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Hosking General Store

The Heritage Society's research has determined that in 1950 there wereabout 35 village stores within 20 kilometers on either side of Lake Charlotte. Today there are three! This dramatic difference in the number of storesis indicative of the crucial role that stores once played in a community, supplying most of the goods needed to live and work in a rural area. Now, of course, it is possible for almost everyone to travel in theirown vehicle to purchase the products they need.

The Hosking Store is typical of stores builtduring the early 1900s and was originally located in Oyster Pond. The store was built in 1894 by F. H. Stoddard at a cost of $350, "including the shelves and counters".

Before the building was constructed, the store was run from the home of Flora Mitchell who started it after her husband, John Duncan Mitchell, died in 1883. John and Flora's son, W.M.O. Mitchell, known locally as "Willy 0", and daughter Roxy, took over the running of the store in 1918. Some years later, Roxy's husband, Frederick William Hosking, started an ice cream parlour on the secondfloor. The ice cream was delivered only once a week, and there was no refrigeration in the store. Because the ice cream had to be eaten soon after it arrived, word spread quickly, and the parlour became a busy place serving the treat at five cents a scoop.

In 1949, Frederick and Roxy's son Garth Hosking, and his wife Mildred, took over the store and renamed it Hosking's General Store. The store was a success for 25 years and closed in 1975. For a few years the store was used for occasional community eventsbut by 1995 it was showing its age and a demolition was planned. Learning of this, the Heritage Society approached Mildred Hosking who donated the building to them. The Society removed the building and placed itin storage until funding was secured for Memory Lane.

The two-storey portion of the store measures 20' x 28', the single-storey warehouse portion 24' x 40' and the office 8' x 12'. The building was moved by separating the top floor from the bottom (which was in poor condition) and movingit and the warehouse and office as separate sections. The first floor of the main part of the store was substantially re-built but the counter, windows, door and canopy are all original.

The interior is similar to the original and stocked with some merchandize from the 1940s. However, there is some difficulty in obtaining food samples, which of course tend to be perishable, even if they are canned. The Heritage Society has research underway to try and obtain labels, etc., from food products dating to the 1940-1950 period and welcomes help from our visiting public.

Our Gift Shop is located in the warehouse section and stocks a variety of merchandise focused on local art and crafts, products related to the 1940s, antiques and collectibles, and a selection of merchandise commemorating Memory Lane Heritage Village

To view a virtual history of the store and Oyster Pond, visit the Virtual Museum of Canada's at:
http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/CommunityMemories/AEDB/000a/Exhibits/English/index.html