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Chapter 9
Picture Post Card Village of the 1880s and 1890s
Table of Contents

Title Page
Author's Preface
1 The Road through Richmond Hill
2 First Peoples on the Land
3 The European Settlers Arrive
4 From Miles' Hill to Richmond Hill: The Birth of a Community
5 Tories and Reformers
6 Stagecoach Lines and Railway Tracks
7 The Neighbours at Mid-Century
8 Fire Brigades and Fence Viewers
9 Picture Post Card Village of the 1880s and 1890s
Spires on the Hill
Coming of Age in Richmond Hill
Pranks, Vandalism, and Village Crime
Business on the Hill
Tiles in the Mosaic: Men and Women Who Shaped Late-Ninetenth-Century Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill's Lacrosse Champs
The Old Lamplighter
For Whom the Bell Tolls?
Local Politics at the End of Victoria's Reign
10 Rails through Richmond Hill
11 The Flowering of Richmond Hill
12 The Village Transformed
Epilogue
Appendices
Table of Illustrations
Index

The Old Lamplighter

Gas street lamp in front of the Palmer family home, installed in 1892 and maintained by village lamplighter James Brownlee.
The street lamps erected in 1889 stood just over two metres (six feet) high, were mounted on turned posts, and had the characteristic four-sided glazed frame with sloped sides. The lighting device itself consisted of a kerosene or coal-oil burner, which required regular manual refilling and lighting by the village lamplighter, James Brownlee. Village newspapers chronicle Brownlee's triumph over initial difficulties:

Crack! Crack!

Lamp-Lighter Brownlee has been having a troublesome time with his chimneys on the street. The tubes which he has hitherto purchased create the necessary draught and promote the desired combination, but they are so brittle that some of them snap about every night, and the glassware is costing more than the oil.

The Liberal,August 29, 1889

More Light

Additional lamps are being erected in the village, and Yonge Street is well lighted from the English Church to Wright's shop. The way the lamps are attended to reflects much credit on the caretaker, and it is not likely that an equal number of coal oil lamps in the country throws as much light.

The Liberal,November 14, 1889

Grand Improvement

It was a pleasing sight on Saturday night to look up and down Yonge Street and notice the decided improvement the Council has made by placing so many street lamps along the business portion of this village. These, with the lights from the store windows, make Yonge Street look well from a distance as the numerous lights can be seen by people coming in from the country. There seem to be more of our villagers out walking on Saturday nights lately and altogether things look more lively than before.

York Herald,November 21, 1889

 

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Copyright Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991