Plevna Businesses

Stores Logging/Mills Hotel Lodges

Ostler's Store

- About/History

George W. Dawson (originally from Sligo Ireland) arrived in Plevna in 1877 and took over a store on the south side of Frontenac Street (now 509), west of the bridge (likely the first in Buckshot/Plevna) from George and Abigail Caprin. By 1882 Dawson built and opened his new store on the NW corner of Frontenac and Church Streets (now 506 and Buckshot Lake Road) that became the largest in the area. He gave up running the store when he was elected MP in 1891 and moved to Ottawa.
Gilbert Ostler (originally from Yorkshire) started clerking for Dawson in 1888. He took over the running of the store in 1891, purchased it in 1897 and operated it until his death in 1944. Both Dawson and Ostler families lived in the attached residence. The families were related through several links including Gilbert’s nephew Harry’s marriage to George Dawson’s daughter Grace. Ostler’s wife Claribel and daughter Ione continued to run the store until it closed in 1956 or 7.
Thomas Armstrong clerked for George Dawson in 1880/81, later, his daughters Laura and Martha clerked for Gilbert Ostler. Other clerks included A.W. Wood and Ross Thompson.
The Dawson/Ostler store was spacious with room for all kinds of groceries, dry goods and hardware. Shipping invoices from 1881 showed fabrics and other sewing supplies including 6 doz. spools of thread ($2.13) and 2 doz. Thimbles ($0.22), dry goods such as tea (52 lbs./$15.60), rice (25 lbs./$0.98) and nutmeg (1 lb./$0.98), as well as medicines, lead pencils and copy books (each $0.20 a dozen). Ostler had space for clothing and cloth though many families ordered from the Eaton’s catalogue.
The store did not sell fresh goods, fruits and vegetables or meat as these were produced locally. Dawson and Ostler also provided a market for customer’s goods including butter, eggs and fur (muskrat pelts earned $1.00 in the 20’s and mink $15.00). At Ostler’s you could buy licences, hunting for $1.00 and trapping for $5.00. Ostler’s later sold gas across the street, initially in gallon bottles then in tanks with glass tops.
The store was designed with ample room for customers to sit around. In effect it was a community centre where people could gather on Saturday nights to discuss current news and exchange gossip, or even to doze. The store would always have been popular as it housed the Post Office and the Post Office Savings Bank. George W. Dawson had been Postmaster as of 1877 until 1891 and Gilbert Ostler served from 1896 until 1944. Gilbert also served as Church Warden at Holy Trinity Anglican (established and built through the efforts of George W. Dawson) for some 50 years.
The Ostler store had an early “generator” a Delco that was gas based and powered lights in the store. It was kept in the drive shed across the road. Ostlers were known widely for their beautiful gardens.
In the late 50’s or 60’s the McInnes family lived in the store, took in boarders and operated a garage.
The property was owned at one point by Clarence Tooley.
Bev Whan later had an icecream parlour in the building.
In 2001 Janet Kellar and Dave ran a pizza take out from the store, “Poppa Dave’s Pizza” and a craft/gift shop within. They closed it in 2002.
It has been rented as a home a few times and is now for sale.

Information from interviews with; Andy Armstrong, Ostler and Dawson families.

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Ohlmann's Store

- About/History

This store was originally built by Bill Ohlmann and Fred Gorr who both owned the mill at the far end of Hill's Lake or Sand Lake corner. They then split partnership and Fred retained the mill and Bill carried on at the store. The store was located where the present day liquor store is. The store also had propane gas and Bill also had several dump trucks. The stores at this time carried charge books where people purchased items written down in a book and paid later. Francis Marr, Mildred Hannah and Greta White helped work in the store and Post Office. Art Cameron and Roger White drove gravel trucks for Bill for many years. Across the road from the store was a field where Bill had the Superior Propane tanks. Most of the lakes around at this time did not have electric so used propane stoves and refrigerators, also even gas lights! The store carried everything from chocolate bars, blue jeans, wool jackets, all food items mostly in tins, corn, peas and similar vegetables, cereal, writing books and pencils! Just inside the front door was a large coke cooler which had cold water in it to keep pop cold. A gentleman told of being in the store one day and Ken Gorr came in with a large northern pike over his shoulder and Bill weighed it on the scales and it weighed in at 25 lbs. This was life at the General store! It was a great gathering place for local people to visit and get the local news. In Feb. 1965 the Ohlmann's were involved in a car accident. Allan, the son, had cut his finger bad and so the family and their niece were coming back from the hospital when hit by a car whose driver had been drinking. The niece was thrown free but broke her leg in several places. The family were all pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The Post Office was in the store until 1965 when it moved to the home of Herb and Grace Tooley. The contents of the store were sold off and the building was bought by Charlie Tooley.

