The 50’s in Philipsburg (part 2)

Leah Fournier Della Porta

Champlain Hotel in the SO’s, now Le Bergelac  (Photo : Archives of the Author)

The pier was full of people every day of the week and a lot more on week-ends. The young people would dive off from the end of the pier, some would water-ski and some would fish. Boats from the United States and Venise-en-Québec would come and dock their boats there and come into Gallagher’s for a drink or at the corner restaurant owned by Mr. Séguin, where they had hamburgers, hot-dogs and sandwiches and cold sodas. They also had ice-cream cones. There was a garage attached to the restaurant where you could get gas for your vehicle. We also had an English and a French school and a convent that was run by the nuns of the Presentation of Mary and housed boarders from all parts of Québec and they even had one girl that came from Caracas, Venezuela. You could also take piano lessons for a small amount of money and there was also a good English and French business course (shorthand, typing and accounting).

Just down the road near the MacFarlane farm, there used to be an area called the parking grounds, where people would get together on Labour Day week-ends and have a great corn-roast. There was so much to do and lots of people in town for the Summer months. ln the winter it was a little quieter, but there was a skating rink near Rodrigue Dupuis’s home and then later on there was another skating rink in the back of Grant Symington’s house which used to be Russel Brown’s home and there were mostly some great hockey games, not too much skating. The people stood outside in the cold and rooted for their own team.

Philipsburg also had some boarding houses. There was Fabiola Farley, Mrs. Blanchard, Mrs. Narcisse Smith and Mrs. Ritchie. A lot of people came to work at the quarry and some custom officers also lived in one of those homes.

The Whitwell Hall was on Montgomery Avenue, it is now a private home, but in those days it was used for a lot of social functions such as dances and children’s Christmas parties. There was a general store which sold meat and vegetables and fruit and other staples, it was run by a Mr. Dusseault in those days.

All in all I can say that there have been many changes through the following years, but one thing remains in this town is the picturesque place that it has always been, on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain.

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