HHS Facebook Page

We are happy to announce our Facebook page. It is available to the public and we encourage you to visit, read the posts and comment away. The beauty of Facebook is it’s easy of use. You can go here to get news of upcoming meetings, society activities or simply interesting finds in the area of local or regional history.

FB Page


Simply click on the image to be taken to the page. Don’t forget to “Like” the page and “Share” it with your friends.

Hastings Historical Society 2014 Annual Report

Below is the HHS 2014 annual report. It provides a synopsis of our activities and meetings throughout the year. I might note that the February meeting is missing since it was canceled due to us losing our old meeting place on Victoria Street.

Our meetings and activities for the past year. Thanks to Patricia Geer for compiling it.:


Hastings Historical Society, 7905

Annual Report for 2014

January, 2014 Dan Osborne, retired professor, spoke about an amazing medical discovery on Mackinac Island.   A story from 1822 about a doctor’s study of stomach acids from a gunshot wound to the stomach of his subject.

March, 2014 Jess Posgate from OurDigitalWorld.org spoke about this program for digitalizing artifacts and documents for historical societies, libraries, museums etc.

April, 2014 Colin Caldwell, a Cobourg historian gave a talk about an Indian (Native) Battle that took place around 1665 at Cameron Point on Rice Lake where the Trent River meets the Rice Lake near the Ouze River. The period between 1660 and 1690 seems to have only an oral history and perhaps been kept from the standard Canadian History books. These battles involving some 600 canoes culminated in the 1701 peace treaty that was signed in Montreal. He has a wonderful broad understanding of history and gave a very entertaining talk. Questions followed.

May, 2014 Guest speaker George Parker brought a great knowledge of the old railroad that crossed Rice Lake over 100 years ago!  He has worked to produce a model of the original bridge at their Cobourg display building and brought a part of it to Hastings and tell us this most interesting story.

Participated in Hastings Midnight Madness and the Farmer’s Market

June, 2014 Our 2015 Calendars were made ready for sale.

July, 2014 Participated in the Canada Day Parade and Committee and the Founder Week Committee.

August, 2014 Participated in the Hastings Waterfront Festival.

September, 2014 Speaker Mr. Ed Jesseman proceeded to tell us about his youth in the 1930’s. In 1932 his father brought him and his brother to Hastings for a fishing trip.  He left the boys in Hastings for the summer.  They were 11 and 13 years old.  He showed a picture of himself and his brother in the side car of his father’s motorcycle. They had only a dollar and ate a lot of fish that first year.  They obtained various jobs for local farmers and made about fifty cents a day.  His talk was interesting about these various jobs, rock pile fence building, picking onions, finding frogs for Americans, stoking grain, and helping the lock master.  They even set traps for snapping turtles.  In 1935 he stayed with Art Beamish for $3.00 room and board, and worked for him in 1939.

September 26, 2014 we collaborated with the Friends of the Hastings Library with the presentation of Lynn Philip Hodgson, author of 3 books on Camp X, a secret World War 11 training camp for spies.  The camp was located in the Oshawa, Whitby area and was open for 1,000 days and trained 500 spies.  Over 100 people attended the presentation which was filled with wonderful pictures and fascinating stories.  Mr. Hodgson was pleased to announce that CBC will be doing a series on Camp X starting in January, 2015.

October, 2014 Held a Farewell Pot Luck dinner for Tony Tuit, former president of our HHS.  Tony has moved to Nanaimo, BC.

November, 2014 Guest speaker George Parker’s topic was The Cobourg, Peterborough & Marmora Railway & Mining Company, part 2 of a previous presentation.  George gave an enthusiastic and exciting account of how the lands around Blairton were surveyed and purchased, the mining and shipping of the Iron Or, the building of a 40 mile wagon track road from Marmora to Belleville.  The sale of the company to an American company and eventually the shipping by barge via Hastings and Harwood onto Cobourg.  After several more years the company was sold again, after iron was found in Michigan.  This was the end of the iron mining and the new owners timbered the land after that.

December, 2014 Held our Annual Christmas Pot Luck dinner. Participated in the Legion Branch 106’s Last Chance Bazaar.

Patricia Greer, Secretary, HHS February 23, 2015


General Meeting 2014-04-01 And Presentation – First Nations Early History

2014 04 02


On Wednesday evening,April 2, 2014, at 7:00 the Hastings Historical Society will be hosting their annual General Meeting. It is time to elect a slate of officers for the next two years. This meeting, as per the requirements of the recently passed by law, there will be two new Member-At-Large positions to elect. That will raise the number of Executive Committee members to seven from five.

The presentation for the meeting will be one from Colin Caldwell, a local historian, who will be speaking about the early history of local First nations peoples. It promises to be both educational and entertaining.

