Reminiscences of the Station

Sharbot Lake Station Reminiscences by Philip Bender

Phil Bender and his dad, Ike Bender, used to visit the station regularly to pick up farm supplies that were shipped by rail. Below are Phil’s recollections of the inside of the station at Sharbot Lake.

We never picked up mail at the station. It was little Ethel M. Whan that picked it up. At some point, trucks took over the postal service and the mail no long came in by train. The train still brought any livestock.

I don’t remember where the stairs were. When you came in the big main door, there was kind of a big receiving room which always seemed to be very empty. It had heavy benches along the walls, similar to old-fashioned church benches. The hardwood floors would always sound hollow and crack when you walked on them, especially in cold weather. This was a symptom of cold and frost in the floors since often the station was heated with an inefficient pot-bellied stove. Beyond the receiving room was a door where the station master had his office and communicated by Morse code through the telegraph system. This room always seemed to be slightly warmer.

Sometimes large items would be shipped by CP Rail. You would be notified by Canada Post that you had something large at the CP Rail office to pick up. Not only items such as tables, dressers and heavy objects like that but also animals. I remember my Dad telling about selling enough subscriptions to a paper to get the prize of a pig. Chickens, sheep, and those types of animals were also shipped.

I also remember in the first room as you entered you could hear the deafening, hollow tick-tock-tick-tock of the big station clock. There were single glaze windows in the station which provided light but very little insulation. It always seemed to be chilly there. It had an old wood smell because of the floor and the walls. The tongue and groove board walls went up about three feet. On the bottom, there was a very wide mop board. Three feet up there were horizontal chair rails so nothing got in behind it. Out on the platform, there were steel wheel wagons that were pulled by hand. I always wondered why they were so tall, with a little rack at the front and the back for small parcels. Their reason for the height, in hindsight, was because the box cars were so damned high. They needed to unload stuff from the boxcars directly into these steel wagons. It’s funny the things you remember because these are memories that are pretty old and I was pretty young.

At the time the station was sold at an auction and everything inside it, Arnold McCrimmon, who you may remember was deaf, he bought the station clock. Most people would not have wanted it since it was so very loud. This didn’t bother him. He used to cut hair and he put it in his room where he did his barbering and you could always hear the very loud tick tock when he was working on your hair. After his death, his building and shop caught on fire and burned. I am assuming that the clock would have gone up as well.