Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 27, 2017

Iroquois and Ontario Hydro Fair treatment!


The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Ontario Hydro Project meant that 280 homes and 1,100 people had to be relocated in Iroquois.  Not all homeowners liked Hydro’s “generous terms” as witnessed by this sign put up by Clifford Martin of Iroquois.

In Iroquois, 30 to 40 landowners were expropriated.  These people farmed at Iroquois Point.  One farmer contested the offer he received from Hydro because he owned a valuable orchard with trees in varying stages of development.  His demands for the trees were so high the case had to go to the Exchequer Court, where a separate valuation was made for each tree – before all parties were satisfied.

More information and numerous photographs of the St. Lawrence Project are to be found in Quarry Press’ new publication THE LIVING RIVER -secrets of the St. Lawrence, from Montreal to Cornwall to Prescott.  Written by Lor Pelton and Ian Bowering.

The book is available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $30, or for information email:



A coloured turn of the 19th century plate showing a popular image of Pitt St. looking north from First St.

The transfer mark on the back says:  Victoria (crown) Austria.  (Made in Austria).

Round:  dia.  15.5 cm; matte finish.  On display in the archive room at the museum.

This is part of a souvenir set that includes a larger dish and shaving mug and probably more.  Acquired by the museum in 2005 at a local flea market.

scan0044The image on the plate could have been taken and modified from any number of postcards, such as the above example that depict a similar scene.

This postcard was published by R.M. Pitts & Co., Cornwall, ca. 1900.


This postcard shows the scene looking south down Pitt from 2nd St., ca. 1900.


Posted by: Media Manager | February 25, 2017

The Historic View from City Hall

Much like several other Cornwall neighbourhoods, the 300 block of Pitt Street has changed a great deal, even since the late 1970s.


In our aerial photo, the current main Fire Station,  City Hall and the Justice Building are in evidence; gone are the old Police Station and Fire Hall, but some of the former commercial outlets are still visible on that west side of the street, such as Gallinger Electric where RBC operates today.


Some will fondly recall Kennedy’s Soda Bar.


Continuing north were Stormont Stationers and the original Cornwall Cable Vision (precursor to Cogeco.)


Cornwall’s original Town Hall was on Pitt Street near Water (part of the United Counties complex today.) Town Hall relocated closer to its current location, expanded and then was replaced by a more modern structure.


This building, immediately south of the current City Hall, housed the Police Station and the Fire Hall.



The current City Hall in the 1950s.


Just around the corner, near the current main Fire Station, was a drinking fountain, for both man and beast.


Behind City Hall.


Behind the old Fire Hall.


The hose drying tower behind the old Fire Hall.


And, from the “yellow era”, a fire truck in 1991.


Most of the historic businesses along the east side of Pitt in that block are gone, although a few of the buildings remain.

The service stations on the east corners of Pitt Street at Fourth were replaced by a submarine shop and a medical clinic. The taxi dispatch is the site of a funeral home today.


Continuing south, gone are Legare’s Furniture (333), Central Bowlaway (329), and Ross Service Cleaners (323).


Central Bowlaway became Central Billiards; both have ceased to exist. The LCBO has been replaced by an eatery. The other buildings all serve other uses today.


Reg Woodward’s Club Restaurant was known for heated political conversation, perhaps more so than for the menu.


The 1947 vs 1963 Fire Insurance Maps show some of the evolution. A park previously occupied the space used by City Hall and the main Fire Station.


What great historic Cornwall photos are in your albums and shoe boxes? Why not share a few with our readers. E-mail Don at .

These are but a few of the many great images housed in the SD&G Historical Society Archives at your Cornwall Community Museum.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 22, 2017

Photograph of the Week. Cornwall’s Elephant Parade.


Circus elephants parade through Cornwall, late 1800s.

…some young Cornwall lads learned that the circus was going to pass through Cornwall in the middle of the night, depriving our citizens of the circus parade parade.  The boys had learned that elephant enjoyed raw potatoes.  With this knowledge they set out to thwart the circus master’s plans by scattering several bushels of small potatoes along the circus route to entice them to stay awhile.  The boys then hid in bushes to watch.

“About two a.m. the sound of wheels was heard as the cavalcade approached the sleeping town.  There was the elephant, striding majestically between several strings of wagons.  Suddenly he stopped, and began feeling about the road with his trunk.  He struck a potato.  The keeper did everything he could to get the beast moving, but the elephant began a slow zig-zag course along the road, fearful of missing one of his gastronomical treats.  A rosy tint eventually began to appear in the sky and still the cavalcade moved at a snails-pace while the star attraction did not miss a single potato.  The upshot was that the circus entered Cornwall long after day break” (Elinor Senior, pg. 194), and Cornwall was rewarded with a free circus show.”

Learn more about Cornwall’s relationship with elephants in Quarry Press’ new book THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, by Ian Bowering and Lor Pelton.

Available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $30.

For more information email:



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 21, 2017

The steamship “Corsican.”

scan0040The Richelieu and Ottawa Steamship “Corsican” entering what appear to be the eastern entrance of the Cornwall Canal, circa 1900.


The Corsican rounding Point Iroquois.

The Corsican was built in Montreal in 1870.

She struck a rock as she was entering the Gallop Canal in 1881 and was run ashore.  She sank while being towed.  Repaired and then refloated, she succumbed to fire in 1907.

For more details and images about the Corsican and other St. Lawrence River steamboats, see Quarry Press’s newly published book:


The book is available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $30, for additional information email:




Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 20, 2017

Clothes hanger, J.F. Abbott & Co., Cornwall, ca. 1910.


