Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – July 8th to 15th, 1958

We can assume that Ken Somers, the Free Press photographer, was on holiday during this week in 1958. The only “staff photos” in the two papers were from the regional correspondents and Penetang staff photographer Vern Farrow, for which we do not have the negatives.

   We will cut and paste the photos of interest but this will be a sparse edition. 

  Formalities of his induction as minister of Midland’s St. Paul’s United Church behind him, Rev. Wilson Morden enjoys a cup of tea with J. W. Smith, Mrs. Morden, and Mrs. T. M. McCullough. Despite the hot July night, there was a good turn-out of St. Paul’s members and visitors from other Midland congregations present to welcome the successor to Rev. W. R. Auld.


  • The Free Press Herald headline of July 9th, 1958; Cottagers Tempers Flare in Beach Ditch Battle. Two ditches dug across Mountainview Beach from the lot line to the water line are about as hot an issue in Tiny Township this week as was one other “ditch” in the Near East about three years ago. One of the Mountainview ditches was filled in Saturday afternoon on orders issued by the Tiny council. By Sunday morning, another had been dug within 50 feet of the first. Local resident Mr. McDermott claimed the ditches had been dug by owners to prevent cars from driving on the beach. Mountainview Beach is situated immediately south of D’Aoust’s Bay. A section of the beach had been used as a roadway on the beach front. The cottager said that, on the previous Sunday afternoon, “hot rodders” were making a “drag strip” of the beach. “These young punks race up and down going at least 60 miles an hour and cut figure eights,” he claimed.
  • The County Herald headline of July 11, 1958; Land-use Survey Report Urges Forest Expansion. The four townships were examined by a group of foresters in 1952-55, who made a survey of the woodlots and who examined the land area for forest crop production. Appropriate ratings were suggested for forestry, agriculture, and pasture for different land characteristics. A brief historical sketch of the area shows that prior to 1650, a moderately large portion of the area was cleared and farmed by Huron tribes who at one time numbered at least 30,000. Many of their needs for food, medicine, clothing and building materials were largely supplied by the forest. Between 1650 and 1800 the area was largely uninhabited and returned to forest. Settlement of the area began along the main access roads just before 1800 and was increased after the War of 1812. Today the survey area, more than 284,000 acres in extent, has more than 159,000 acres (56.07 percent of its area) of land used for agriculture, nearly 93,000 acres (32.67 percent) of natural woodland, and nearly 11,000 acres (3.8%) of planted forest. The remainder is roads, railways, towns, inland water, scrub, and swamp area. Writers of the report feel that the total forest area should be increased by about five percent. Rural population in 1955 was 11,613 and the urban population 16,607.
  • A new Sputnik is in orbit at Midland’s Little Lake Park. While it won’t contribute anything to the International Geophysical Year, it’s giving local youngsters a whale of a time. The Sputnik is the newest addition to the playground equipment near the Indian village in the park. Made of metal tubing, it resembles a rocket on a launching pad with a round earth satellite at the tip. It is designed so children can clamber up through the rocket and drop to the ground from its tip. Dozens of children were lining up to play on it as soon as it was firmly fixed in its cement base. The attraction is the gift of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club, first of the town’s service clubs to respond to an appeal by the parks commission for assistance in providing playground equipment. Parks Commission chairman W. Murray said more help was needed to equip the popular playground. (I saw the spaceship in a backyard along the Old Fort Road a couple of weeks ago.)
  • Between 600 and 700 members of four Orange Lodges in Midland are expected to take part in what may be the largest, “Glorious Twelfth” parade ever held in Simcoe County, at Collingwood Saturday. Held as part of Collingwood’s centennial year, the celebration is expected to attract hundreds of lodges from Simcoe East, South and West County lodges. All but one of the 14 lodges in Simcoe East are expected to march in the parade. The four Midland lodges are Maple Leaf LOL 947, Lady Parkhill LOBA (Ladies’ Orange Benevolent Association), Orange Young Britons, and the girls’ juvenile lodge. Other Simcoe East lodges included Penetang, Coldwater, Wyevale, Waverley, Vasey, Elmvale, Allenwood, Warminster, Uhthoff, Orillia, Hawkestone, and Craighurst.
  • Two former members who played a large part in the history of both Midland YMCA and its famed Camp Kitchikewana are to be honored in ceremonies at the camp on Beausoleil Island Sunday. A new chapel at Kitchikewana is to be dedicated as a memorial to the late Mr. and Mrs. Norman Playfair of Midland. Several friends and relatives of the Playfairs have contributed funds towards the restoration of the chapel, badly damaged in a wind storm last year. (Photos next week)
  • Sharon Park, daughter of Mr. and, Mrs. Clive Park, Midland, suffered minor injuries Thursday afternoon in Little Lake Park, which required a few stitches to close a cut in her forehead. Sharon, apparently, was pushing her bicycle downgrade from the trailer section in the park when its weight became too much for her and she ran into the back of a car owned by Rev. M. E. Rueber of Stratford. She was taken to the hospital, treated and then released.
