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The TALES you probably never heard about

Women’s Institutes – PART SIX

Fonthill WI dates to 1913 still active in community

[Welland Evening Tribune, Thurs March 31,1977]

The Fonthill Women’s Institute dates back to February 1913 when there was an area roughly between Pancake Lane to Spring Valley Manor apartments at the north and from Fonthill Lumber Co., originally the site of the old rail station, to Port Robinson Road, with a population of approximately 500.

In this small area, there was great civic interest by the institute members. There was knitting for the soldiers; first aid kits for the school; free sewing instruction for the older public school girls; public speaking for all pupils in Fonthill region along with providing public picnic tables and benches in the lower park.

A flag pole was provided for the centre of the village and projects were a few news bulletin board and the donation of free skating on the small outdoor rink, not forgetting the supervision donated for the safety of afternoon skating.

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Women’s Institutes PART FIVE

Women’s  institute founded in Fenwick near turn of century

[Welland Evening Tribune Thurs March31, 1977]

Fenwick Women’s Institute (which was first known as Pelham Women’s Institute) was organized early in 1909 as a part of Monck Districk, Mrs R. B. Fitzgerald was the first president and became secretary-treasurer of Monck District, a position she filled until the dissolution of the district in 1917.

In the days of the infancy of the institutes few women worked away from their homes, so that meetings were directed mostly to the welfare of homes and families.

Perhaps one of the greater efforts of the Fenwick Institute was  the successful completion of a campaign to have electricity and street lights brought to the village of Fenwick, and in the buildings of sidewalks. In those days there were no competing organizations so that there were few distractions to the spread of institute work. Mostly of all the women in the community belonged to the institute and were staunch in their support.

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© Harold Fox

Pictured here are six photographs taken at Lake Erie during the snow blizzard that paralyzed much of the area. Erno Rossi wrote the classic book “White Death-The Blizzard of ‘77” which covers the spectacular events of that winter.

It was a four day storm. People went to work on Friday January 28, by late morning the snow began to fall. High winds by the afternoon had visibility at zero. It was not until Monday night did the storm loosen its’ grip. It had paralyzed much of south Niagara..
Many vehicles were left abandoned on the roads, hampering clean up operations. The storm stranded about one hundred and thirty people at Niagara schools, Fort Erie, Wainfleet and Port Colborne.. About one hundred people were stranded at the Seaway Mall in Welland. Hotels and motels were filled as well.
There were twenty and thirty foot drifts along Lakeshore road in Port Colborne. C-HOW radio broadcast emergency operations providing assistance and information. The Lincoln and Welland Regiment helped in Welland and Port Colborne .Private citizens with snowmobiles helped police and fire rescue.

Many people opened up their homes giving food and shelter to strangers. Many people were stranded in vehicles buried in the snow.

Farmers in the area suffered due to running out of food for animals. Unable to get milk to the dairy, they had to dump the milk at a high cost. Turkeys died, heavy snow caused roofs to collapse.

The cost of the storm was believed to be around three hundred million.

The Blizzard of 1977 carved a place in our history books.

Did you have a personal experience in this blizzard, if so we would appreciate any comments you wish to make.

Reference: Welland Evening Tribune Thurs Feb. 10, 1977