Let’s Talk About – Progress in Essex

Filed under: Opinion |

by Evelyn Couch

Maplewood Public School was built at Brien Avenue East and opened in November of 1989. Six rooms were added to the high school in 1955. Margaret Brown was the first female Councillor.

The greatest advance for recreation was the Memorial Arena. To avoid debt, the work was done in stages, starting with an open-air ice pad in 1957. In 1961, it was re-opened with a memorial plaque and honour roll of service men who died in World War II.

The first aluminum ladder made in Canada was made by Ernest King in 1970. Garbage was collected in an open truck and dumped just outside of town. Essex got its own car wash service, which users paid 25 cents to use.

What had been considered the finest commercial building was torn down and it had been the Town hall. The  office of Ontario Hydro was built on Irwin Avenue to serve the county, as well as two service stations, two lumber companies, and the Canadian Bank of Commerce. The new Town Hall was built in 1967.

The memorial band shell to Charles Maedel was destroyed. Our beautiful, old Post Office was destroyed by government order. Two neighbouring houses were torn down to provide a parking lot. The local theatre was closed when television entered most homes. The 19 acre race track at the fairgrounds was shut down and the area was used for recreation. The first nursery school was opened in Essex United Church by Beulah Tully. Additions were put on the local high school and Little’s nursing home in 1969. Two sewage lagoons were established.

The first Ontario championship was brought to Essex by the Stokely Pee Wee baseball team. The Town’s outdoor swimming pool was built in 1967 as a Centennial project. That is enough for now. To be continued next week.