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Address: 2358 Roger Stevens Drive
Old Library and Second Township Hall

Location: not on file

Date and Fabric: 1967, small one storey concrete block office

Known Owners:

photograph 1997

Narrative text follows. See also "Presence of the Past" for November, 1984 for background specifically on Roger Stevens.

This building, which is at present [1990] the Roger Stevens Centre, was built in 1967 by the North Gower Township Council to provide a Township office, council chamber and village library. Prior to this, the Council met in the 1876 Township Hall [6581 Main Street, q.v.], heated with a central wood stove which was fired up only for meetings. The clerk-treasurer operated largely from his house and, apart from the Road Department, the Township had no full time staff.

Former Reeve Ferguson Pratt recalled that the new Town Hall was financed entirely through centennial grants from the provincial and federal governments. It was built by the late Percy Sadler, a much respected local craftsman. This is a block structure on a concrete slab. The easterly part was the clerk's office, the central room served as council chamber, and the westerly end housed the library. Council had bad luck with the well which produces very sulphurous water, although the well in the road garage [now firehall] next door offers sweet water in abundance.

When North Gower and Marlborough Townships were united with parts of Osgoode, Gloucester and Nepean to produce Rideau Township in 1974, a serious problem of overcrowding appeared immediately. It became necessary to install full-time staff in the Council Chamber and the library, which was an unsatisfactory arrangement both for the librarian and for the Township Treasurer whose desk, telephone, ledgers and calculator were hemmed in by shelves of library books and, when the library was open, by clients young and old. The situation was temporarily relieved by the rental of an "ATCO' office trailer, like those seen on construction sites, which was installed behind the building to house the Treasury Department. This makeshift arrangement lasted for a couple of years, until the new Township Hall was ready for occupancy in 1979.

At about the same time, the Library, Road Department, and Fire Brigade played musical chairs. In 1976 the Road people moved into their new garage adjacent to the site for the new Town Hall. In due course the Fire Brigade found more spacious accommodation in the old road garage [which years earlier they had shared with the then much smaller Road Department] and the former firehall was subsequently recycled to provide more space for the library. When the Council and staff moved to the new town hall in January, 1979, the 1967 building was no longer needed for municipal operations.

Council accordingly offered the old hall for sale, but when prospective purchasers learned about the water situation, and about the slab foundation and bearing walls which severely limited possible modifications in the lay-out, their interest rapidly waned. However, an active and enthusiastic group of senior citizens suggested that they could make very good use of the building, the township leased it to them for a dollar, and they have flourished ever since. [D Bartlett, 1990]

March, 1990

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