The new executive committee positions were felt necessary by the existing executive as they look forward to additional digitization efforts as well as the ongoing work of looking for a storage solution for the HHS archival material. It was also felt desirable to add new blood to the committee. There is a significant ammount of work invoilved in running the society and as the old saying goes, “Many hands make light labour.”

We look forward to seeing a good turnout and are also looking for suggestions for some outings in the coming (we hope) warmer weather.

“Their Best Work Yet”

Thanks to Bill Freeman and the EMC newspaper for a wonderful write-up on the 2014 calendar.


EMC News -Hastings -Calling it their best work yet, the Hastings Historical Society has just released its newest calendar.

The 2014 calendar is fresh off the press and destined to be a best seller like the organization’s previous offerings.

James and 2014 Calendar“I really do believe this is the best one yet,” says Jim Coveney, a member of the HHS calendar committee and a serious and dedicated collector of post cards, especially those depicting local scenes and activities.

“We really worked hard on the whole thing,” Coveney told the Trent Hills Independent. “We’re going to have a hard time to top this for 2015.”

“We’ve been working on the calendar for quite a while, seeking photos is a year-round project.”

The calendar is marked by “variety and uniqueness,” says Coveney.

“It’s the variety of interest that touches people.”

“It is very difficult to source unique photos but we’ve done it this year, we’ve got some dandies.”

One of those remarkable photos is of the Hastings Grand Trunk Railway station taken in 1911. The HHS has long been searching for old photos of the railway station and Coveney says it is virtually impossible to find 100-year-old shots of the station.

“This was quite a find,” he said. The photo includes local farmers, municipal officials and station workers.

Coveney came across the card on the Internet and bid on the original, he didn’t succeed with the bid but was able to get a “modest copy.”

When he saw the original photo he said to himself: “it had to come to Hastings.”

The card belonged to a dealer in Hamilton and the reason the bidding went so high was that collectors were certain there were no photos of the Hastings Railway Station, featuring the word Hastings, to be found.

“There are collectors of just railway station post cards. They are very dedicated collectors,” Coveney says.

“We were so happy to find a (railway station) picture with local people in it. We hope that people will recognize family members.”

There’s also a 1939 photo of the Hastings hockey team which includes Dit Clapper’s father William, a member of the team’s executive. The photo is courtesy of Campbellford realtor John Boyle whose father Ray was a member of the team.

A1910 photo of

the large stockyard located behind the Hastings railway station filled with cattle is also included. The station can be seen in the background.

“It’s the first and only photo that I’ve ever known about that brings together those two industries that helped build the town.”

The history of that card is remarkable.

The post card was bought in 1910 by a woman who later moved to San Diego. In 1983 she mailed the card back to relatives in Jarvis, Ontario.

Her message, Coveney says, was that her grandfather was in Hastings 75 years ago buying cattle for Koller Packers. On his way home from that sale he was killed in a car accident.

“Our absolute goal is to share,” says Coveney. “We have a passion for Hastings and promoting the good things about it.”

The historical society’s yearly calendars attest to that passion.

“Birth of a Village” Reissued and 2014 Calendars Are Here!

One of Wilfrid Lynch's Original Copies

One of Wilfrid Lynch’s Original Copies

We are very excited to announce that our project to get copies of Wilfrid Lynch’s “Birth of a Village” back in print has succeeded. Copies of the book will should be available this July 1st weekend at the Bridgewater Cafe and the Chamber of Commerce office on Front Street, and at the Water Lily on Bridge Street. There will also be copies available at Hastings Historical Society tables at the Village Market on Saturday mornings and at events throughout the summer, like the Canada Day Parade and the Waterfront Festival.

With the new books we have tried very hard to emulate the originals. From maintaining the plactic comb binding right down to keeping the same content on each page, so that page 57 in the new copies contain the same text or images as the older ones. The only new material added to the book is the acknowledgement and thanks to Wilfrid and his heirs, for permission to re-issue this history of Hastings, and to add contact information for the Historical Society to the back cover.

The books will be available for $20.00. There were only 150 of them printed but we have the electronic files, so it will be a lot less work to reprint copies in the future. In the acknowledgement that Wilfrid wrote in “Birth of a Village” he says “I have spent many hours, which were a source of pleasure to me, in presenting this abridged history of our village, and it is my fervent wish that the reader will derive some pleasure and knowledge of the illustrious days of Hastings past.”

This reprint will help ensure that Wilfrid’s book goes on into the future and continues to provide “…pleasure and knowledge of the illustrious days of Hastings past” for years to come.

Speaking of Days of Hastings Past…

Hastings Historical Society 2014 Calendar

…the 2014 calendars are here. They include great shots of the canal, the downtown, local buildings including the original Church of England, built 150 years ago this June, the railway station and sports teams from the 20’s and 30’s.

This years calendars include statutory holidays and reminders of our meeting dates.