A wooden hanger from  Cornwall tailor, JF Abbott, ca. 1910.

If the item was made in Cornwall in the Museum is interested in it!


J.F. Abbott. 1901.  The business opened in 1878 and was located in the Liddell Block on Pitt St.


Abbott had two Cornwall locations, one on Pitt St., and a second on Marlborough.



These are just a sample of the documents in the archives at the Cornwall Museum relating to Abbott and other Cornwall businesses.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 16, 2017

St. Lawrence River Rapids.

scan0029Shooting the Rapids du Plat across from Morrisburg.

Descending the St. Lawrence rapids on a steamship from Brockville to Montreal  was a major tourist attraction from the 1890s to the late 1940s.

scan0030A 19th century stereoscope card taken by the Notman Studios showing a steamer descending the Long Sault Rapids.

A passenger on a descent of the Long Sault wrote that it was “a continuous rapid of 9 miles divided in the centre by an island…

The steamer, after fully entering the rapid, rushes along at the rate of something like 20 miles an hour, the steam is shut off, and she is carried along by the force of the current alone.  The surging waters present all appearance of the ocean in a storm, but unlike the ordinary pitching and tossing at sea, this going downhill by water produces a highly novel sensation…


Cedar Rapids

‘At first sight, this rapids has the appearance of the ordinary rapids, but once the steamer has entered it the turbulent waters and pitching about renders the passage very exciting…”


Split Rock

“So called from its enormous boulders at the entrance.  A person unacquainted with the navigation of these rapids will almost involuntarily hold his breath until this ledge, which is distinctly seen from the deck of the steamer is passed.  At one time the vessel seems to be running directly upon it, and you almost feel certain that she will strike, but a skilful hand is at the helm, and in an instant more it is passed in safety…”


The complete trip from Brockville to Montreal is described and supplemented by numerous historic photographs in the book THE LIVING RIVER – secrets of the St. Lawrence, published by Quarry Press, and now available at the Cornwall Community Museum and from Quarry Press for $30.

To order by mail or for any inquiries email



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 16, 2017

Artifact of the Week – Hair combs.


A plastic “tortoise shell” hair comb decorated with red and yellow stones.  Donated to the Museum in the 1950s.  13.9 cm x 13 cm.

scan0027Art deco plastic amber hair comb, 13.3 cm x 5.4 cm, circa 1920.  Donated by Mrs. S. Freeburn of Moulinette in 1957.


A metal Edwardian hair comb, 11.2 cm x 10.2 cm, donated by Mrs. Shaver of Lunenburg in 1957.



220 pages long and packed with over 170 rare photographs, this new history of the river by Quarry Press is now available by visiting the Cornwall Community Museum in the Wood House or emailing:

On Saturday Feb. 18, the book will also be for sale at the HERITAGE FAIR at the Cornwall Square.

Cost:  $30

Okay the sales pitch is over.

Chapters:  Discovering the St. Lawrence Valley;

The Defended Waterfront;

The Gilded Age of the St. Lawrence;

Bridges over the St. Lawrence;

Riverboats and Wrecks;

St. Lawrence Seaway;

Lost Villages.

ICE JAMS on the ST. LAWRENCE – sample


Men walking on a St. Lawrence River ice-jam, in front of Cornwall, circa 1920.

On January 30, 1929, the Cornwall “Standard-Freeholder” reported:


The St. Lawrence River passing the south (east of the town)…went on a rampage about 5:30 p.m. and as a result residents of this (area) a distance of  150 feet from the usual summer edge of the river were marooned in their homes by the on-rush of ice and water almost as quickly as it takes to relate it.


Mr. D. Cline on the river’s ice-jam that caused the flooding, January 23, 1929.

People in the locality were preparing for the evening meal at the time and operatives were returning home…when they heard a roar and a rush of water as the ice shoved and in a twinkling water rushed over the  banks and across lots and into gardens and cellars and homes were surrounded by a raging torrent before the people had time to realize exactly what had happened.


Male members of the families affected, at once set about to effect the rescue of their wives and children and so rapidly did the water rise that within a few minutes those living nearest the river had to desert…

scan0024Eileen Adams, on the ice in front of Flanigan’s Point, March 1942.


A house “torn down by the ice shove,” Mille Roches, January 29, 1918.


Posted by: Media Manager | February 14, 2017

Pitt Street – 200+300 Block

This parade photo shows historic businesses along the east side of Pitt Street, including, in the 300 block, Central Billiards (329), Ross Service Cleaners (323), the LCBO store (317), Club Restaurant (315), Cornwall Cycle Shop (311), and Henry’s Smoke Shop (309). Further south in the 200 block we see Tip Top Tailors Ltd (263), Simpson-Sears Ltd order office (261), London Life Insurance Co. (259), Fournier Furniture Ltd (253), Bell Telephone Co. of Canada (249), the Palace Theatre (235) and others as well as some in the 100 block, notably Clark’s Shoe Store (145) and the New York Cafe (129).


The photo is from the Fire Department’s 1960-61 Scrapbook, which was donated to the Historical Society.

This is one of many historic photos preserved at your Cornwall Community Museum and Archives.

Older Posts »


Historic Cornwall Jail

Cornwall Justice (In the Clink)

Cornwall Industry

A Cornwall Community Museum Blog

Streets of Cornwall

Pitt St. and Beyond

Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

A Cornwall Community Museum Publication

Cornwall Community Museum

In The Wood House at the waterfront, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada