Welland History .ca

Historic EVENTS in and around Welland


O.H. Garner Closing Near a Half Century in Those Services

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 29 December 1925]

With a service record of nearly half a century-forty-nine years to be exact- O.H. Garner, Welland’s veteran telegraph and railway ticket agent, has resigned his agencies with the C.P.R., M.C.R. and T.H.& B.

He will shortly open an office from which he will handle the sale of ocean steamship tickets and a real estate business.

Mr. Garner entered upon the line he has handled these many years in 1876, when, with the late E.R. Hellems, they became agents for the G.N.W. telegraph and the Canadian and American Express Companies. Their office was located in a small frame building on the south side of East Main Street on the site now occupied by the Rose Block. Welland was then a village of some 1,500 people, and, it is unnecessary to say, lacked many of the features of the city today. Mud was then, probably the most prominent feature of the landscape at certain seasons of the year, although it may be that the numerous village taverns were a close rival. The mud is gone and so are the taverns, or at least the tavern bars; and the hand of Mr. Garner may be traced in the elimination of both, for he has probably paid about as much in taxes as the next man in the city, and his activities in the field of temperance and moral reform are too well-known to require comment here.

At the time he started business no downtown ticket offices were maintained. The railways then in operation were the old Canada Southern, later absorbed by the Michigan Central, and the Welland Railway, running from Port Colborne to Port Dalhousie, and in due course amalgamated with the Grand Trunk and now forming a part of the Canadian National system.

Mr. Garner’s real estate ventures have been many, one of the earliest and most extensive being his purchase of what was then known as Orient Hall, built by the Oddfellows, which building was for many years the only scene of Welland’s dramatic enjoyment and the centre of much of its social activity.