The Old General Store was built circa 1900 and is one of the few remaining examples of a large rural store in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The design, craftsmanship, and attention to detail is truly remarkable!
A hundred years ago, the village of Murray River bustled with activity. In addition to this store, there were 3 or 4 other general merchandise stores, a tailor, a jewellery shop, a gristmill, a sawmill, and a number of shipyards. The busy shipyards built one, two, and three masted schooners, brigs, brigantines, and barques ranging in size from 8 to 48 tonnes that left our shores for points around the globe.
At one time, the store had a wharf on the river that was the lifeline to the world. Imagine the excitement in the village when ships would come in loaded with sugar, molasses, flour, and spices as well as bolts of fabric, lamp oil, hardware, and other goods from exotic ports.
Inside the store, the bins on the left contained pounds of nails. Although gone now, shelving down the right side of the store held bolts of fabric ready for the local seamstress to sew the latest fashion. The sales counter wrapped all the way around the shop. This is evident by the framing posts that you can still find pieced into the floor.
The second story was used as a community hall for a few years, and many local elders remember attending pot luck dinners, wedding celebrations, and silent movies there.
We hear many recollections of long ago visits to the store. We treasure these stories! Here are a few memories for you to enjoy…
“On one end of the counter was a large wheel of cheese covered by a glass dome. This dome was so heavy, a pulley system was rigged up to lift it. When kids came to the store, it was a treat to get a piece of cheese.”
– The glass case that we now use to display jewellery, once held another treasure – chocolate bars!
– A number of years ago, a delightful older lady told us she had visited the store on her honeymoon some 60 years earlier. With shining eyes, she told us they had bought a salt & pepper set that she treasured for many years!