The Review had a special visitor drop by a few weeks ago to discuss local history and to share some stories about the building that now houses our newspaper offices.
Claude McNabb grew up in Vankleek Hill. His father, Donald, was the Vankleek Hill Fire Chief and also worked as a mechanic at Wilson’s Garage, which was located at 76 Main Street East, in Vankleek Hill. It’s the current location of The Review office. While much has changed, a few things have stayed the same.
When you walk into The Review, you might notice the black splotches that darken the hardwood in spots. That’s a hint as to the original purpose of the room, which served as a showroom floor for new cars. The black blotches in the hardwood are oil stains from the cars that were once rolled through the office. The high ceilings made it easy to work in the building and the large paned glass windows were perfect for showcasing cars.
“I used to come in often as a boy. We would sit downstairs by the coal furnace in the basement to keep warm and we would play in the shop. Sometimes we would go visit the farrier’s shop next door,” said McNabb.
Wilson’s Garage closed in the 1950s, at which point the building was transformed into a convenience store. When Louise Sproule, The Review’s owner and publisher took over the building, she extensively renovated the interior to include some of the trim and detailing that Vankleek Hill is famous for. She also chose to restore the oil-stained floors, which retain their hint of history.