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Address: 6593 Fourth Line [Main Street]

Location: not on file

Date and Fabric: late 19th century frame store converted to housing.

Known Owners:

Executors of Robert Mackey - 1894
Elizabeth Hynes 1894 - 1898
James Blair 1898 - 1899
R.T. Craig 1899 - 1901
W.R. Leach 1901 - 1919
W. Howard and Bertha Leach 1919 - 1960
Edgar Leach 1960 - ?
Keith and Vera Armstrong ? - 1984
David Mulligan 1984 -

Other photograph 1986, and poor photocopy c. 1905.

Located on the north corner of Andrew Street and Main Street, this white building is now [1986] a private residence despite sporting the "Mulligan's Grocery" sign. It was for a long time the general store of W.R. Leach and family, gradually becoming more of a grocery store over the years.

In 1904, W.R. Leach moved to North Gower 41 and established his store on what has been suggested as the site of the old Johnston hotel. Mr. Leach does not appear to have been the building's first occupant, though. In 1894 the executors of Robert Mackey sold the lot to Elizabeth Hynes for $725 and this price indicates that a building was probably included. Mr. Hynes was a harness maker and it is possible that the building was used as a place of business as well as a residence. The house was almost destroyed in the 1895 fire [see 6599 Main Street] and was only saved because water was poured on it and, according to local lore, probably whisky as well. In 1898 the Hynes moved west and sold to James Blair for $750. In 1899 Blair sold to R.T. Craig [see 6583 Main Street] for $900. and he, in turn, sold in 1901 to W.R. Leach for $1200. The building would remain in the Leach family for the next eighty years.

The Leaches kept their store in the southern half and lived in the northern half. When W.R. Leach died in 1919 his son Howard, - W.H. Leach - took over the operation of the store. Howard was active in community affairs, serving as Township Treasurer and as a Clerk of Division Court. At this time the store's inventory was general in nature and included feed and coal oil as well as molasses and other groceries. W.H. Leach passed on in 1938 but the store continued under the management of his wife Bertha until 1960 when their son Edgar took over. In 1968 his sister Vera Armstrong and her husband Keith began to operate the store while Edgar started an insurance business. In 1969 Mr. and Mrs Armstrong bought the old Standard Church building at the rear of their property, tore it down, and built the grey block building that is the current grocery store. By this time, they sold mostly grocery products.

Sometime before 1930 a kitchen was added to the rear of the northern half and another structure was added to the back of the southern half. Shortly after 1938 the house was jacked up [by Jack Baldry] and a basement was dug out to be used for storage. At the same time the front entrance was modified to sit directly on the southwest corner of the house, facing the southwest rather than the west. A sun porch was then added on the north side. With the construction of the new grocery in 1969, it was decided to convert the old store into an apartment, thus creating two residences. In 1984, Mrs. Armstrong sold both the modern grocery store and the old Leach store to David Mulligan, who rents out the latter.

[after Peter Davidson, 1986. Sources 2, 3, 4, 5]

41 Parish of North Gower, Historical Sketch, op cit., page 27

March, 1990

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