Town in the wood
Shrewsbury town, England
A more personal account of the naming of Shrewsbury Street . . .
William Price Byers, with his wife Charlotte, was a missionary in India for 40 years. Upon retirement to his boyhood home in Stratford, he offered this account of the naming of Shrewsbury Street.
There was in Stratford in the 1860s an enterprising builder named John Holmes. He built several of our churches including St. James, St. Joseph's and Central (felled by fire) and several others. Mr. Holmes bought a tract of 18 acres bordered by Birmingham, St. David, St. Vincent and Cambria streets. He paid $100 an acre and later was able to sell it for $500 an acre. My father, George Byers, bought an acre plot on the St. David Street side.
One day, Mr. Holmes asked him, "What name shall I give to these streets?" My father suggested that one be called Shrewsbury after the English city in which he had married. George Byers, the man who may have named Shrewsbury, died while swimming in the Avon River in 1882. Source: Streets of Stratford, 2004.
Sanatorium, 20 Shrewsbury St.
In 1899, this beautiful home housed the infamous Windemere Dry Hot Air Hospital, which promised a cure for rheumatism using hot air. It was operated by a Chicago chemist, Willard Ready who, after two years of operation, ran into problems with creditors, and the medical profession which had grave doubts about his methods. Ready disappeared and was never heard of again. The property was taken over artist by artist Peter Dierlamm (see below), who changed the name to the Windermere Sanitorium. He was a hypnotist as well as an artist. He carried on with the treatment, but worked closely with medical doctors in town. Source: Beacon Herald scrapbook.
Peter Dierlamm, photographer
Painting by Peter Dierlamm , in the Stratford-Perth Archives collection
Peter Dierlamm's concrete block patent
Known more for his artistry, Peter Dierlamm took a stab at designing his own concrete block, and received a patent for it in 1904. Differentiating his design from Palmer’s, his block had two interspersed air cavities to prevent moisture build-up and provide insulation.
With the use of concrete blocks, Dierlamm claimed buildings “will be stronger, more durable, more sanitary, more handsome and more satisfactory than one made of any other material. It will be fire proof, hence lower insurance rates. Age and the exposure to the weather will made the concrete more substantial, while other material deteriorates.”
His block design closely resembled another concrete block patent called “Miracle” block, which had a similar vintage, though it is unclear if either inventor copied the other. In the mad dash to produce concrete blocks, ideas and designs spread like wildfire.
James Simpson Russell, architect
35 Shrewsbury St.
Brothers' Family 1903 Stratford-Perth Archives
Lorne Wesley Brothers: GTR, steel sales, and scribe
Lorne Wesley Brothers was born in Stratford in 1898. After a career that started with the Grand Trunk Railway here and then in Toronto, Montreal and Detroit, Brothers eventually retired back in Stratford.
Along the way, he volunteered for service in the First World War as part of the 1st Canadian Tank Battalion. The war ended before he completed his training. Upon returning to Detroit, he decided to switch careers and became a salesman in the steel industry. After his retirement in 1963 he and his wife Mary Louisa (McDonald) decided they found Detroit too noisy and dirty, but they wanted to go where they already had friends.
He later wrote that “the culminating reason for our return was the Festival, which makes the city very exciting . . . Stratford has practically everything. It is small and friendly and has wonderful places for walking, and I love to walk.” Besides that hobby, Brothers wrote articles for the earlier Stratford Times weekly newspaper.
A jazz enthusiast, he was invited to write an article about Duke Ellington’s visit to Stratford, and that led to a regular column on subjects “of his own choice.” For a special edition celebrating Canada’s centennial in 1967, Brothers described the Stratford of his childhood. See Times Past: A Stratford Stroll In 1907
Lorne Brothers was 87 when died in Stratford on Nov. 1, 1985. Mary Brothers was born in 1907 and died in 1995. They are buried at Avondale Cemetery. Source: Betty Jo Belton Stratford-Perth Archives
Brothers house, 51 Shrewsbury St.