Richmond St.

Marsh Historical Collection settles in at new Richmond St. location

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After 23 years at its original location, the Marsh Historical Collection has moved and they are enjoying their new digs.

The Marsh Historical Collection is now located in the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St., around the corner from their former location at 235 Dalhousie St. It is a move that staff is glad is over, but happy that has occurred.

Research assistant Phyllis Chant said that 250 totes plus other archives and furniture were moved by Glen’s Moving and Storage and brought to the new location several weeks ago. Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner said the public area is set up largely like it was at the former location, with a reference library and a small gift shop.

“We’ve got microfilm ready for people to check out the Echo,” said Reiner, noting they have copies of The Amherstburg Echo from when it opened in 1874 to when it was closed by Sun Media in 2012.

The Marsh Historical Collection has moved into the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St. where Phyllis Chant (left) and Meg Reiner are among the staff ready to assist.

The Marsh Historical Collection has moved into the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St. where Phyllis Chant (left) and Meg Reiner are among the staff ready to assist.

There is a separate room, not open to the general public, where they can store their archives.

“We like it back here because we can control the temperature and humidity,” said Reiner, noting they try to keep it no higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the archives room. “It slows down the deterioration.”

The archives also house land deeds from Amherstburg as well as the former Anderdon and Malden townships.

“Those go back to Crown patents,” said Reiner, adding they range in age from the 1850s to the 1950s.

Large collections of documents, photographs, artifacts and family archives are also housed in the archives. The new location also has a separate workspace to work with the archives.

Reiner said more people have been attending the Marsh Historical Collection since the move, which was completed in mid-June. Genealogy is a one of the main reasons people come to the Marsh Historical Collection, she said, with property research being another.

“Educational groups come in,” added Chant, noting such groups pick a theme and research it.

The collection is being digitized using the program “PastPerfect” but Reiner points out it is not online just yet. She hopes the public will be able to access their collection online within a year.

The move went faster than anticipated, Reiner added.

“We’ll see how it works for us,” said Reiner. “CDP hooked up our computers. They were very helpful.”

Chant stated the Marsh Historical Collection is now more accessible to the public and the new location has given them more exposure to local residents, some of which didn’t know they existed.

Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner looks through newspaper archives housed at the Marsh Collection.

Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner looks through newspaper archives housed at the Marsh Historical Collection.

According to Eleanor Warren, the local historian who helped launch the Marsh Historical Collection, she became friends with John Marsh through her employment at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Marsh owned the Echo at the time with sister Helen and amassed a large collection of materials pertaining to local history.

Warren said this led to the creation of the Marsh Collection Society in 1983, a registered non-profit organization with a board of directors and her as administrator.

The original Marsh Historical Collection location opened on Dalhousie St. in 1994, eight years after Helen Marsh died and one year after John died. It doubled in size three years later at that location.

Warren noted their microfilm holdings also include census records for Essex County, assessment rolls, land instruments and local newspapers such as The Amherstburg Echo and River Town Times. They also have published several books and put out a quarterly newsletter.

The Marsh Historical Collection is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.marshcollection.org, e-mail research@marshcollection.org or call 519-736-9191. They can also be found on Facebook by searching “Marsh Historical Collection.”

Donations being sought to help rebuild Richmond St. home

 

 

Janice Taylor (left) is heading fundraising efforts to try and rebuild the home of Sandra and Chris Sampogna. She is starting to gain community support.

Janice Taylor (left) is heading fundraising efforts to try and rebuild the home of Sandra and Chris Sampogna. She is starting to gain community support.

By Ron Giofu

 

Damaged in a fire over two years ago, the home at 220 Richmond St. sits with a number of things still needing to be fixed.

It’s owners, Chris and Sandra Sampogna, are trying to repair the home but with the money from the insurance company not enough to pay for a mounting list of problems, the Sampognas have fallen on hard times.

“If you ever saw the movie ‘The Money Pit,’ that’s what we have,” said Chris.

When repairs started to be made, the couple kept finding more things wrong with the home from bad plumbing, to bad wiring to flooring and roof problems among other issues. The couple and their three teenage boys have been slowly trying to make repairs to the four bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom home but money is tight and the need great.

“We kept finding more and more stuff,” said Sandra.

Calling it a “nightmare” to get the home back in shape, Chris admitted it is embarrassing to have people look at it as they go by. The home features exposed studs and sheets of plywood used as doors on the inside and, to add to their problems, Chris has a medical condition affecting his legs making it difficult for him to stand at points as well as arthritis that is developing in his knees. While he is able to work, he said much of his weekend time is spent resting so he can return to work the next week. Sandra had a job to try and help out, but lost that when the business she worked for went into different hands.

“It’s been challenging,” he said of the family’s ordeal since the May 2013 fire. The family has lived in a hotel, a trailer and finally back into the home now that it is structurally sound.

The Sampogna family has spent seven years in the Richmond St. home, after purchasing it from his parents who owned it since 1989. They admit they have thought about moving but the mortgage they have on the home makes it financially difficult for them to sell. The couple also does not want to uproot their children from their current schools.

Neighbours have been patient, he added, stating they are satisfied when they see progress to the home.

The couple’s children know the children of Janice Taylor and when Taylor befriended the Sampognas, the wheels were put in motion to try and help the family. Taylor, who runs the non-profit fundraising company Taylor’d Independence, was picking up Chris and Sandra’s sons to help with another fundraiser she was doing and struck up a conversation about helping out. Things have grown from there, though they are looking for more help.

Sampogna house2

Wanting to change the image of the house from “that house on Richmond St.” to “the Sampogna’s home,” Taylor has started a page on the crowd sourcing website www.gofund.me.com under the title “Let’s Fix that House.”

