Deseronto has no snow on the ground this December (so far!) but this Christmas card from the 1920s reminds us of what the weather can be like at this time of year:

Christmas card from 1920s

The card was printed by Old Colony Greeting Cards of Toronto. The picture on the front, ‘Winter’, was by ‘Revilo’ and the message inside is from Evelyn ‘Tottie’ Hall (born 1882) who lived in Deseronto in the early part of the twentieth century.

The rhyme reads:

All the things you care for best,
A happy heart, a mind at rest,
Be yours upon this Christmas Day,
And through the Year ne’er fade away.

The same group of records (which we’re currently in the process of cataloguing) holds another Christmas card from Evelyn, this one with a photograph of the sender on the porch of her home at 426 Thomas Street, Deseronto:

Evelyn Hall

As we work through the Hall family materials, there will no doubt be more to share with you in 2012. But for now, we leave you

With Hearty Greetings and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

On July 1, 1927 history was made when Canada’s first nationwide radio programme was broadcast, marking the country’s Diamond Jubilee – 60 years after Confederation. The undertaking was a huge one, involving telephone and telegraph companies and 23 different radio stations.

Events at Parliament Hill in Ottawa were transmitted live across Canada and, via short wave radio from Drummondville, Quebec, to Britain. According to the CN history of the event, “The signal in the western hemisphere was so strong that the broadcast could be heard throughout the United States, in Mexico, and even in parts of South America.” You can hear a brief extract of the broadcast on the CBC Digital Archives site.

William Kenneth Detlor (1903-1930)

The Deseronto connection with this landmark event comes in the person of William Kenneth Detlor, whose photograph we featured in an earlier blog post. Kenneth (as he was known) was born in Deseronto on January 20, 1903 and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston in 1922 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

He went on to work for the Bell Telephone Company and it is clear that he quickly made a name for himself, as only five years after leaving university he was placed in charge of the Ottawa end of Bell’s Diamond Jubilee engineering work, with overall responsibility for the whole network, at the tender age of only 24.*

Detlor’s promising career was cut short by his untimely death from meningitis in Toronto in 1930.

*This information from an article on the Jubilee transmission in Bell’s publication The Blue Bell, Vol. 6, No. 10 (August 1927)

An interesting collection of materials came to the Archives last week from Robert Detlor. Mr Detlor’s grandfather, Bismarck (Mark) Leroy Detlor (1876-1951) operated a bake shop and confectioner’s in St. George Street, Deseronto, south of the junction with Edmon Street. The collection includes this fine photograph of the interior of the store:

2011.15(5) Interior of Detlor’s Bake Shop

The Detlor shop was in operation for over 30 years. The photograph below shows Bismarck Detlor, his wife, Winnifred (née Moore, 1879-1963) and their eldest son, William Kenneth Detlor (1903-1930). The woman on the left is believed to be Winnifred’s sister, Laura Blake. The family are standing outside the Detlor store, with their car.

2011.15(4) Detlor family with Chevrolet Series F Superior

In this photo, a ‘KODAK’ sign can be seen just behind the car: the store sold camera supplies as well as baked goods and candy. An intriguing combination!

Rainbow Protex Ltd.

This photograph shows a stand at a trade show in the 1920s or 1930s. The company represented is Rainbow Protex, a manufacturer of auto top dressings and boot and shoe polish. At this period, car roofs were usually made of fabric that had been coated with rubber. To keep them looking good and to protect the rubber from the effects of sunlight and cold or wet weather, black oil-based varnishes known as auto top dressings were applied to their surfaces.

This particular company’s head office was in Toronto, but (according to the photograph) the factory that produced the polishes and dressings was in Deseronto. One of the men in the photograph is William Macdonald Mackintosh, a chemist, originally from Liverpool in England (U.S. patent no. 771,257 was issued in 1904 for his ‘Compound for Waterproofing Fabrics’). Mackintosh’s granddaughter got in touch with the Archives recently, asking whether we had any information about the company for which Mackintosh was working.

We don’t have any details about the firm in the Archives, so, with her permission, we are sharing this copy of Martha Mackintosh’s photograph here, in case anyone can tell as more about this particular company. We would like to know exactly where in Deseronto its factory was and when it was in operation. Please comment if you can help!

Deseronto Storm (usually known locally as ‘The Storm’) is the junior hockey team that many people in Deseronto and surrounding areas follow with keen interest nowadays. Back in the 1920s the town had another successful team, this one made up of young men from the Deseronto High School. They were the Central Ontario Inter-Scholastic League Champions in 1926 and 1927.

Mary Hird, the daughter of Charlie Cole, the left defence player, has lent images of the two Deseronto High School teams to the Archives so that we could copy them and share them with others.

1925-1926 team:

FRONT ROW (left to right) – L. Bruyea, left wing; F. Whitton, centre; M. Detlor, right wing.; C. McVicker, goal.
BACK ROW (left to right) – J. Whitton, Manager; J. McVicker, Mascot; L. McVicker, sub.; M. Perry, right defence; C. Cole, left defence; F. Butzer, sub.; E. I. Gale, Principal of Deseronto High School.

James McVicker (1909-1974), the team’s mascot, is already familiar to us as the drummer in the ‘Circle Six Orchestra’, whose photograph has featured on the blog before. That photograph was clearly taken in the same photographer’s studio as these two.

1926-1927 team:

FRONT ROW (left to right) – M. Detlor, right wing; F. Whitton, centre; J. Whitton, Manager; L. Bruyea, left wing; C. McVicker, goal.
BACK ROW (left to right) – B. Brant, coach; G. Green, sub; L. McVicker, right defence; B. Campbell, sub; C. Cole, left defence; A. D. Campbell, Principal.

Daniel Clarence McVicker (1907-1985), the goaltender for both teams was later to become a physician and worked as a doctor in Deseronto for many years. If you have further information about the other members of the team, please share them in the comments.

To modern eyes, the difference in the levels of equipment between these players and those of today’s is quite striking. As is the complete lack of logos on the 1920s teams’ kit!

This was what you would have had to do in Ontario in 1925, anyway. Deseronto Archives holds a ‘Register of Liquor Sales’ which records sales of alcohol made by local druggist T. L. McCullough between October 16, 1925 and May 31, 1927. Under the terms of the Ontario Temperance Act of 1916, a customer was only allowed to buy alcohol if he or she had obtained a prescription from a doctor who had deemed “intoxicating liquor necessary for the health of his patient”.

The volume has columns for the name of the patient and the prescribing doctor, the quantity of alcohol purchased and its cost. The majority of the sales were for ‘alcohol’ or for spirits: brandy, gin, rum or whiskey. There is also a column for wine, but only four purchases of wine are recorded in the volume; all for communion wine for local churches. Every month, the druggist would return a copy of each page to the Board of License Commissioners for Ontario (the predecessor body to today’s Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

This volume was presented to the Town of Deseronto by Dorothy McCullough.

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