A Hotel Remembers: Part 3 of 3

I was sold again, this time to John Glassey. Then a change of three – Mr. Purdy, Adeline Dunbrack and G.M. Cole. By this time I really was not looking too good and was referred to as “that big barn of a place”. Mr. Jacob Blois came along about this time and while he couldn’t do much for my appearance he did much for my well-being. Besides, somewhere along the line someone had taken down that sign. Jacob liked me and I felt it. He brought the first radio to Mount Uniacke and would let the kids listen in with the ear phones. At that time it was a miracle to hear words coming out of the air. While Jake was in the hotel, the First World War was going on and many a train went through with the lads leaning out the windows passing out their letters to be mailed as they were on their way to distant lands. Jake always took his share to mail.

One morning in November of 1918 on a Sunday, a special train went through tossing off extra newspapers. Jake was so delighted with the news he delivered those papers to each house in person for they shared the news that the War had come to an end.

Jacob built a home in on the Mines Road and in later years his nephew Ralph and then his brother Tom Blois would live there. (This house is now the McVeigh House).

During this time, on arriving at the hotel in the evening, the guests were taken upstairs by lamplight, given clean towels, and on arranging the wake-up call for the morning, were bid “good night”. If the weather was chilly both the undressing and dressing were done very quickly. The guests soon learned that because of the distance out to those little buildings in the yard, there was a commode in each room. In the morning the guests were awakened with a tap on the door and a jug of nice hot water.

1925 – Mount Uniacke has returned to a tranquil village. This year Maynard Parker decided to become a hotel owner. He is a carpenter and, along with his skill, is the desire to put his hotel in shape. First of all, a new kitchen. Then plans on how to put a bathroom on that second floor. That will take work for this village does not have electricity. The answer was found in a big hand pump behind the kitchen stove with pipes going to a heating tank, then piping up to the attic into holding tanks from where the water can now run down to the second floor bathroom. Many a person coming to the kitchen to get warm found themselves standing behind the stove getting warm while pumping water into the tanks.

I was repaired, re-shingled and given a coat of paint. Then came the new verandah which ran along the lower floor. The crowning touch was the two big rocking chairs inviting anyone to “come sit and rock”. With all this I was becoming well known for the nice meals and the special chicken dinners on Sundays. The people came along now in motor cars from the city and stopped on the way home for dinner at the Mount Uniacke Hotel. It was a treat!

Maynard did lease me out for a little while when he had to be away. Those who came to look after me at that time were Mr. Creed and Mr. Mollison. This arrangement was only temporary. Maynard and Madge Parker hurried back to their hotel as soon as they could.

The years had passed and I was standing proud again. I began to take a look at the changes around me. The little train depot had been replaced by a big Railway Station. Hopewell Bowen’s home was gone and in its place was the big Community Hall that was built to honour those who had served in the World War. The little store across the street was now across the tracks. They were now using the upper road into the mines.

Street names had faded away into time and were not “the Highway” or other roads. There were more homes in the village, even a garage up the highway. I have been standing here seventy-seven years watching it all. It is 1936 and in time this scene will change again.

On Labour Day week end 1936 the greedy fingers of fire claimed the hotel.

Mr. Parker built a home on the site of the hotel and he and Madge, his wife, lived there until quite recently when they retired to Windsor. After all these years it seems that if the hotel were here it would still stand head and shoulders above anything around it.

Editor’s note: this story was originally published in the Uniacke Newsletter in March 1980. Thanks to the late Sadie Siroy for sharing her memories and bringing the “old” Mount Uniacke into the minds of all our residents – new and old.