Table of Contents
Between Old and New
new arena, the
waterworks system, and
school were all very impressive but they were expensive to build. The
details of their cost and construction provided fodder for discussion over back
fences and around dinner tables in
Richmond Hill through
the 1920s. Yet in each case, the proponents of the new persuaded council
members and ratepayers that such improvements and upgrading were necessary to
complement a postwar twentieth-century community.
Rustic Inn on the
west side of
Yonge Street at
South. The business was begun by
Daniel Stong in
the 1920s, and continued by his daughter and son-in-law,
as an ice cream parlour, restaurant, and boarding house.
General Store on the east side of
north of the radial railway station.
With the floral industry still providing a major impetus,
continued to grow during the 1920s. Population jumped more than 20 per cent
during the decade, from 1055 to 1295. Older homes were renovated and new houses
built on recently opened streets on the east and west sides of town. There was
plenty of commercial activity along
Yonge Street, as new
stores and businesses moved in to replace old ones that had expired. Along the
highway itself, cars, trucks, and buses had all but eliminated the horse and
buggy and were even challenging the radial railway for supremacy.
|Interior view of the
Innes Mill at the
west end of
Street, south of the
Mill Pond, in the
Hume recorded many of these changes in the village council minutes. Hume
Matthew Teefy as
municipal clerk in 1905 and held the job for the next thirty-seven years. Born
in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1858, Hume arrived in
Richmond Hill in
1879, where he established a tailoring business and soon became involved in the
community as a
School teacher, private music teacher, and leader of the
Band. But, like his predecessor,
Hume became so
closely identified with his work as village clerk that many residents believed
he - not the reeve and councillors - ran the council.
|Employees of the
Innes Mill in the
1920s. Standing are, left to right:
- Denby,Isill Tyndall,- Rikey, -,
Carnie Marsh,- Neal,Bert Meek,George Sims,Jim Wigmore,Will Innes.
Harry Innes, -,
- Teatzell,Teatzell, -, -
- Hopper,Bert Bennett,Harry
Council still contended
with the age-old duties of appointing officials, setting salaries, listening to
complaints, determining mill rates, and collecting taxes. But much more was
happening in the 1920s - the financing of public works projects, responding to
public health concerns, switching from a private electrical power supplier to
Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The offices
of clerk, reeve, and councillor demanded more time and attention now, as
regular monthly meetings were frequently supplemented by special meetings.
(Ritchie) Innes on their 50th wedding anniversary, May 8, 1907, in front
of their home at 124
with their three sons, left to right,
Ritchie Innes,John Leslie
In spite of all these new issues, however, council still
had to deal with a recurrent headache left over from the previous century -
what to do about the fire brigade. True, a modicum of stability had been
enforced on the fire-fighting scene in the 1880s, and subsequent blazes were
quelled without a repeat of the major disasters of the 1860s. But by the
beginning of the
War, with dwindling ranks of volunteers, ineffective leadership, and
volunteer fire brigade was again proving an embarrassment to the
quotes on materials for the
Hill Public Library.
Finally in 1924, council requested advice from
Mills, one of
Richmond Hill's major
Mills suggested major improvements to fire-fighting
procedures and the purchase of a motorized fire-truck and other modern
equipment - in short, the transformation of a volunteer brigade to a
12 Council was so impressed by these
recommendations that it appointed
Mills as fire chief.
Mills accepted and then persuaded many of his greenhouse
employees to volunteer their services as firefighters. And so, once more, the
rose growers came to the rescue of
Hill Cornet Band.
Minutes of Village Council,May 9, 1917;June 12, 1918;July 11, 1918.
The Liberal,March 13, 1924.
Copyright © Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991