April 1953 Almonte Gazette
While going through a box full of old photograph plates in the stockroom at the rear of D. W. Snedden’s drug store, Mr. Kenneth Johnson, who is an ardent amateur photographer, unearthed a treasure trove. Apparently the late M. R. MacFarlane, or one of his staff, followed the same hobby as Mr. Johnson. Those were the days of large cameras with glass plates almost as big as a school slate. And they made good pictures, too, as can be seen by the samples Mr. Johnson developed and which are now on display in Mr. Snedden’s drug store window.
A reproduction of one of them appears on the top section of this page. The scenes developed from the old plates recall memories for the elder generation of this town and would be appreciated by out-of town readers of the Gazette who are no longer in the junior age group.
We see among them a picture of the late Dr. Hanley sitting in his buggy in front of M. R. MacFarlane’s residence on Church Street. He wears a hard-shell hat and the horse looks tired, like most doctors’ horses did in those days.
There are pictures of Dr, Oliver MacFarlane and Jack Taylor in the knee-length pants worn by children of that period; groups of women in long skirts and big hats of their time, few of them who can be identified; splendid scenes of the old stone bridge on Main Street, the churches of the town, the town hall, the Almonte Flour Mills with the railway bridge then supported by stone piers the old steel bridge with the arches, later to be replaced by the present one; up and down views of Elgin, Church and Country Streets, and, as the auction sale bills say, many others too numerous to mention.
One of the priceless pictures shows Mr. Porritt’s ancient automobile with young MacFarlane standing on the front seat. It is said to be the first horseless carriage to arrive in Almonte, and what it did to the horses can better be imagined than described. Maybe we’ll get around to printing a picture of it one of these days. The whole collection of pictures which Mr. Johnson has resurrected is most interesting and should be grouped, framed and placed in the public library or the council chamber.
In the street scene printed above can be seen the edge of the late H. H. Cole’s store, Kelly’s Hotel which had been sold to a Mr, Me-Donald, Shorty Young’s shoe store and shoe shine, Patterson’s Drug Store, the Riddell & McAdam Building, then occupied by Wesley West; J. McKinnon’s, Shaw’s Hardware, John O’Reilly’s general store, and on the left— J . L. Hamilton, photographer, in the brick building later moved back from the street and occupied at that time as an office for Baird’s Mill, later to be used as an office for the P.U.C,, arid demolished some ten years ago; and in the distance, the clockless post office. The clock came about 1913. Read—The Mystery of the Almonte Post Office Clock –Five Minutes Fast and other Things….
You can see a lot of these photos on almonte.com
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