Georgeville Historical Society / Societé d'histoire de Georgeville

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Organized in 1991, the Georgeville Historical Society (GHS) is dedicated to documenting the history of the village of Georgeville, Quebec. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog, Georgeville lies in the heart of the Canadian province's scenic Eastern Townships and is one of the oldest communites on the lake. Originally founded as 'Copp's Ferry' in 1797, the village evolved as an eastern terminus for a ferry service that traversed the lake. The community assumed the name of Georgeville later in the 1820s when it is believed, efforts were undertaken to secure a federal government postal designation.

Since its inception, the Society has been governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and Officers. It has over the years enjoyed office space in various locations within the village proper, not the least of which is its current base of operations in the second story level of a former carriage house.

Accessible year round, the facility is affectionately referred to as the ‘GHS Loft’ and is used primarily as a location for meetings, undertaking research projects as well as the storage of archives and artifacts. Many items are on display in the spacious one room loft which is open to the GHS membership, as well as the general public, by appointment.

The GHS undertakes a number of activities that involve both the membership and the general public. These include the operation of the Bigelow pioneer garden, participation in the annual Canada Day parade and a variety of undertakings such as walking tours, excursions, and special gatherings, all dedicated to highlighting some aspect of village or area history.

The Georgeville Historical Society welcomes you to its web site and extends the invitation to become a member of our small, but active organization.

The Banner Photograph

The banner photograph which headlines the GHS webpage depicts the scene from the public wharf in Georgeville looking westward across the waters of Lake Memphremagog. This iconic view to the west highlights the Appalachian Mountains that dominate the far shore of the lake, part of the Bolton Lavas, which extend northward from the Green Mountains of Vermont. The photograph reflects an eastern view of Mount Elephantis, the preeminent height of land portrayed in the scene.

Featured Artifact

The featured artifact is a metal accounts ledger that is a relic of Bachelder’s Garage, which operated in the heart of Georgeville. Located next to the current Studio Georgeville building, the garage serviced the village for many decades during the 1900s.
The garage’s origins date back to 1925 when Howard Bachelder started his business on the Magoon Point Road, in the southern sector of the community. Two years following his marriage to Georgia Packard, Howard rented the former United Church parsonage, known as the ‘Marsh House’. It was here that the enterprise was started.

Shortly thereafter, in 1927, he found a more central and permanent location for his garage when he acquired the Albert Bullock house on what is now Carré Copp. The building was retained as a residence and a garage built in the space between it and the adjoining store. The following spring, gas pumps were added which gave the operation the full appearance of a service station. From the beginning, the garage sported the Shell brand of gasoline and oil related products.

Like the retail operation adjacent and the one further up the street, Howard maintained individual accounts for his customers. And like his fellow business operators, he employed the use of a drop-down, metal ledger to keep track of his clients’ outstanding indebtedness.

A member of the GHS Board of Directors recently discovered the ledger in an antique store in Rock Island. Although there were no individual account records left in the device, it did have an index of well-known Georgevillle names. Recognizing the historical significance of the unit, it was purchased on behalf of the Society. It is now stored in the GHS loft as an artifact from Georgeville’s past.

The ledger’s index documents a variety of Georgeville patrons from different time periods. The entries reflect a constant process of subtraction and addition, as people died or moved away and others moved in to replace them. The disparity between old and new is also indicative of the progression of ownership of the garage over two generations. As Howard grew older and became less able to manage the operation, his son Emerson gradually took over and eventually owned and managed the garage.

Howard died in 1974 and shortly thereafter Emerson faced his own health challenges, forcing the sale of the garage in 1985. Its sale and subsequent closure marked the end of 70 years of service provided by the Bachelder family to the population of Georgeville. The long run of the operation is evidence to the friendly disposition and natural mechanical abilities of both father and son.