|Menie General Store (1858)
I did a post back in 2012 about a favourite former general store, the Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery in Ormsby. I met proprietors Lillian and Gary while researching an article for Country Roads Spring 2012 issue.
The magazine's editors Nancy and John Hopkins have a few back issues online, but not this one, alas.
The general store was vital to early communities, providing those precious items which the new homestead could not provide, from salt and tea, or goods not manufactured locally. Luxury items like fine china and factory made goods would have remained out of reach for most settlers.
The general store usually housed the post office for those cherished letters from home, provided financial services by way of barter and credit, and offered that most precious of all commodities to those folks living in relative isolation, human contact and news.
The visit gave me an opportunity to remember my friend Florence and her sister Doris, daughters of Fogorig, a Scottish setttlement near Campbellford, whose story I wrote in County and Quinte Living in the Winter 2013 issue.
Doris and her husband Frank Potts donated the store, which Frank had operated for years in the tiny crossroads hamlet of Menie, to Lang Pioneer Village. The Potts were very active in local historical associations; it must have been a joy for them to see it restored in such fine fashion.
|the window lit the second floor residence at one time
We had a lively discussion about the 1899 recreation of the store and its contents, an outstanding collection of artifacts, merchandise which would have been available (while supplies lasted) at the general stores of the day.
Andrew shared an insight into tensions which were beginning in the communities by 1910 or so, when villagers could order merchandise from the new Eaton's mail order catalogue. Mind you, they would have to pick up their merchandise at the general store post office, which might have proved awkward (and the store owner might not be quite to quick to grant credit or do favours in future...)
|the village setting at Lang
Nice sociable things really do happen at the general store.