A cracked and weedy old sidewalk: a memento

The old sidewalk, Queensborough

I went for a walk through the eastern part of Queensborough this lovely spring evening, and came across something that touched me. It was an old section of sidewalk, nowadays not leading much of anywhere, on the south side of Queensborough Road just before the bridge that crosses the Black River. When I was growing up in Queensborough (a long time ago), the area that this sidewalk ran in front of was the site of a pretty and historic house owned by the Leslie family. But that house is no more, and the sidewalk is clearly not much used.

The new sidewalks, Queensborough

One of the new sidewalks. Serviceable, but where is the greenery growing up through the many cracks that kids would want to try to avoid?

There are other sidewalks in Queensborough, quite new-looking; I believe the Municipality of Tweed put them in not too many years ago, and they are perfectly fine.

But I rather miss the old ones that I remember from my childhood, the ones with the weeds and greenery growing up through the cracks. The ones I would walk – going up the hill on Bosley Road to St. Andrew’s United Church, for instance – and, while doing so, try so hard not to step on the cracks in them. (Step on a crack, break your mother’s back – remember that?) It was challenging, because the sidewalks were so old that the cracks were not just between sections but all over the place. Sometimes, for a bit of a variation, I would try to step only on the cracks. Ah, those simple childhood self-imposed challenges, and the pleasures that came with meeting them.

The old neglected sidewalk, in front of the old Leslie place, reminded me of that. A nice memory for a lovely spring evening,

8 thoughts on “A cracked and weedy old sidewalk: a memento

  1. What a lovely photo. It makes one wonder how many have walked on that sidewalk and of the lives who have called Queensborough “home”.

    Now, do you think there’s a message there? Maybe one a bit closer to “home”? Hmmm?

    • I wondered the same thing when I was looking at that old sidewalk, Sash – how many people over how many years had walked over it, most probably now long gone. As for the message – I need a hint!

      • Well, the night before you posted this message, you had posted one about your sidewalk and the lawn. I didn’t post anything in response, because I didn’t feel that I had anything to contribute to the topic. However, after reading your lovely writing about this old sidewalk, it made me think more about the sidewalk at your house.

        I realize you’d like to replace the sidewalk and fix up the lawn, but what about leaving the sidewalk as it is (and as it has been for many years, where so many people have used it)? Could you fix the lawn by building a flowerbed in that space, perhaps an oval one (ringed with rocks), with new sod as required? I know this likely is the last thing you want, but I also wondered what would happen to the old sidewalk space if it gets ripped up? That part of the lawn would then need fixing, would it not?

        Anyway, it was just one of those “out there” moments, but I really did think of the people who have come and gone over your sidewalk and wondered if it’s worth preserving. As for the L-shape of it, it’s unique, maybe not as nice as curved stone walkway, I’ll admit.

      • How sweet of you to think in kind of nostalgic, let’s-preserve-it-because-of-its-history terms about our walkway, Sash! And you might have something there. Here’s the thing: the way I look at it, the walkway is not that old. It was installed sometime after my family moved away from the Manse in 1975. So of course it holds no nostalgia for me personally, which is why I am – or was, anyway – ready to remove it and replace it with flagstones in a somewhat different place and configuration. But then again, many people have trod that walkway to and from the minister’s house over the past maybe 30 years, so those concrete squares hold their own bit of community history. Something for me to think about…

  2. Enjoyed this story. I would love to see a picture of the ” Leslie Place ” , I think it may have been originally the home of my wife’s great great grandfather William Wiggins and ggm Nancy Cooper ( of the Cooper family from Cooper), both died around 1900 and are buried in the Queensboro Cemetery.
    My research finds that William was an early settler in Queensboro, a carpenter and a farmer, and donated the land for the Anglican and United Churches from his farm. He also built the Anglican Church and Methodist Church ( now gone, referred to by Katherine many times in this blog). It is probable that he built his own home and barns. The Wiggins and Cooper families were fairly large, but had died off or moved away by 1905.
    Always interested in sharing my info or hearing new info about these families.
    It is fascinating to think just who may have been treading on these sidewalks over the years, and what was going on in their lives, and in the community.
    Katherine, thanks for your constant work on this blog. Bob McKeown, Stirling ON

    • Bob, it’s I who thank you, for all this good information! As far as I know you are absolutely correct that “the Leslie place” was originally “the Wiggins place.” And I do find it interesting that William Wiggins – how cool about your family connection to him! – was involved in founding the Anglican Church (which was more or less in his back yard), the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (which eventually became St. Andrew’s United Church). I did not know about his connection to “my” church before your comment. Obviously he was a community man who believed in having lots of houses of worship!

  3. I love the look of old sidewalks like this, which is what I was reminded of when I saw the picture of your old walkway at the Manse. A new “old” walkway would look lovely leading up to your home….

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