The sign suspended over the centre of the auditorium in the Town Hall was illuminated bearing the word "Bachelors", according to the first edition of the Chapleau Headlight in 1915.
The newspaper was reporting on the first dance in the Town Hall sponsored by an organization called the Bachelors of Chapleau. The town hall was opened in 1914.
About the banner the Headlight asked, "Original, what?"
The Grand Orchestra under the direction of Alf Comte was in attendance and the favourite dances were waltzes, two steps, three steps, four steps and barn dances.
The newspaper reported that the bachelors were all in full evening attire while the ladies were "divinely beautifully and gorgeously gowned, some of them wearing new dresses."
Some of the bachelors who organized the dance included Dr. Steve Wilkinson, (who was the general convenor), and L.E. Wilkins, Davy Moran, and Lorne Nicholson.
Some of the patrons for the occasion who received the "bachelors" and their dates were T.J Godfrey (reeve of Chapleau), G.B. Nicholson (reeve from 1901 to 1913), R.J. Anderson, W.R. McNamara, R.W.McEwan, H.C. Mulligan, W.C. Guthrie, V.T. Chapple, G.L. White, William McMullen and R.J. Allan.
There were even ushers to guide the guests to their tables and provide refreshments.
On the program, was printed the following toast:
"Here's to God's first thought -- 'Man'
Here's to God's second thought -- 'Woman'
Second thoughts are always best,
So here's to Women!"
So here's to Women!"
by Margaret de Valois
This article from the Chapleau Headlight also mentions that Chapleau had its first public library in 1888, first of all in a railway coach, then in the Mechanics Institute.
The institute was the "centre of the social and intellectual life of the community" until it burned down in 1906. I was astounded to learn that when it burned down its library housed more than 2000 volumes "made up of the best books that could be secured." Apparently Sir William Van Horne of Canadian Pacific Railway fame made many contributions, and at one time donated 50 reference books on scientific and mechanical subjects.
The CPR was very busy through Chapleau in 1915 moving over 450 cars a day with 56 crews handling the work.
Even after more than seven years of writing Chapleau stories weekly, I continue to be fascinated by its life and times from almost the first days the community came into existence, and a review of those days is a story for another day.
Thanks so much to all who commented on the "Because of Her" columns. More to come. As always, thanks to Bobby and Margaret Rose (Payette) for loaning me the Richard Brownlee Papers. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org