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Lemke/James' Store

- About/History

Adolph Lemke and his wife Nettie (Tooley) both grew up in Plevna. Adolph was the son of Gustave Lemke and Willamina Hartmann and grew up in the homestead on the Sand Lake Road. Nettie was the daughter of Luther Tooley and Emma Wood. Around 1952 they built a residence in Plevna in which they lived on the bottom level and they rented the apartment upstairs to teachers in the area. There were two doors, the one on the left went into their residence and the one on the right was an entrance to the stairs up to the apartment above. Later on Adolph and Nettie built a lunch counter where you first came into their residence. Eventually they added items to sell such as knickknacks and later they added groceries. The items were all in the small front area of the store with the lunch counter as their living quarters stayed in the bottom part. Supplies were trucked in probably from National Grocers. There was a wooden step on the front of the store which they filled in with cement and built an enclosed porch on the right half of the step. They also added gas pumps to the store. They moved into the house across from the United Church manse where they lived until due to failing health they moved into a home.

In May 1968 the Lemke's sold their store, Floyd and Barbara James and their three children Kelly, Karen and Bobby bought the store. They both grew up in Plevna. Floyd is the son of Amp and Cora James and Barb is the daughter of Bill and Leola Gorr. When they purchased the store they changed the name to James General Store. They no longer rented the upstairs but used this as part of their living quarters and the right side of the lower part was also living quarters. They did not continue with the lunch bar. The lunch counter became their checkout counter. The store part and the living quarters that were on that side were used to be able to expand the store. They also built onto the side and the back of the store. The side became a cool room for milk, vegetables, etc. and the other half of it became a drop off for bottles. The back became the butcher shop with a walk in cooler. Floyd would buy halves of beef and pork and hang them in the new cooler. He would cut them up for the store and display the meat in a cooler where you could choose what you wanted or you could also have him cut steaks, chops etc. to your desired thickness. If you wanted a large amount of meat you could order a half or quarter and have it cut and wrapped however you wanted it. The butcher block that Floyd used was made from a tree that he cut and he had Vernard Kring saw it and had it planed in McDonalds Corners. You could also have your venison or moose cut and wrapped here. Besides a large assortment of grocery items, milk products, fresh vegetables, fruit, ice and meat they also stocked dry goods, hardware items, clothing, toys and gift items. The grocery items were trucked into the store by National Grocers, Quattrochis, Schneiders and Lewis meats as well as milk, ice cream, ice and bread deliveries. At Christmas time they would always have the candies we all remember so well, the chocolate drops and the hard Christmas candy. They continued to sell gas and oil and pump it for the customers. They were always open 7 days a week until the later years and they started closing on Sundays. They would let people bill groceries etc. and pay later, they would also deliver to people when they needed it.

In June of 1990 Don and Jessie Lavery purchased James General Store. It had always been a dream to run a general store in a small town so they purchased the store and moved from Markham to Plevna. They kept the name James General Store and continued to serve the customers as the store had always done. Don continued with the butcher shop cutting and wrapping the way the customers wanted. They continued with the gas pumps, groceries, hardware, souvenirs, fishing supplies that the store had always provided. In 1994 they made a change to the store when they opened a lunch counter. It was on the right hand side of the store when you came in and they had a couple of tables as well as the counter. It was also an internet cafe. Everyone always enjoyed the good food served in this lunch counter. They had home baking made locally and brought into the store but when that stopped in 1997 or 98 they installed a bake shop and served home baking that they made daily. A lottery machine was also made available for people to buy their tickets and the store also had movie rentals available. In 2000 the post office moved into the store and full postal service was available here. They really enjoyed their time running the store but after 15 years they decided to sell and in August 2005 they sold the store to Don and Sandy Raycroft who closed up the store and moved some things to their store down the road including the post office. The gas pumps were removed. Don and Jessie moved out to Highway 7 near Sharbot Lake. The building was then sold to Charlie Tooley who lived across the road. About five years later Charlie sold to a couple who opened a bake shop, lunches and a takeout buffet on Friday nights during the summer and they close up in the winter.

