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Archives volunteer Dyan Bonter has been working for three years on a project to transcribe obituary notices from The Quinte Scanner, the newspaper published in Deseronto between 1968 and 1982. This project is now complete, and all the obituaries are now available on this site.

Obituaries can be useful sources for making family history links, for identifying friend and family connections, or as a way of remembering former residents of the town. We hope that they will prove useful – and thank you, Dyan, for all your hard work!

2015.09 two pairs of glasses made by Canada Optical

After the iron we featured a few weeks ago, here are two more examples of Deseronto-made items. These glasses frames were manufactured at the Canada Optical Company’s factory on Main Street in Deseronto, the building which was until recently the Deseronto Fleamarket and which originally contained drying kilns for the Rathbun Company’s lumber business. It is marked number 15 on the detail of the 1895 map below:

Dry kilns and sash factory. c.1895

According to an article in the Quinte Scanner newspaper of October 4th, 1972 this building had several other uses between these two:

The building which is occupied by Canada Optical at present housed a match factory in the 1920’s, a meat packing plant in the early ’30’s and a cheese factory after that. Canada Optical started operations in 1946; in 1947 an extension was added to the factory, this consisted of an old hanger from the nearby wartime airfield.

At this time the firm was called the Canada Zyl Company, (it is still known by this name to local residents) and was producing four or five different types of spectacle frames in only two colours. They were made of a highly inflammable material and had to be stored in thick walled buildings well away from the main plant.

Here is how the building looked in 1972:

The factory moved from this location in 1996 to a building at the airport on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. It closed down in 2002.

Thanks to Andrea Hinz for the donation of these frames, another piece of Deseronto’s manufacturing past.

The past does seem a strange place, sometimes. An item which made its way to the archives this week is a case in point. This object was originally given out as a prize at the Lucky Strikes Lanes, the bowling alley which was where the Deseronto Public Library (and the Archives) is now. It was run by Ernie and Gladys Luck – and Gladys’s apple pie was legendary, it seems.

Green ashtray

Even as recently as the 1960s or 1970s, it was perfectly fine to hand out an ashtray as a prize. It’s hard to imagine this happening today!

We’re not sure who donated this object to the Library – so please let us know if it was yours!

The Archives here in Deseronto has a rather patchy selection of local newspapers for the twentieth century. There’s a good run of The Quinte Scanner from 1968 to 1982 but apart from that we really only have lucky survivals of The Deseronto Post and a few editions of the Daily Intelligencer, Belleville’s newspaper. Finding out what newspaper we have for a particular year or decade involved consulting two different lists, the contents of which are not easy to absorb.

We’ve now combined the information from those lists into a single online resource. It’s a Google Calendar into which each newspaper edition has been entered as an event. If you have a Google account, you can view the newspaper calendar, which we’ve made public. From the calendar page, click on the small Add to Google Calendar symbol at the bottom right. This will add the newspaper calendar to your Google calendar page.

In order to see what we have for a particular year, you need to install the ‘Year View’ feature for your calendar (in Google Calendar, go to the ‘Settings’ page, then ‘Labs’ to do this). Once you have the Year View, you can use it to get to a particular year, then click on any month to see if we hold any local papers for that particular time period. The picture below is of the month of October 1925, where we have two issues of the Deseronto Post and three of the Daily Intelligencer. Click on the image for a closer look.

Newspapers for October 1925

This is just an experiment, really, but it’s already proving useful in making it much quicker to answer questions about whether we have any newspapers for a particular date.

Yesterday I was involved in one of the less exciting tasks that archive work offers: noting down the dates of all of the editions of one of the newspaper collections that is held in Deseronto Archives. The newspaper in question was the last one to be regularly published in the town. It started life in 1968 as The Deseronto and Skyway Scanner (named after the newly-opened Skyway Bridge), but became The Quinte Scanner under new ownership in 1971.

Even the mundane job of noting down which issues the archives holds had occasional moments of interest.

Here is the nameplate of the Volume 1, No. 34 edition:

The Quinte Scanner, Volume 1, No. 34

Note the date.

Here is the following week’s paper:

The Quinte Scanner, Volume 1, Number 35

In all, there were three of these newspapers which carried the wrong date. This is probably something that is unlikely to happen in a well-staffed national or regional newspaper, but it is something that is worth bearing in mind if you are doing research with smaller local papers like this one: the date on the front cover might not be authoritative!

Deserontos oldest house DESHIS-06-04

Deseronto's oldest house DESHIS-06-04

This photograph was taken during the 1970s and is, according to the note on the back of it, a picture of ‘Deseronto’s oldest house’. Unfortunately, there is no information on the picture about where exactly this house was.

Does anyone recognise this building? Can you help us pinpoint its location?

UPDATE: We’ve had two suggestions and the house is on the east side of Fourth Street – below is a photo of how it looks today.

Updated October 4th 2011 to add that the current owners bought the house in 1962 when there were two fuses in the whole house and one cold water pipe to the kitchen and no drain. The house is constructed from 18-inch barn timbers and hand-made nails.

92 Fourth Street today

92 Fourth Street today