Everybody loves then-and-now photos, right? Or is that just me? Well, anyway, since it’s my blog I’m going to say that everybody does. And I’m happy to say that, thanks – once again – to one of my wonderful readers, I have what I think is a cool set of then-and-now photos for you today, both featuring “downtown” Eldorado, a village in Madoc Township that is maybe seven miles from Queensborough (via Cedar School and Rimington Roads and Highway 62).
Eldorado’s main claim to fame is that it was the site of Ontario’s first gold rush, and that gold rush is of course what gave it its name. (El Dorado having been, as my handy online dictionary puts it, “an imaginary place of great wealth and opportunity; sought in South America by 16th-century explorers.”) Writer Isabella Shaw, who lives near Eldorado, has written a history of the area with a focus on the gold-rush years, called Quest for Gold. Eldorado was also the location of one of the two United churches in the Queensborough-Eldorado Pastoral Charge, of which my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick, was minister between 1967 and 1975; you can read about the pastoral charge here.)
Anyway, the photo at the very top of the post shows Eldorado perhaps a little less than a century ago, with several townsfolk (all of whom look to be male) out for the photo-taking occasion. Note the Bell telephone sign outside what I assume was the general store; I imagine it would have been the only phone in town at the time. (Which makes me wonder whether one of the two general stores in Queensborough in my childhood, Bobbie’s and McMurray’s, might have once housed the only phone in Queensborough. Since the post office was at McMurray’s [until it, along with many rural post offices, was closed], I would put my money on that one if I were a betting woman.)
My source for the vintage photo tells me, “The aproned guy is the blacksmith” and that “The blacksmith shop was to the right, on John Street.”
What a remarkable look back in time!
But what I find most remarkable about the old photo is the road that you can see in it, running south in the direction of Madoc. That rutted, muddy and winding route, my friends, is the precursor of what we now know as beautifully smooth and straight Highway 62 (or, as older folks sometimes call it, “62 Highway”). And that’s one reason why I wanted to take a “now” photo. Let’s just say it makes a person realize that we don’t have much to complain about when it comes to the state of our roads.