My grandmother’s parents, Matthias and Emily Lymburner, lived for a few years in Goderich, Ontario. These are postcards sent from their early days there in 1911. (click images for larger view)
General View of Goderich Harbour, looking East
Mr. Charles H. Burwell, Tillsonburg, Ont. Goderich, Jan 9th, 1911.
Dear Boy, Charlie:- This card shows the mills and cooperage – the cooper shop, I have marked with an X on the gable-end. It looks small on account of the flour mill being so large. I am feeling fine, and I think I will like it well, here, haven’t seen much of the town yet, it’s nice, though, what I have seen of it. I will write frequently, and will be glad to hear from you all. Yours, M. E. Lymburner.
Look slightly right of middle. See a small yellow triangle at left of large brown building – that’s the X. Matthias was a cooper so that’s where he would have worked.
Central Park, Goderich, Ont. Canada
Mrs C H Burwell
This is for Minnie. It is the city hall, and central park. It is the very centre of the town. I will write again when I get time.
I think this is Mary Emily’s writing. She must have been sent it to her daughter Minnie in Tillsonburg with someone. The courthouse and park is the hub of an octagon of streets that comprises the town centre. The town layout was planned from the very beginning. The Town of Goderich website describes it.
On the Maitland River, Goderich, Ont. Canada
Mrs Minnie Burwell, Tillsonburg PO, Ont.
Goderich Feb 24 1911 Dear Minnie – Just a line to tell I was down town yesterday and came near losing our way home. There are so many streets and they look so much alike. Well good bye. From Mother
The 1911 Canadian Census has Matthias and Emily, two sons and two youngest daughters living on Britannia Road. It runs west to east across the south side of town. The spokes of the streets mean that if you take the wrong one leaving the square, you can end up a long way from where you intended. The Maitland River skirts the east side of town, with its mouth at the harbour.
Court House – Goderich Canada
Mrs Chas Burwell, Tillsonburg Ont.
Dear Sister, Just a card to let you [know] we are alive and will answer your letter soon but have been very busy trying to get straightened up. Then I am so lame that it keeps me a long while. John is working at the furniture factory here. I am nearly settled all but washing my curtains and quilts. Evellyn
Evellyn was Minnie’s older sister. John Hewson was her husband. This sounds as if they too had just moved to Goderich. But I cannot find them in the 1911 census.
About this beautiful Court House, the Goderich website (link above) says, “The octagonal-shaped park at the centre was occupied for nearly 100 years by the original Huron County Courthouse, an Italianate brick building of imposing scale, massing and elegance. It was replaced in 1954 by the present building.”
Concrete Elevator, Goderich, Canada
Mrs Charles Burwell, Tillsonburg PO, Ontario.
Goderich Aug 3, 1911. Dear Minnie – We arrived home just at twelve. Pa was home for dinner, he is well. It is raining hard here this afternoon. Bye Bye from Ma.
Maybe Emily had just got back from visiting her daughter? I don’t know but the message sounds like a check-in. This photo is a close-up of the elevator that you can see in the background of the first postcard. From the Goderich Port Authority website: “The first grain elevator at the Port was built in 1866 but was later destroyed by fire. The current elevators, constructed in the 1920s, are still in operation today.”
Point Farm Hotel, Goderich, Ont., Canada
Mr. C. H. Burwell, Tillsonburg, Ont.
Goderich, Sept. 1 1911. My Dear Charlie; Arrived here O.K. in time for dinner. Found the folks all well. The baby was real good coming up. I hope you found enough to eat. Am having a dandy time. Will I give your best respects to Miss Bell? Bye Bye, Minnie (write soon)
Minnie and Charley had no children at this time. But Minnie’s sister Evellyn had a daughter Mary Julia Hewson in July 1911. Maybe they travelled to Goderich together. My mother told me who Miss Bell was, but unfortunately I can’t remember. The Point Farm Hotel, also unfortunately, is gone. The area is now a Provincial Park. The hotel’s history is told by David Yates in the 2016/17 Goderich Visitors’ Guide (pp 57-58).
…at Tillsonburg and thinking much of you
Mrs C H Burwell, Goderich, Ont. [postmarked Sep 2 1911]
My Dear Minnie – I rec’d your card and feel a lot better to know you are all right. I am getting along all right keeping bach with John. Yes, give my best respects to Miss Bell and the rest of the folks. Bye Bye, Charley xxxx X1 for Miss Bell
John, I think, was a friend of Grandpa’s. I gather, from this exchange of postcards, that Grandma left them to fend for themselves when she went away. But it seems that he and John had “found enough to eat.” Ha!
And that’s our tour of Goderich from 1911. See my Goderich, Prettiest Town for my memories of the town and Bluewater Beach from several decades later. I wrote it right after a devastating tornado hit the town in August 2011.