Saturday, January 29, 2011

Letter 5: Fire!

June 21, 1911
Richmond Quebec

Dear Father,

Just a few lines to give you a little of the news. The station was burned to the ground this afternoon ! It started about half past four. Flora went down to see it with Paul. And at six Dr. Skinner took Mrs. S, Mother,Flora and myself down in the car. All that is left are the tall chimneys so I guess we shall have a new station at last.
I have been up for breakfast every morning since I came home. That is quite a record, don't you think. Monday we had a large washing, got up early and had it all finished and out at a quarter to eleven. And finished the ironing today. We are still busy with the sewing.

Marion's school (Royal Arthur in Little Burgundy) finishes today so she will be home soon. I saw by the paper last night that Isabel McCoy (teacher and family friend) was to be married July 12th.

I had a splendid trip home to Montreal with the Skinners. It was a beautiful day going out. I will name the places we passed through: Melbourne, Flodden, Racine, Sawyerville, Warden, Waterloo, Granby, Abbotsford, St Cesar, Rougemont, Marieville, Chambly, Longueil, St. Lambert, Pointe St Charles. In Montreal, we went shopping in the morning,to the theatre in the afternoon and to tea at Dr.Cleveland's. Then Dr. Skinner took us for a ride, from 8 to 10 at night.It is beautiful riding on paved streets.

Don't you think I was a very fortunate girl to have such a trip? Tomorrow the 22nd I am going to North Hatley with the Skinners. Will be back that evening. They are very kind to us.

Flora is feeling better since the exams are over. (Results would be posted in the local paper later on.)

Yvonne Villard (daughter of Principal Paul Villard of Ecole Methodiste) is coming out next week for a few days. Miss Wilson's barn is not yet finished, Walker is still working. They have the foundation very well along at the Montgomery's.

Another Bryant preached last Sunday evening. He was through the General Assembly. I cannot think of any more news so will close. Hope you are well and that the fly season will soon pass.

We are all well. Write soon.

Flora got your letter With much love, Your affectionate Edith
....Richmond exists because of the Grant Trunk Railway, which in 1910 was still one of the two major employers in the town. Richmond was a railway hub, poised between Quebec City and Portland, Maine.
Norman Nicholson used the GTR to get his loads of hemlock bark to the tanning businesses in New England (mostly New Hampshire) and in Montreal, all by the Lachine Canal, near Marion's Royal Arthur School. He left his reciept books behind showing that a great deal of money was flowing, at least in the 1880's, through his bark business.
This is the year they get a big new station, which stills stands (vacant) today. Richmond was already in decline in 1910 (as the letters clearly reveal) but by the 1930's the railroad had little business.
According to the 1911 census, Mademoiselle Villard lives with her parents at 1095 Greene, in Westmount, the same address Edith stays at during the school year.
It is likely the site of Ecole Methodiste. Today, 1095 Greene is a site of a more modern post war school.
Edith says she enjoys every minute of a 6 and 3/4 hour drive over 94 miles. But if you crunch the numbers, it is clear that the Skinner's automobile went an average of 14 miles an hour to make that trip.(15 miles an hour was the speed limit in the country, 8 miles an hour in the city). If you consider that the E.T. is very hilly, the drive was probably more fun than the roller-coaster at Dominion Park, the amusement park opened in 1906, on Notre Dame on the eastern side of the island. Imagine how fast the car went down the hills!

No comments:

Post a Comment