Gallagher’s Hotel in the 50’s, now a parking lot in Philipsburg (Photo : Archives Of The Author)
Back in the fifties, the town of Philipsburg was a great place to be. Everything was booming. There was a marble quarry that employed between 150 to 200 people. There were many Italian families who immigrated here to work at this quarry. Some of them specialized in cutting and polishing the marble. Some of this marble was seen at one time in the Picadilly lounge of the Sheraton Mount-Royal on Peel street in Montreal.
It has now been razed to the ground and rebuilt as an office building. But you can still see the marble in the halls of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.
The town had two hotels back then. One was named Gallagher’s after the owner and the other one was the Champlain House. You had a choice of entertainment. At Gallagher’s originally owned by Mr. Gallagher and then Fred Surprenant, you could listen an all ‘negro band’ from New York City and later on, there was Larry Hayes and his orchestra from Montreal. A lot of people came from the townships and Vermont to dance and listen to these great bands.
At the Champlain House owned by Neal Mullins of Knowlton, there were lots of bands namely Buddy Truax and Joe Mayo from St. Albans Vermont, who came to play western music. At the Champlain House, there was a great dining room and quite a few rooms that were rented in the Summertime to American tourists who came for approximately two to three weeks for a vacation. In fact, I worked there as a waitress for a couple of summers.
There was a lot of square dancing on Saturday nights and the Vermonters loved that dance. Some of the local people also liked that type of dancing. There was lots of fun to be had and good friends gathered at one of those hotels, especially on the weekends.