Self-Guided Tours — Westmeath

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Fraser & Paterson’s Store


The original Fraser Patterson store, built before 1900.Alexander Fraser built and operated a general store in the village of Westmeath since well before 1900. The two-story structure was located on Main Street adjacent to the only bridge and creek in the village. Inside the front door, an 8-foot wide stairs led to the second floor where there were large items like furniture and linoleum. A table with the original tag ?Fraser & Paterson? is in use in a home today.

Fraser Patterson store in 2008The store catered to the needs of the lumbering industry. Frasers owned large timber limits on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Cattle bought from farmers were kept in the lot at the front of the Westmeath Public School. In the autumn month?s, the cattle were brought to the side of the store, weighed on the only scale in the area, and retuned to the separated lot at the school. Then large herds of cattle were driven by foot, crossing at Spotswood?s ferry to Waltham and up the Black River to the camps. Hay and oats bought from farmers for feed accompanied the expedition.

The general store was also an outlet for farmer?s produce. When Alexander Fraser went into partnership with John Paterson, the store was enlarged. A new building behind the store housed much of the bulk goods. Bert Goddard worked at the store for years as a clerk. John R. Fraser a cousin of Alexander?s was the store?s bookkeeper. The store sold mostly in bulk. Usually customers brought in a container to have filled from the bulk one. Clothes and fruit were also sold at the store. Eventually a generator installed between the store and the creek provided lighting. It was the only building or home to have such a luxury.

G.B. (Gordon) and Stella Schultz bought the store in the mid-thirties and operated it in much the same fashion until the mid-fifties. G.B. built living quarters on the second floor, removing the stairs inside the front door, and continued to live there after the store closed. After the Schultz?s the building changed hands a few times. The unit at the back was dismantled over time. Otherwise, the Fraser & Paterson Store maintained its original facade.