Information from interviews with Floyd and Barb James and Jesse Lavery.

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Tooley/Kellar/Summers/Miller's Store

- About/History

William Davy built and opened the store on Lorraine Street (#506) about 1911. It passed to Allan Card, John Flake, Luther Tooley. Joe Brouse owned the store briefly in the 20's. Jackie (Brouse) Jackson was born there in 1928 and lived there until the family moved to the corners in the early 30's where Home Hardware is now. Luther Tooley took over the store again , then Adolph Lemke who sold it to Clarence and Irma Tooleygr and they sold it to Bill and Florence Kellar in the late 40's or 51 at the latest. Jackie Jackson worked for the Kellar's for about 15 years. She was there in 1955 and was the first to greet Laura Kellar when she arrived (an adoption) at age 9. The Kellars were still there when Laura Lee Brouse, Laura's daughter was born in 1967. Bill Kellar put in the laundromat in a small separate building and a shower which summer cottagers could use. Water was channeled from the creek. The store was sold to Dave and Jean Summers in about 1968 or 69. The Summers' sold to Arnold and Shirley Miller and their daughter Donna ran the store. The laundromat was ultimately used by the Millers as a small store. The main building was then used as a flea market by Wynne Cameron and at one point a video store and mail boxes were in the side room. The early store had a sign in the window as you went in advertising Salada Tea. Underneath it said "is good tea". Red Rose Tea (white with ceramic letters) was on the door push. Tooley's used coal oil lamps until hydro was put in about 1954. Parcels were tied with brown paper from a large roll and then tied with cord that went from a cone up to the ceiling over a hook and down and was then cut. Ice cream was wrapped in newspapers. Bills were kept from the first of the month, bunched with a clip in a metal index folder. They were added up at the end of the month. Everyone got credit except a few who were known risks. The cash register was totalled at the end of the day. They had a square tea box full of unpaid bills. A lot was bartered. If someone owed $5.00 they might trade, say eggs or come work at the store to pay it off. When Jackie Jackson was little her mother would give her eggs in a pail to take to Tooley's store and they would give her credit based on the number of eggs to use against purchases. Laura Kellar/Brouse had a cigar box with change for the kids. She was "tickled pink" when she got to operate the cash register. When Florence took off the totalled cash tickets at the end of each day she wrote significant events of that day, unfortunately these were lost after her death. Fruits and vegetables were mostly not brought in until much later as everyone had gardens. Root vegetables and onions were kept in cold cellars and green vegetables such as beans and peas were canned as were meat and fish. Joe Brouse did bring in bananas as Jackie remembers her mother talking about a big banana spider that got loose. Blocks of ice (cut from lakes in the winter) were sold from coolers. The pop machine stored the bottles below in cold water. They cost $0.10. Cases of pop were just left piled outside. None were stolen. Kellars sold dishes and knick knacks. They also gave plates and at one point white enamel pots with flowers with gas purchases. Summers continued that practice. The store did not have special items for Christmas or Easter though it was decorated at Christmas with garlands and a big center bell. People made their own decorations and candy and at Easter boiled and decorated eggs. The store carried hardware items including paint, turpentine, pails, dippers and nails sold by the pound in large barrels. Plumbing items came later. In later years it also carried some clothes and fabrics and notions. Sewing machines were common. Singer used to come around to sell machines and they could be ordered from Simpsons or Eatons. They stitched much heavier fabric than nowadays. Martha Brouse sewed canvas for the binder machine. Animal feed and block salt were sold in a separate building next to the garage. Bait was sold in bait stores – not the general stores – by Manson Kellar and Frank Gregg. At one point they paid 2 cents a piece for frogs. Bill had a chicken coop for family use and a pen for animals. He kept nutria – an animal that looked like a giant rat. U.S. visitors would buy the big wheels of cheese and pea meal bacon to take back home. People had a great time sitting in the Tooley store listening to stories. According to one, Annie Tooley wanted to marry Gordon Haines but her father opposed. Jim Tooley's son, her cousin, proposed to her by holding her down so she couldn't get up till she accepted. She didn't marry him and ultimately married Gordon. One year for Halloween some people traded signs on the Tooley and Ostler stores. Ostler needed a team of horses to get his back. Store goods came from a number of sources. Salesmen would travel in the area and stores would choose items they wanted. Quattrochi's from Perth brought in most lines of groceries and produce in the 50's and beyond. Johnny Lockridge of National Grocers from Kingston brought canned goods. He would come through with a very thick catalogue. Laura remembers going through the pages to pick out the sale items. John, Laura's brother called him "Old South" because he would bring cases of discounted Old South juice that would be piled on the floor. Bread was obtained from Oakes' Bakery and Westons in Perth and Elwood Beamish was the driver. Woodland Dairy also out of Perth provided dairy products. Rawleighs and Watkins were coming around as of the 30's. One of them brought cow salve and a red linament in a bottle that was used for many things. Wilmer Flieler who lived in Arden (and was crippled) came around for Familex, selling salves and linaments. Dodd's kidney pills, that later proved to have nothing in them, were around then. Pinex was a mixture for coughs.After operations ended, the property fell into disrepair and, because of soil contamination from the gas pumps, the buildings were demolished in 2008.

