|George Young, Bubs Zufelt|
First though, I extend my sincere congratulations to Michael J Levesque on his election as mayor and to Gisele Noel, Guillaume Tremblay, Kevin Lindquist and Gerard Bernier as councilors. All the best as you face and meet the many challenges facing the community over the next four years.
Now, back to 1951 when the mayor and council were elected for one year terms, B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt was returned as reeve by acclamation, but in a "quiet election" campaign, according to the Chapleau Post, George Young (the father of Dr. G.E. Young) led the polls in his first bid for a council seat.
Mr. Young, however, was no stranger to community involvement. In fact, In 1921 a ratepayers meeting empowered a board to select a site for a new Chapleau Public School and it made the decision to locate it on the site where it was located on Pine Street until its recent demolition by the Algoma District School Board.
V.T. Chapple, W.R. McAdam and Mr.Young selected plans and a new seven room building was erected with classes beginning in it on February 19, 1923, according to a document prepared by J.M. "Jack" Shoup. Mr. Young served on the public school board for many years.
Mr. Shoup, the longtime public school principal, was re-elected to council for 1951. My records indicate that Mr. Shoup served 16 one year terms on council, establishing a record for longevity.
Also re-elected for 1951 were Ernest Lepine and Arthur Grout. The Chapleau Post reported that the turnout was 44.36 percent of the eligible voters.
As Chapleau celebrated its 50th anniversary of incorporation --- the community had been established in 1885 with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway -- it was a busy place.
A sewage treatment plant and sewer system were just being completed and in February 1951, the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena was officially opened. Over the next few years, roads were paved, sidewalks extended, and new businesses and industries arrived.
The CPR located a diesel repair shop at Chapleau and lumber companies moved into the area following the 1948 forest fire. Main (Birch) Street took on a new look. The photo included of Chapleau by the late 1950s gives an indication of how the central part of the community looked.
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The 1950s have been referred to as Chapleau's "boom years", and the reeve and council of 1951, deserve much credit in working to make the community a better place to live, work and play, along with the businesses and industries and citizens who volunteered to serve the community.
For example, I am always reminded of the answer Frank Coulter gave me when I asked him why he had served so many years on the public school board. His reply: "Mr. Shoup told us we had a duty to serve, and this is one way that I could."
In the interests of full disclosure though, Reeve B.W. "Bubs" Zufelt, was my uncle.
However, even though Chapleau's future looked bright, there was at least one warning sign in 1951. With dieselization by the CPR, it no longer needed to purchase water from the municipality which meant a drop in annual revenue of $5,000.
Thanks to Doug Greig for the Chapleau Post and Charlie Purich for the photo of Chapleau. My email is email@example.com