The calendars will be on sale at the same locations as “Birth of a Village.” Look for the posters below.

posters 2014


Japanese Tsunami and Disaster Witness to Speak at Meeting

Tsunomi poster2

The guest speaker for the February 6th meeting of the Hastings Historical Society will be Peter Franken, of Hastings. Peter was an exchange student in Japan when the disaster hit.

He attended Hastings Public school and Campbellford District High School. He is now working on his degree in Trent UniversityHis grand parents Marg and Rick Santon, are active residents of our Hastings community too. grand parents Marg and Rick Santon, are active residents of our Hastings community too.

Peter met his girl friend, Asuka Ono in High School in Japan. They were in school when the disaster hit and were able to get home on their bicycles. She had earlier been an exchange student to New Zealand. Asuka now lives in Peterborough and attending Sir Sanford Fleming Collage for two years studying Travel Tourism.

Dit Clapper Celebration Reported on TV

Information about the upcoming Dit Clapper day street naming celebration and the following evening supper made the Chex TV News today.


Hastings and the Historical Society got very good and enthusiastic coverage. With any luck (if the weather holds) we will get a great turnout for the naming ceremony at the Hastings Village Marina on the south shore of the Trent River. Dignitaries expected to attend include Scotty Bowman and his wife, MP Rick Norlock, MPP Rob Milligan, our own Councillor Bob Crate and other municipal staff. We are expecting over twenty members of the Clapper clan to be in attendance, the first time in many, many years they have had such a get together.

All are welcome to attend the 4:00 PM ceremony. Later that day, at 5:30 PM, the Civic Center in Hastings will be the location for the sold out Dit Clapper Recognition Supper. Speakers for this event include:

1) Stewart Richardson, author of the book Dit Clapper and the Rise of the Boston Bruins

2) Greg Theberge, grandson of Dit Clapper and retired NHL player who played his whole career with one team, like his grandfather Dit, though in Greg’s case it was the Washington Capitals. Greg also played for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes

3) Mark Potter, President of the International Hockey Hall of Fame

Tickets are still available for the Dit Clapper Day raffle, which includes:

  • Boston Bruin Commemorative Book valued at $427.
  • Wine Basket courtesy of Bob Crate valued at $100.
  • “Dit Clapper & the Rise of the Boston Bruins” 4 copies @ $20
  • Dinner at Banjo’s valued at $  25.
  • Autographed Photo of  Boston Bruin Milan Lucic

There will be a silent auction held at the dinner with additional items available. All items and prizes will be available for viewing at the Marina on Saturday at 4:00 PM. Hope to see you there.





Dit Clapper Celebration

Dit Clapper Hastings Hockey LegendOn August 11th, at 4:00 pm outside the Hastings Village Marina, on what is now called Water Street, a ceremony will be held to officially rename the street Dit Clapper Drive.

Dit Clapper grew up and lived in the town of Hastings before, during and after his incredible career as a Boston Bruins all-star and NHL Hockey Hall of Fame member. The first player to be inducted into the Hall while still active in the league, Dit played for Boston for 20 years and then coached for two more. Dit won three Stanley Cups with the Bruins, the only NHL team he ever played for.

The Hastings Historical Society recently began the process of having this local hero celebrated by formally putting in a request to have Water Street renamed Dit Clapper Drive. The request quickly passed all administrative hurdles and was enthusiastically endorsed by Trent Hills Municipal Council.

The renaming ceremony will be followed by a dinner honouring Dit. Members of his family, local sports fans and retired NHL players who live in the area have already expressed an interest in attending. Stewart Richardson, local resident and author is currently working on a definitive biography of the local hero, “Dit Clapper and the Rise of the Boston Bruins” and will be just one of the presenters at the dinner. The Hastings Historical Society is in conversation with several other potential speakers and there will be stories, anecdotes, vintage photographs and the Society has tracked down some early film clips of the all-star that they hope to have available for the evening.

There will be a draw/auction featuring a retro jersey, copies of Stewart’s book, several items from the Boston Bruins organization including a collectors edition of last years book “Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins” (retail $479.99) and other items donated form local organizations and businesses. All proceeds form the draw/auction will go towards a commemorative monument honouring Clapper to be placed on municipal property on Dit Clapper Drive.

The dinner will be held at the Civic Center, 6 Albert Street, East. Doors open at 5:30 and the dinner will start at 6:30. Tickets will be $35.00 per person and seating will be limited to 100. Tickets will go on sale Canada Day. For information please keep checking back to this site or call Pat Funk, society president, at 705-696-3988.

Dit Clapper Drive!


CHEX Newswatch:

“The village of Hastings will be recognizing one of hockey’s all-time greats by renaming a street in honour of the late Dit Clapper. Greg Davis has the details..”


If viewers have stories, memories, etc. of Dit Clapper, contact author Stewart Richardson at stewart@rmhi.ca.”

Great job by Pat Funk and Stewart Richardson.

Thanks to CHEX reporter Greg Davis.