do you remember

Aug 18, 2011

The Laundromat, Laundry….Old Town Style…

I have seen photos of the laundry building in old town Gander. Wonder if everyone got their laundry done there, although there were clotheslines about everywhere in photos of bldgs. Was it a place just for the airlines and service people? Who worked there? What did it cost to have things done? Dry cleaning? Just wondering about the building and its history and the part it played in early Gander life.

I do recall how hard it was to get things dry on the clotheslines in winter, before the advent of clothes dryers. Maybe people took things to the laundry to have them done up?

I also remember Ross Patey saying at one time that sometimes if the wind was in the right direction, clothes on the clothesline had to put up with smoke/soot from coal-fired steam plant.
         Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959

We lived on the army side at Power Street in Building 60.  Mom had nine of us in 13 years - not including her two miscarriages, so there were always diapers for that wringer washer.  Dad, Charles Power, worked at Customs all his life.  We lived on Memorial Drive.  I graduated from St. Paul's in 1962. We couldn't get through our basement to the freezer with all the clothes hung to dry in the winter. 
         Margaret Power Buchanan,  SP 1962

I remember the old laundry bldg. down by the old train station area. However I do not have any pictures of it. My Mother worked there for some years, during the fifties, She was a seamstress there. My Dad and many other men at that time wore a white shirt and tie everyday, and most of them had their shirts washed at the laundry. I remember going there on my bike to pick them up for Dad. They were always wrapped in paper and tied with string.

I believe that the Manager of the laundry at that time was a Mr. Simmons. That’s all I have for now.
         Leo A. Lannon,

Jim Butler had this to say:

I don't really have a lot of info for you, but I will contribute to the pile and together we can build a mountain!
 My sister, Margaret, went to work at the laundry in Gander shortly after we moved to Gander in 1946 and worked there until she moved to the CBC in 1952. She doesn't remember much about working there except that a Mr. Simmons managed (or owned) the business and they supplied laundry services for all the institutions in Gander, Including the hotels near the terminal (Jupiter, Saturn) the Mercury, Eastbound Inn, Gander Inn, etc., as well as the hospital and local residents.

The main building was the laundry which employed at least 25 + people and worked 6 and a half days a week (from 8 to 5 during the week and 8 to 12 on Saturdays). 

She tells me that a smaller building in front of the laundry (I am assuming north of the railway track) was a dry-cleaning facility and about 5 or 6 people worked there. She couldn't remember how much it cost to clean a shirt or press a pair of pants, but she did say that she was earning $70 and month when she started in 1946 and $90 a month when she left in 1952.

The laundry used modern machines, presses, etc and during the summers it was really "warm" in the building. After the new hosptial opened in the town several of the people working in the laundry (Ray Young & Harry White for two I know) moved to the laundry at the hospital and the laundry on the airport closed. I would think that most or the hotels, etc., closed about the same time and the business for the old laundry disappeared.

Margaret also remembered that one of her best friends, Isabelle Yetman (Joyce Noel's aunt), also worked there. She could not remember many of the other people who worked there.
Not bad for a spur of the moment bunch of questions about things that happened over 50 years ago. She will probably come up with a lot more now that I have her thinking about it. That's the way it usually works for me.

 Hope this contributes some info to your collection.”
         Jim Butler, GA Class of 1959.

I don’t recall a place called laundry but I heard folks talk about it   though it may have been for the barracks people???

There was a coal fired steam plant which sent hot water/steam underground to the buildings .  We were in building 50 by the hospital and the plant would have been in opposite direction toward Foss avenue area but not over that far. It would have been central to all the buildings in that area
         Thomas Philpot, SP Class of 1967


Next time let’s talk about our favorite foods while growing up in Gander. Perhaps something was always made for a special treat.
With school about to start again, it brings back memories of coming home after school somedays just famished. And when you opened the kitchen door…well what did you want to eat? Something to tide you over until suppertime maybe? And if you have a recipe to share, even better.
Here is what Betty Burt suggests:

Faye, I just read your New Topics and was wondering what we would get if we asked for “Remembered Treats”, especially after school snacks or  other foods such as:

Homemade bread covered in molasses and fresh cream
Homemade bread covered in mustard and sugar
Lassie buns with homemade butter
Hot tea biscuits covered in various jams i.e. bakeapple, blueberry. Rhubarb, partridgeberry. marshberry  (yummy), black currant
Molasses candy the kind that was stretched with butter
Union squares
Figgy duff
Gingerbread (I have a recipe that was used in Come By Chance hospital in 1944)
Date squares (I don’t think the same recipe is used by anyone)
Cod’s heads (doubt if very many were on early Gander)
            …and the list could go on……….”

         Clyde and Betty Burt
That’s it for this time. Thanks everyone for your continued input. Remember if you like reading this stuff, we need to keep it vibrant with your contributions…so please don’t be shy. With webster’s help we can make this a real ‘kitchen party’…

Hey maybe we can ask our classmates to throw in a tune or two??? Now there’s a thought.



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