Huronia Museum – 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – January 1st to 15th 1962


We have fallen behind with our weekly posts and to speed up the formatting we have included the entire front page for the first two weeks of January 1962. Double click on the pages to get a magnified view.

The photos found in this blog post are the property of Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario. Any reproduction for commercial use without permission is prohibited.  Any other distribution must credit Huronia Museum.  Please contact the museum with any questions you may have.

—continued from page 1 above – entrance and were joined by another neighbor, Charles O’Dale. Mr. Truax and Mr. O’Dale carried, the partially crippled pensioner to the home of a nearby neighbor Mrs. Lloyd Kleist who called firemen. Three of Mr. Usher’s six cats perished when they were trapped in the flaming structure. A partly burned television set and a $100 government bond was all that was saved from the gutted building. The home was a raging inferno when Midland firemen arrived at the scene. Two pieces of equipment and every available man fought the blaze in near zero weather for almost an hour before bringing it under control. Fire department officials said the home was a total loss. It was not insured. Mr. Usher, a bachelor, had lived in the home for almost 40-years since coming to Midland after the first World War. For several years he worked in the Midland Shipyards. He has been, confined to his home with arthritis for the past two years. Unable to get out he depended on the kindness of neighbors to buy his groceries and do household chores he couldn’t manage. James Lediard (another veteran) who lives nearby called on Mr. Usher every day. Until this year when an oil stove was installed, Mr.  Lediard chopped his wood and tended his fires. Usher is under doctor’s care suffering from shock. He is temporarily staying at the Maple Manor Nursing Home. [I included this because I remember Mr. Usher, as kids I think we haunted him a bit, and because as a kid, I always thought of Jim Lediard as a grumpy old guy. Little do kids know about humanity and the bond between neighbours and veterans. For reference Jim is in the picture below.]Some of the many Midland veterans who gathered for the re-union dinner of the 157th and 177th Battalions of World War I at the armory Saturday night are seen above with Mayor Charles Stevenson. Left to right are, front row, Tom White, Mr. Stevenson, Doug Wilson, Harold Sallows (Coldwater), Norman Leclair, Charlie English; back row — Jim Lediard, Art Balwill, John Noquet, Charlie Paradis and George Shakell. (This is an October 1959 photo.)

Heavy snowfalls over the weekend brought problems for motorists throughout town. Adding to the difficulties were piles of snow pushed out on to the roadways awaiting removal. This one helped add the the confusion at King and Yonge Streets.

“No Game Today” photo on the sports page. Bleachers at the Midland Ball Park covered in snow. [Used again in the January 15, 1964 Free Press on page 1 of the second section. Caption read; “WRAPPED IN SNOW” until the ball season for ’64 gets off the ground, these bleachers at Midland Ball Park look woebegone indeed. But they are a reminder that summer does eventually warm up even the north. How many of us have sat on those bleachers over the years?] 

Editorial page photo entitled; “Open to Foot Traffic Only”. 

Free Press Jan 10 1962 – Delmer “Del” Gingrich teaches motor mechanics and electricity in the new technical course at MPDHS. This is his first year of teaching but he has a sound background as an auto mechanic. Mr. Gingrich comes from Galt, but now he, with his wife and two children, are living on Dominion Avenue in Midland. As far as extracurricular activities are concerned, he is supervising the Cadet Signal Corps, believing that teaching comes first. His hobby is raising tropical fish. Mr. Gingrich says that vocational subjects teach theory, thus enabling to the boys to work with their hands as well as their heads. —Maureen Killoran 12A
[Del died at the age of 91 on January 13th of this year.] 

Largest crowd of the season is expected at Midland Arena tonight when Flyers take on the Georgian Bay intermediate “A” group leaders, Barrie Falcons. Fresh from three straight wins over the runner-up Meaford club, Flyers hope to extend their streak against the leaders. Seen above are forwards Al Battersby and Morley Spiker. The third player on the right was cropped out of the newspaper photo. He is Nelson Kennedy “Nels”. 

Larry Merkley, author of a 4-goal scoring spree in a recent OHA intermediate “C”  game in Penetang’s Community Arena, was up to his lamp-lighting tricks again Sunday afternoon as the home-town Hurons played hosts to Stayner Chevys in a district group clash. Only this time the speedy right-winger upped his single game total to seven goals in pacing Hurons to a 15-3 swamping of the visitors.

10 Years Ago
A summer resident of the district, Mrs. Flora B. Lee of St. Louis, Missouri, left a bequest of $5,000 from her $1,801,000 estate to Penetang General Hospital. * * * Montcalm Maurice polled a record 533 votes when elected deputy-reeve of Tiny Township. Reeve Arthur Downer was returned by acclamation. * * * Reeve Wilfred Savage was elected by acclamation In Victoria Harbour. * * * L. H. Taylor was elected president of the Midland Fire and Casualty Underwriters’ Association. * * * Ralph Dalton, deputy-reeve of Tay Township, was asking County Council’s roads committee for improvements on the Waverley – Coldwater road whose sharp curves he described as “very dangerous”. * * * An all-time record for snowfall had been established in Coldwater for a period to the first of the year according to the village’s weather official James Lazonby. Up to Jan. 2 Coldwater had received 115 inches of snow. * * * Leaders of 11 North Simcoe district municipalities took the first step in a joint plan to promote an expansion in tourist and industrial activities in the district. Spearheading the move, was Reeve Albert Calvert of Port McNicoll. * * * Jack Wilson was elected president of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club with Morie Whitcher as vice-president. * * * Arthur McKee, Charles Martin and Ted Cuthbert, three newcomers were elected trustees, in the first contest in many years for seats on Penetang’s Public School Board. 

Five big freighters are wintering in Port McNicoll, providing work for elevator and railway employees. In TOP picture are the Sir James Dunn and the Whitefish Bay, the latter carrying the largest cargo ever to dock at the elevator. Ships in BOTTOM picture, left to right, are the John O. McKellar, Scott Misener and J. N. McWatters. 

Long lines from the sterns to dockside signify the end of another shipping season for these three giants of the Great Lakes, tied up at the CPR elevator in Port McNicoll. In all, five ships wintering at Port brought a record 3,450,000 bushels of winter storage grain. 

Expertly executed, this giant “snow woman” on a lawn on the south end of Manley Street proved a traffic-stopper last week.  (Not built by D. and K. Battrick)


Only a shell remains of this small frame dwelling owned by old age pensioner James Usher at 368 College Street, Midland, after fire raged through the interior Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Usher was attempting to thaw out frozen water pipes when the fire occurred. He escaped with only the clothes he was wearing. 

Action like this kept a near-capacity house at Arena Gardens on the edge of their seats Wednesday night as the Midland Flyers downed the Barrie Falcons 8-3. Flyer goalie Terry Moore drops on a loose puck with enemy cruising by at close range.

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