It’s Wayback Wednesday! : Wardell and Company | Sponsored by Jamie Lockwood, Broker/Owner of Sutton Group Muskoka Realty

It’s Wayback Wednesday, sponsored by Jamie Lockwood, Broker/Owner of Sutton Group Muskoka Realty!

Prior to the Great Fire of April 18, 1894, a trading company owned by George Hutcheson operated on this site, the current location of Algonquin Outfitters, under the name Hutcheson & Son. He had purchased it from Smith and Culp in 1883.

After the fire, George Hutcheson rebuilt the store on the same site but retired from the business. William E. Hutcheson, RJ Hutcheson and William Hanna of Port Carling went on to form Hanna & Hutcheson Bros. to continue the business.

In 1895 Matthew Wardell and his family moved across the street to 77 Main St. E. Wardell had operated a large dry goods store in Toronto at Queen and Spadina. He moved the business to Huntsville to serve the needs of lumberjacks, selling them woolen socks and heavy mackinaw breeches. Every foot of space would eventually be filled with merchandise, from women’s clothing to home furnishings and products.

The Wardells had five children: Maude (Mrs. George Donald Nickalls), Mary “Daisy” (Mrs. William Mawhinney), Claude, St. Clair and Annetta, who married Charles Deeprose Boyd in 1910.

On December 28, 1911, a fire destroyed Wardell’s dry goods business. He formed a partnership with Boyd, called Wardell, Boyd and Son, and they moved the business to the Hanna & Hutcheson building, which Wardell rented for $600 a year, and purchased all of Hutcheson’s stock.

Between 1913 and 1917 the store was known as Wardell, Boyd and Son. Charles Boyd’s father, JR Boyd, established a grocery store next door at 90 Main Street East in 1917, known as JR Boyd and Son. After Boyd retired in 1919, they called the business Wardell and Company – busy merchants, “Dealers in Dry Goods, Furnishings, Clothing, Millinery, Boots and Shoes, Groceries, Farine and Feed.”

Later, Wardell installed electricity in his store. His son Claude and daughter Maude bought the building for $6,000 in 1920.

In 1939, the storefront was modified and new brick facing was applied, as seen in this photograph.

The store was renowned for its Scottish woolens, Spode china and Hudson’s Bay blankets. One summer they operated a store at Bigwin Inn. In the 1950s there was a branch on Highway 11 and in the late 1970s/early 1980s a store in Bracebridge catered to young people.

In 1957 Maude’s son Jack and grandson Donald Nickalls took over the business. In 1973 Donald and his wife Pat became the owners.

The store closed in 1986 and became Algonquin Outfitters in the 1990s.

See more photos from Wayback Wednesday here.

Photo via Muskoka Digital Archives, details from Muskoka Digital Archives and Huntsville: with spirit and determination.

Don’t miss the Doppler!

Register here to receive our digest by email with links to our most recent stories.
Local news delivered to your inbox three times a week!

Click here to support local news

About the author