Taylor has also found a local realtor, a local builder and an Amherstburg church willing to help with repairs and refinancing, though it has yet to be determined whether the home can be repaired or whether it will have to be torn down and a new home rebuilt on the site. She said she was asked to keep the identities of the professionals from being stated publicly at this point while it is still being determined what needs to be done and how much it might cost.

Fundraising dinners may be held, Taylor added, but in the meantime they are looking for donations of cash and building materials to help the family.

“You can be anonymous,” she said. “We need money and raw materials.”

Donations can be made at the GoFundMe page – the direct link being www.gofundme.com/xu6wek68 – or by contacting Taylor by phone (519-564-2581) or e-mail (taylord.independence@gmail.com.)

Cheques can also be mailed to Taylor’d Independence, 282 Richmond St., Amherstburg, Ontario, N9V 1G8.

“It feels weird,” Chris said of having someone fundraise for them. “I’ve never had anyone help me before.”

“It’s overwhelming,” Sandra added.

Local realtor purchases former Amherst Hotel

Dan Gemus of Dan Gemus Real Estate Team Ltd. has purchased the former Amherst Hotel on Richmond St. He will be moving his team in there later this year. Gemus said Rosa's is also moving there with 5-6 apartments going upstairs.

Dan Gemus of Dan Gemus Real Estate Team Ltd. has purchased the former Amherst Hotel on Richmond St. He will be moving his team in there later this year. Gemus said Rosa’s is also moving there with 5-6 apartments going upstairs.

By Ron Giofu

 

A local realtor has purchased the former Amherst Hotel and plans to relocate his staff as well as a local restaurant there.

Dan Gemus told the RTT that he purchased the property, located at 61 Richmond St., and will move his real estate team into the space currently occupied by Audrey Festeryga’s Liberal campaign office. He said he has also made a deal with Rosa’s to bring that restaurant into the space formerly occupied by Kinfolks.

The real estate office and Rosa’s are both currently located on Murray St.

Gemus described the two upper floors as “a big, unfinished space” and plans to convert those into apartments. He said there will be at least five apartments put in, with four of them one-bedroom apartments and the other a bachelor apartment.

A sixth apartment could be added, as Gemus said a former banquet hall space could either be converted into a two-bedroom apartment or be used as more space for Gemus’ real estate team.

Gemus hopes to have the restaurant space open within a month or two and plans to start renovations on the space his real estate office will be moving into sometime after the Oct. 19 federal election. He estimates renovations will last roughly two months.

“Then we’ll get to work on getting quotes for the apartments upstairs,” he said. “I would like to say it would take one year (to complete) but it depends on the quotes we get.”

There will also be brickwork done to the sides and rear of the building.

“Our goal is to improve the exterior look of the building and get it looking its best again,” said Gemus.

Gemus takes possession of the building in roughly one month but he admitted it was a site he wasn’t considering when he started to look for a larger office space. He warmed to the idea of moving to the downtown core of Amherstburg after considering the recent activity, which includes the opening of several new restaurants and two new residential developments planned along nearby Dalhousie St.

“We’re excited to be part of it,” he said.

Purchasing the building is also attractive from the standpoint that it comes with revenue opportunities, as it will have the commercial and residential renters.

The parking lot behind the building will likely remain private, as Gemus said there has to be enough parking for restaurant patrons, real estate staff and apartment renters.

Dan Gemus Real Estate Team Ltd.’s current home at 114 Murray St. will likely be sold, he stated. The team moved there in Dec. 2013.

“We didn’t anticipate outgrowing this space as fast as we did,” said Gemus. “The plan is to sell it as a commercial property.”

Amherstburg Food Bank finds new home

 

 

Amherstburg Food Bank president Lucille Thrasher stands with some of the goods that volunteers will be placing on shelves at their new location. The food bank plans to open May 5 at 126 Richmond St., in the former Mon Sherry Flowers location.

Amherstburg Food Bank president Lucille Thrasher stands with some of the goods that volunteers will be placing on shelves at their new location. The food bank plans to open May 5 at 126 Richmond St., in the former Mon Sherry Flowers location.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Food Bank has a new home.

The food bank is now located at 126 Richmond St., just east of the Sandwich St. S. stop light and work is underway in order so that they can open at their new location May 5. President Lucille Thrasher indicated getting a new location, after being granted a one-month extension at their former location, was a relief.

“It was getting to the point were I wasn’t sleeping at night worrying,” said Thrasher.

The Amherstburg Food Bank does have to pay rent at their new location, she acknowledged, with the volunteers having hoped to get a new location for free. Their landlord has “knocked quite a bit off the rent because we’re a food bank,” Thrasher pointed out, but they will need donations to help cover the rent.

“We’re hoping to get enough in yearly donations to cover it,” she said. “If we can’t, we’ll eventually have to close.”

The food bank was offered a free location, Thrasher added, though accessing the space required climbing roughly 20 steps which was deemed too much for volunteers and those who use the food bank.

The new location is in a great spot in Amherstburg, the volunteers agreed.

“To me, it’s a perfect location,” said Thrasher.

The location is central, something which Thrasher and her volunteers had wanted, and is located on a main floor without steps.

“It’s a great location as far as I’m concerned,” she added. “We hope people who couldn’t get to the old place can get here now.”

The Amherstburg Food Bank serves an estimated 30-35 people per month with Thrasher stating all people in need are invited.

“Anyone needing the facility are welcome to come whether they are first timers or regulars,” said Thrasher.

Those wishing to make donations to the Amherstburg Food Bank or those wanting to volunteer can contact Thrasher at 519-736-3304 or e-mail her at lthrasher22@cdpwise.net.

The food bank is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-12 noon.