HILBRE CIRCA 1937
As much as we are one as a community, so are we at one with this land
The year 1911 brought the railway through what is now Hilbre and subsequently, in 1912, a siding was built. It is believed that Hilbre was named for a railway worker who was killed on the job and buried there. Another source for the name suggests it is named for an Isle off the coast of England; possibly an immigrant survey member named it for his home. In any event, Hilbre became home for many immigrants from Holland; Sweden; Ukraine and Germany.
Hardship accounts in Passports to the Past mention horses that were pulled through four feet of water with oxen and horses that would lay down in snow banks too high to pass through. The mosquito problem in the summer caused people to carry smudge pails to alleviate the discomfort.
Amelia Mayer lived for all of her one hundred years in Hilbre; she expressed the sentiment, ”They were sad times but happy and good times. I like to remember them." She represents the spirit that was present in all of the pioneers, including Dick Palm and A.W Kirvan. Dick Palm, owner of the General Store, was the strength that helped many families through the ‘dirty thirties.’ A.W Kirvan was the first sitting Legislative member for the Constituency of Fairford established in 1920. He was very active in community events and established the baseball trophy known as the Kirvan Cup.
The Hilbre School was chosen to represent Hilbre as it was the focus of community life in general. It housed most community events and still lives in the hearts of many who resided there. On the right side of the painting, notice the small building better known as ”The Booth". This was a concession stand that supplied students with treats. The ”Shield" was an award given to the school of highest athletic standing in the area. It became the inspiration for the children to build a school spirit which exists even today.
Hilbre is a true representation of the spirit and grit that was required to settle this land. It is such small but warm communities that have always played their part in forming our national identity. Hilbre has always been and continues to be an inviting community to visit.
Origin of Hilbre's Name:
A Post Office and Canadian National Railway point established in 1911 and said to have been so named from its situation on high ground.
There is only a slight rise there, however, less than 25 feet. The Post Office on 24-29-9W opened in 1914 under Postmistress Mrs. Florence McNamee. Also, a School District name. Hilbre is the name of an island in the Dee estuary near the Northern Wales - Northwest England border.