“Birds in their nest agree,
And ‘tis a pretty sight.”
Hamilton Spectator. July 10, 1885
This was the reflection of The Town Tramp, as he listened to the chirping of the little birds as they fluttered in and out among the branches of the trees in Gore park. The park, with its well-kept flower beds, neat walks, velvet turf, and splashing fountain is a tempting spot to a weary wayfarer on a summer day. And the people have found it out. Last Monday afternoon, The Town Tramp counted nearly a hundred people in the miniature park, most of them middle age, and many sitting on benches or reclining upon the grass reading. The people who apparently appreciate the park and the excellent results of the horticulturalist’s efforts therein ought all to be converted into voters for a public park scheme. It makes The Town Tramp sad to think that the little plot of ground called the Gore is the only breathing place owned by this city of 40,000 people.
The Town Tramp met a crowd of bicyclists trundling along upon their machines the other day, and fine, healthy-looking they were. If he were not a constitutional pedestrian, The Town Tramp would be tempted to take to bicycling. It is a good sport and it augurs well for the physical development of future generations that outdoor sports are indulged in by so many young men of this city. Watching a baseball match will not do much for one’s physique, but riding a machine, pulling an oar, or running the bases will do a great deal.
The Town Tramp was surprised to learn that the bicyclists do not like the block pavement. They say they prefer a good stone road, such as that between this city and Stony Creek along which half a dozen bicyclists traveled doing the run out in about an hour and a quarter. That route makes a nice drive for anyone wealthy enough to control the services of a ghorse. The bicyclists say the block pavement is too uneven, and not to be compared to a wagon wheel track on a good stone road.
Speaking of the splash of the fountain in Gore park reminds The Town Tramp of a story about it told be an old resident. Everybody who has been in the park ha read the inscription on the base of the fountain:
PRESENTED TO THE CITY OF HAMILTON BY THE GORE BANK AND THE BANK OF BRITISH NORTH AMERICA,1859. CHARLES ROBB, ENGINEER AND CARPENTER, MEAKINS AND SONS, MODELLERS; GURNEY AND CARPENTER, FOUNDERS.
The old resident smiled as he inquired: “Did you ever hear how that particular design came to be chosen? No? Well, I don’t wonder at it. There were no designs made. Robb, the civil engineer, who was clever, but did not make his mark here, got hold of an illustrated London paper containing representations of fountains shown at the great exhibition in the Crystal Palace – it was in 1860, I think – chose the one having the simplest design and took it down to Will Meakins, who even at that early age, had the reputation of being one of the cleverest carvers and pattern maker in the country, and asked him to make patterns from which the founders could work. Meakins acquiesced, and Gurney and Carpenter made the castings, and there the fountain stands. I see it has taken a dip to the south, and it look a little seedy.”
The Town Tramp has no doubt that the editor will give any old resident, whose recollection differs from that of the gentleman quoted above an opportunity of stating the facts.
Of the men whose names appear on the fountain, Robb is said to be in Montreal, doing a little engineering. The senior partner of Meakins and Sons died full of years, beloved and respected. William Meakins yet lives in this town and makes as good brushes as can be obtained in the country.
When Edward and Charles Gurney came here, poor men from York state, they had little or no capital, but had plenty of industry and skill. Alex. Carpenter was at the time a capitalist, always looking around for a chance to invest his money to advantage. He saw that the Gurneys had enterprise and ability, and soon the firm of Gurneys and Carpenter came into existence. As was to be expected, the Gurneys prospered, and so did Carpenter, for that matter. But Carpenter was unfortunate in outside ventures, while his business stuck to business, and avoided sending good money after bad. And so it came to pass that the partnership was dissolved, and the Gurneys continued the business and became very wealthy, while Mr. Carpenter remained in comfortable circumstances, and in course of time was gathered to his fathers. Edward Gurney gas died, while his brother Charles is now the head of the great stove and ironware manufacturing firm of W. and C. Gurney and Company.