REMEMBER: The Bold, Bad and Beauty of Barrie History (5 photos)
To celebrate Remember This which hits the 200 article milestone, we look back at some of Mary Harris’ favorite stories
To mark 200 local history stories in Barrie today‘s’ Do you remember that?’ column, I took a look back and created a list of my all-time favorites, which wasn’t easy. So many cool people, places and events in Barrie’s past!
The real crimes:
- The 1896 murder of John Strathy in Ovenden and the trial of Michael Brennan.
- Silent footage and arson have arrived in town with the Guthrie family.
- This time the KKK came to Barrie and tried to blow up a church.
- Sidney James Sanford, a respected citizen and financier of the Grand Opera House, is missing.
- James Carruthers was the first man to be hanged in Barrie jail.
- Loud explosion of gunfire signaled the start of the shooting at the government dock
- The old Barrie chimney sweeps have taken on dangerous, poorly paid and underrated work.
- In 1947, the City of Barrie still had 205 households using an outhouse. Those who cleaned them were known as men of the soil of the night.
- Glen Ormond is truly a beauty and luckily for us she’s still on her feet.
- Roxboro was once the site of fantastic parties hosted by the Barrie Literary Society.
- A fire in 2017 attempted to destroy Lilac Villa but failed.
- Springbank was the big home of the Burton family, later Simcoe Hall, then today’s IOOF Seniors Home.
- Evidence of the fire that destroyed the original Simcoe Hotel in 1876 can still be seen.
- The peaceful Gables Park owes its name to a house that has had strange characters in its history.
- The fortune teller, Madame Larkin, was convicted of arson, but never saw it coming.
- When he died alone at the Clarkson Hotel in 1927, Thomas Baggs was nicknamed “the mystery man”.
- They say he once walked his 60 mile route in a single day. So goes the legend of Deer Foot, the nineteenth-century postman from Simcoe County.
- Percy Pelch was a colorful thief, prison breaker, fugitive, and a regular guest at Barrie Prison.
- Alton McCarthy, lawyer, politician and avid horseman was shot dead in a car crash in Toronto.
- The extraordinary story of a British military officer and his wife of Chinese descent Amoi Chun Bird.
- Brewer James Anderton died suddenly while camping in his apple orchard. Was it an act of God or something else?
- The site of the Grand Opera House on Collier Street is said to be haunted by more than one spirit.
- The stuff of great tales or a real prehistoric creature? The truth behind Kempenfelt Kelly continues to fascinate.
- Allandale’s widow Christine McKenzie met a dangerous man through a Lonely Hearts newspaper ad and has never been found.
- Theater mogul Ambrose Small disappeared in 1919, and his eccentric sisters found themselves in strange situations themselves.
- In 1900, members of the T. Eaton family raced through the city in a latest generation motor vehicle.
- In 1949, a flying object known as a helicopter, landed downtown.
- The people of Barrie were delighted to see their first plane in 1913.
- In 1922, Oscar Reid opened the first funeral home in Barrie.
- Hair bobs and perms gave birth to barbershops in Barrie.
- In 1885, the people of Barrie were very excited to be a part of the new telephone technology.
- Pizza was popularized by WWII soldiers returning from Italy. It took a little longer for it to make its way to Barrie.
- After World War I, recreational camping became popular in Barrie.
- At first, dentistry wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary.
- Until 1900, the people of Barrie listened to all their music live. That changed when the phonograph came to town.
- When a freed slave wanted to make his will, he found that he needed a name other than just George. George Darkman’s will was the first probated in Simcoe County.
- After the death of the wife and only child of the shoemaker Nicolas Cotter, he offered his house as a children’s refuge.
- The Bloomer Girls were daring young girls who had fun on their bikes while protesting Victorian clothing restrictions.
- The welcome mat was not immediately available to Chinese immigrants in Barrie.
- Some people are still forced to make their homes outside in places much like the jungle of the 1930s.
- The last man hanged in Barrie jail. Only 17 years old at the time of his arrest, Lloyd Wellington Simcoe was Aboriginal and possibly intellectually disabled. What if he’s innocent too?
- EB Crompton was the corset man. He ran the Golden Beaver, a dry goods and clothing store, on Owen and Dunlop streets until he joined his brother in making corsets.
- 42 Dunlop Street East still bears the Craig’s name in mosaic tiles. John Craig was a tailor and three times mayor of Barrie.
- Years ago, JW Gossling’s apple processing plant operated at the corner of Maple Avenue and Sophia Street.
- When the Olympia Candy Works closed in 1951, owner George Bakogeorge hosted one last big event – a celebration for Barrie Flyers players after their OHA Junior A hockey championship.
- Speculating on the ice of the lake was like playing the stock market. Before modern refrigerators, it was a big deal.
- Just hours after the start of World War II, the liner Athenia was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland with the principal of the Ovenden Ladies’ College on board.
- A typical June thunderstorm in 1890 simply did not end and resulted in a destructive flood.
- The flames have attempted to wipe out the Glebe Block no less than three times over the years.
- Anyone who lived in Barrie in the spring of 1985 will have a tornado story to tell.