Caught twice in the same night
Police might have been a tad charitable on Sept. 6, 1938 when they called two crooks who hit the sleepy village of Finch twice in the same night “professional safe crackers.”
Burglar bunglers might have been a better description. Or, perhaps the crooks just had a bad night.
First, they attempted to blow open the safe at the Canadian Pacific Railway office during the early morning hours. The sturdy safe door didn’t budge and they beat it out of the office empty-handed.
A few minutes later they gave it another shot with plan B. The target was the George L. Mclean and Sons garage.
Perhaps figuring they didn’t use enough nitroglycerine at the CPR office, they upped the charge.
Just as in the CPR attempted heist, the crooks patiently drilled a hole in the combination and inserted the nitro, lit the fuse and took cover. And blow it did. The door came flying off the steel safe. It traveled across the office and crashed through the front window. It landed on the front yard. Pieces of glass traveled 50 feet across the street.
They quickly grabbed $25 from a cash box that had been pried open and retreated to a waiting car.
Neighbours, shaken from their beds by the thunderous explosion, told police they saw two men running from the garage office and heading north toward the CPR station where police figured they had left their car.
Days before several businesses in Cornwall and surrounding area had been hit by thieves who attempted to break into safes.
The crime spree ended with the Finch jobs. Perhaps they got into a new line of work or moved on.
ALSO THIS WEEK IN 1938 - Cornwall Collegiate Institute Board was interested in establishing a French course at CCVS. A petition from the St. Jean Baptiste Society urged the board to establish the course as a way to enable English students to become more proficient in French. If enough students showed interest, the board planned to hire a full-time French teacher. ... Stormont MP Lionel Chevrier laid the cornerstone for the new Cornwall Armoury. A copper box containing various regimental documents and papers was placed beneath the stone where it remains to this day. ... The biggest Labour Day parade in the city’s history - sponsored by the Cornwall Trades and Labour Congress - had 2,500 participants and 14 floats. The two- mile long parade finished at St. Lawrence Park with a picnic and field day. ... Central Park pool closed for the summer. Silver Bridge remained open but without a lifeguard. ... A Cornwall Jail inmate who escaped with a companion by climbing the 16-foot courtyard wall was captured two months later in Oneida, N.Y. where he had tried to rob a store. The other escapee remained at large. ... Cornwall council planned to incorporated three blocks of the township. The area was bounded by Fifth, Marlborough, Second and Baldwin. It included the General Hospital and Athletic Grounds. ... Burton Heward and his Rhythm Knights had top billing at Hubble’s Community Hall, 308 York St. A dance at Mille Roches Arena featured Sparky Dukelow’s 10- piece orchestra. Bill Bushell and His Modern Ramblers were playing at the Green Valley Pavilion. Admission was 25 cents. ... Fawthrop’s General Store, 412 Second St. W., had two cans of Clark’s Irish Stew for 25 cents, one-pound of Maxwell House coffee for 35 cents and two cans of Heinz soup for 25 cents. ... Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School started the new school year with 896 students and 25 teachers. At Cornwall (Central) Public School 900 students were registered. Central Ward Separate had 700, West Ward Convent 575, East Ward Boys 765 and East Ward Girls 801. ... Farmhand Lloyd Mccorriston was robbed as he walked along Church Road near the CN tracks east of Moulinette. The three men who attacked and robbed him were thought to be transients travelling the rails. ... An 81-yearold Cornwall man was charged with arson after fire destroyed a Cartier Avenue tenement.
THIS AND THAT Might be time for municipal politicians to check their financial portfolios. In Hamilton, Mayor Fred Eisenberger has declared a conflict of interest in the cannabis debate around the council table. His financial interests include stock in a marijuana grow-op. ... Not hearing much from the guardians of public health across the province vis-a-vis the health dangers and cannabis. ... One of the fastest growing communities in Canada is Petawawa. Between 2011 and 2016 its population grew by 7.5%, thanks mostly to an expanded military presence. Petawawa has the second highest annual median household income in the province. Its $86,048 is just $403 below Ottawa. Hawkesbury has the lowest in all of Canada: $ 42,384. Cornwall’s median is $ 51,712. ... Another local member of what newscaster/ author Tom Brokaw called The Greatest Generation is gone with the passing of WW2 veteran Gerry Grant. He was 94. He was three years younger (18) than the legal drinking age (21) when he enlisted in the army and was shipped off to England.he met and married his wife Dorothy in Cornwall and went on to serve as Alderman from 1986-1988 ... Somebody mentioned that their father was a Lancaster bomber pilot flying missions over Germany at age 21. He was the oldest member of the sevenman crew. The Greatest Generation for sure.
AROUND AND ABOUT Is it just me or are they making lids on jars harder to open? There was a time, before the safety scare, when one quick twist did the trick. ... Strange sight the other day: A teenager seen using a pay phone. ... Reader recalls his grandmother using a washboard to do the laundry. He also recalls a time when a sewing machine was used to sew up ripped jeans or shirts. And darning needles were used to knit wool socks for the winter. ... Anybody recall drive-ins and cumbersome metal speakers that were suspended from the car window?
TRIVIA This institution had served the city and United Counties for 169 years when it closed in 2002. It has reinvented itself as a tourist attraction.
TRIVIA ANSWER Fullerton’s Drug Store was part of the Royal Hotel Building, Mcconnell Avenue and Montreal Road.
FINAL THOUGHT Leadership is solving problems. The day those serving under you stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.