The Meeting House That Started Our Community

by Mar 21, 2022Turner Tales0 comments

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This photo below was taken at the corner of Queen and Cooper. It shows Hespeler’s very fashionable Post Office and St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The building pictured between them has an interesting story and dates back to even before Hespeler got its name – known as Bergeytown at the time.

Post Office and Catholic Church

The Community Meeting House was built in the 1840’s by Michael Bergey, the Hamlet’s first resident. It was located immediately east of the present Catholic Church on Cooper Street. It was constructed to provide a meeting hall for the settlement’s growing population.

Community Meeting House

Community Meeting House

During its life, the building hosted services of nearly all church denominations (before their churches were built), club and organization meetings, political and social gatherings. It was home to the Temperance Society; and many, many couples began their married life with a reception in the hall.

The old Community House was torn down in 1944 and the lumber was stored on site. It consisted of 6 x 8” hand hewn timbers, 4×4” roof rafters and walls made of 4 x 12” dovetailed timbers fastened with wooden pegs. The sheathing was 1/2” tongue and grooved pine boards. The lumber was recycled and sold for various purposes.

Meeting House Timber ConstructionIn 1945, Ernest Connell purchased a supply for $200, recut the timber to size and with his family; wife Hilda, children Jack, Joan and Jean built their home at 142 George Street (Henderson today). The lumber is still providing shelter – more than 160 years later.

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