This Is Capreol

Please note: The article below is reprinted from who copied it from the Capreol and Valley Express, December 9, 1959. Eileen Thompson provided this precious look at our town, 62 years ago. It is both all-too-familiar and very different from Capreol in 2021. Try not to laugh at the bold predictions for the town’s future or the strident outrage over troubles too small to even mention today.

Capreol and Valley Express
December 1959,
By Pointer Pumpernickel

THIS IS CAPREOL – Capreol is the railway and the railway is Capreol. It is a town in the transition stage of becoming a city. Capreol is Mayor Prescott battling for the town’s rights, it is Fred Thomson who is one of the town’s best promoters, and who collects moose horns as a hobby. It is the community where you can count the number of freight cars passing through and determine the economic standing of the country. It is the jumping off place to the hunter’s and fisherman’s paradise, it is the town with a future.

It is all these things and more: It is the town with the best intermediate A softball team of Ontario, with Ezio Bevilacque throwing one and two hitters and striking out 18, with Gil Poukula, his hard working catcher, and Giroux, White and company hitting home runs.

Capreol is the town with iron in its water; parking tickets in its snowstorm, refuse on its Main Street, and laxity in its Fire Department.

It is the Riviera and Capreol Hotel. where the men gather to talk railroading, and to drink beer as an afterthought. It is: the Vermilion river where the kids dive and swim in the hot summer; where Diesel whistles keep you awake at night; where 2,800 people live and work and hope for a good-future; where poet George Quackenbush lives; where Doug Mohns was born; where famous and infamous men have lived.

Capreol is Fred Greaves getting schools built, it is Jack Clark keeping track of his men, Hank Colasimone switching in the yards, and Peter Gryschuk resting on the mainline, George Conron giving driving examinations, and Val Mazzuca running to be first on the scene of a fire. It is much more than this.

It is Charlie O’Leary taking a trip to Florida after the court of revision finishes; or the Community Centre where the kids skate and play hockey, and the square dancers operate; it is the golf course -being built by Ernie LePage; it is Art Lawrence writing controversial letters in the Express, and Frank Mazzuca retaliating; it is Harry Bradrige, the bantam cop, strutting and defying law breakers.

It is the land of the DelPapas, the Hamiltons, the Mazzucas, the Kohns, the Johnsons, the Thompsons, the Vaillancourts and the Sweezeys.

Capreol is Frank and Don Whipple putting out the scandal sheet, or Art Henry driving in style with a smile; it is Jack Tye cursing with the best of them, or diamond Jim Brady telling tall stories in the saloons. Capreol, the town with vast potential in its future and romance in its past, the town with educational facilities second to none for its size but still overflowing, and L.A. Gilbert and C.R. Judd giving its youth a better understanding.

Capreol is Jim Coyne and Bill Gibson drinking cool, clear water, and Norm Fawcett devoting his time to sports for the kids, or Alistair MacLean, the over worked clerk, shaking his head at the antics of his council.

What is Capreol but home for a number of people thrown together by chance, by the luck of the draw or the turn of the wheel? Fate made Capreol but destiny is now in the hands its citizens, a minor segment of the world but an important one.

Capreol is Bill Napier and the Chamber of Commerce, or Frank Lingard and the Legion where non-members drink elsewhere, or W.H. Murray and J.A. McDonald building fences around public property. It is the town with dozens of beauty queens, some of the prettiest in the north, who alas, go elsewhere when mature.

It is Vaino Pitkanen wearing the flashiest sport shirts in town, and Bill Thompson clocking up thousands of miles on his bike, or Bill Perkins, Earl McKinley and Nels Marquis working on school boards, and Elroy Mohns betting five dollars that Boston will win.

Capreol is Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Smart and Mrs. Gryschuk, the elite of artists, or Don Prescott and Bill Ouellette arguing over a called strike, or Jack Watt chasing vandals from the Community Centre.

It is the town with 36 widows and five widowers where you can’t find the number on houses without a program nor buy a book of literary merit anywhere.

It is the town that gets more than its share of publicity, the town that Frank Dennie pinpointed on the map, the town of politicians, railwaymen and bootleggers.

Capreol is the town of friendship, the town of juvenile delinquents, the town with more automobiles and boxcars than any other in America.

It is the town with an industry or a library, the town where new people coming in have no place to live, and the town where sewers back up into basements. Capreol is the railway and the railway is Capreol. It is but a grain of sand on the beach of the world but it is home.

This is Capreol.

Posted on: September 4, 2021, by :