtowner in the capsule. Some day someone will find the time capsule and use it as reference. History matters, it really does!
In September of 1965 a fire broke out on our Main Street destroying what people called the “pioneer store”. Okilman’s was an institution in Carleton Place. Joann Voyce told me Okilmans was situated where the Moore House now sits. It was two attached stores, Men’s and Women’s wear and right next to what was Patterson’s Furniture Store. Rita and Moses lived in the next building south of the store. They have no idea what caused the fire that night that caused over $100,000 of damage to the three-storey structure. Firemen were called from not only Carleton Place, but also Almonte and Beckwith Township. Moses Okiliman and his wife Rita noticed smoke at 6:30 pm and hightailed it out of the building owned by his father Oscar. No one was hurt, but only a small part of the damage was covered by insurance.
The firemen believe it began in a frame addition used for storage at the rear of the store. A neighbour, Mrs. McRostie, first noticed the smoke and called the fire department. Flames from the fire were seen for miles, and it was all the firemen could do to save the neighbouring buildings.
Another fire in the 1930’s had already destroyed a portion of the store. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the Okilman’s lost everything, with Mrs. Okiliman only having time to grab her purse.
Ottawa Journal Photo of fireman by Foote 29th September, 1965.–