  • Midland’s award-winning Citizens’ Band presented its second concert of the season to a bumper crowd in Little Lake Park, Sunday night. Estimates of the crowd, which was seated in front of the bandstand and in hundreds of cars nearby, ran from 800 to 1,000 persons. The band directed by Bandmaster Al Hume and for one number by the new Midland Salvation Army Officer, 2nd Lieut. George Swaddling played a varied program of hymns, marches and classical selections. They received their greatest applause and car-horn ovation after playing Holiday Sketches, the Waterloo festival test piece for which they won the senior division brass band title.
  • Since Stephen Leacock’s death 14 years ago, Orillians have never ceased to perpetuate his fame; and to bind it to the town he loved. So said William Arthur Deacon, Globe and Mail literary critic, at the luncheon preceding the opening of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Home there Saturday. “Your first effort,” recalled Mr. Deacon, “was the establishment of the Leacock Medal for Humour”. Today there are 15 national, annual literary prizes; but only one bears the name of a famous Canadian writer.
  • Births; Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Simms are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Dianne Lea, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, on Saturday, June 28, 1958, a sister for Margaret Ann. Mr. and Mrs. Ken Snider are proud to announce the arrival of a son, a brother for Kathy, at Penetang General Hospital, July 2.
  • “The best piece of copper we have found on this site to date”, was the comment of Dr. Wilfrid Jury as he displayed an Indian spearhead found this week on the Forget site, southwest of Wyebridge. The spear point was turned up in the ‘dump’ of the centuries-old Indian village where students at the University of Western Ontario Summer School of Indian Archaeology are receiving field training. The Penetang girl who unearthed nine pieces of copper during last year’s “dig” was no more excited and thrilled than Patricia Teeple of Tillsonburg who made the latest find. The new discovery is believed to be of Lake Superior copper which had been forged cold from a single piece of virgin copper ore. “The Indians of that time had no knowledge of smelting, and although at times they would weld two pieces of ore together by the simple expedient of hammering, this one is all one chunk,” Dr. Jury said. The spearhead is seven and one-half inches in length overall and one inch at the widest point. It is excellently tapered from the narrow rolled helved portion at the base to the widest point about midway. The head then tapers again to a sharp point.
  • High school student 16, requires any kind of summer job. Apply 119 Hanly St., Midland.
  • Editorial – The Barrie TV station, which was seeking a reporter in the Midland-Penetang area, seems to have found the answer in the columns of this newspaper. On the station’s late local newscast the other night, two stories which appeared in the July 2 issue of the Free Press Herald were read word for word as published the day before. Up to the present, the news coverage for the telecast has been credited to the facilities of the Toronto Telegram and the station’s staff. Now it should include “and the Free Press Herald.”
  • Editorial – With the train to Mariposa now a thing of the past, and a cut in passenger service by rail to and from Midland a distinct possibility of the near future, the iron horse will soon be as scarce in this area as old Dobbin.
  • Penetang’s share of resurfacing Robert Street W. will amount to approximately $900. The total cost of the job is estimated at $8,000. This fact was brought out at Monday night’s meeting of Penetang council when an agreement between the county and the town was read. The agreement calls for one and one-half inches of hot-mix asphalt over present pavement which varies in width from 57 feet to 19 feet. Total length is given at 3,494 feet with a total of 97,000 square yards. The portion to be paved runs from the Main Street corner to the CNR tracks. It is likely some attempt will be made to eliminate a serious depression in the same street near Penetang’s water pumping station, while the resurfacing is being done. (It would be interesting to know how much has been spent on Robert St. W. over the years.)
  • A number of Tay Township taxpayers have protested the erection of eight new buildings of the summer cottage type on Parkside Drive, just west of the Midland town limits. Clerk Ralph Dalton read a petition bearing 17 signatures at Tuesday night’s meeting of Tay council at Victoria Harbour. The group asks that council halt work on the buildings on the grounds that sections of building bylaw 1692 are being violated. Cottages are being built by Mac. Perrin, Midland florist. Two were near the completed stage by Tuesday night, the council was told. Mr. Perrin said yesterday that, when he bought the property 18 years ago he had every intention of building a home on it for himself. But he said he had changed his mind and after a number of summer cottages had been erected along the street (Parkside Drive). He said he used it as a garden for a number of years until the land became “overloaded with septic tank fluid. Then it was of no use as a garden.” The Tay Township building inspector had examined the buildings and found that the only breach of the township’s building bylaw was that cement block pillars supporting the cottages were only 18 inches in the ground instead of 30 inches, Mr. Perrin said. The Midland florist felt the cottages being erected were as good and in some cases better than some of the cottages on the street. (I think Parkside Drive is the present Noreene St. but maybe Pat Cowden can clarify that?)


Going back to March 29, 1900 are some newspaper ads from the King Street merchants of the day. The paper is the Midland Free Press which appears to have been in pretty rough shape when photographed.

1900 adsadsGough Adosborne ad

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