Information from interviews with Jackie Jackson, Joe and Laura Brouse and Andy Armstrong.

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Wensley Store

- About/History

Wensley Store was located on the northend of the Frontenac Road along the northwest end of Snow Road in Miller Township. This settlement started in 1861. Not much is known about the store, except that a post office was located along Snow Road on Lot 25 (Miller Township). A school was located near the post office as was Frank Wensley's store which he operated for several years.

A cheese factory was established at Wensley before 1920. Most likely this store carried items needed for the survival of settlers such as fabrics, travelling shoes, thread, sugar, flour, candle wax, etc...These settlers were very resourceful and made whatever they could.

Shaws Store

- About/History

Playfair Corner was recognized as the second community established in the area. The community saw its first settlers in 1860 but none of them stayed. In 1861, John J. Playfair and his son, William Andrew, arrived and took up land on the Frontenac/Snow Road at the southern junction of these roads which became known as Playfair Corner. All traffic from north, south, east and west passed through Playfair Corner. John J. Playfair did not stay long but his son William A. stayed long enough to get the community on the map. At the same time, William's Uncle Elisha was working to establish a community in Plevna. William's effort was rewarded with the first Post Office in the area, first school, first hotel, the oldest cemetery and the first recorded store in 1863 on the west side of the road at the end of Shaw's Flats. William Shaw and his wife Ann were living at Playfair Corner (on Shaw's Flats) in 1871 with their children. William Shaw was the listed as the first storekeeper. He left around 1895 and no record was found to show what happened to his family. There is reference to the settlers on the Mountain obtaining items at Shaw's store. It was reported that John Gorr carried a plough from Shaw's Store at Playfair Corner to his home on the Mountain.

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KELGOR Forest Products

- About/History

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Land O Lakes Lumber

- About/History

 

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Grindstone Road Sawmill

- About/History

 

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Riverview House

- About/History

This hotel was built on land owned by George Kerr so he may have been the first operator. The 1871 census shows a hotel in Plevna operated by Christopher Perry and his wife Harriet. In 1879 the owner is shown as Marion McPherson (wife of Angus), then in 1884 it was Jonathan Muldoon. Thomas Watton was the owner in 1895 and Joe Brouse took it over in 1912. Damon Albert purchased it next and the last owner to operate it as a hotel was August Lemke. August then used it as a residence and it is now occupied by his daughter and her husband Raymond and Marjorie Klatt.

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Tooley Lodge

- About/History

In 1932 Judd Tooley started a lodge on Mackie Lake. There was a log building on the property when he bought it, it was being used as a hunting camp. The building originally belonged to James Proudfoot and stood on Proudfoot Bay at Fortune Lake and had been moved to Mackie prior to 1920.
Judd and his wife Louise operated a dining room for the tourists coming to his cabins and they also had hunters stay there in the fall.

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Lemke Lodge

- About/History

Clarence Lemke and his wife Sarah (Tooley) operated a lodge on Sand Lake. They had several cottages and also had a store in the lodge.

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