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SS Cooper: The Man Who Built Clinton

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Few individuals know his title, however everybody in Clinton is aware of the works of SS Cooper. With no background in structure, Cooper’s good craftsmanship in constructing kinds defied labelling. Whether or not in brick, wooden or stone, he erected humble household houses, barns, church buildings and public buildings. Though lots of his best buildings are gone, Cooper was the critically flawed big who constructed Clinton’s distinctive architectural legacy.

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Samuel Sloane Cooper was born on October 28, 1865 in Queen’s County, Eire. He was a Methodist by faith and a carpenter by commerce. He emigrated to Canada round 1883 and was employed in Goderich by his uncle, Samuel Sloane, a rich grain service provider. An bold younger man, Cooper moved to Clinton the next yr and commenced work as a carpenter at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Rattenbury Avenue.

In February 1886, Cooper shaped a partnership with William Swaffield. They purchased a planing mill in Clinton and began a development enterprise. The Huron Sign referred to as MM. Cooper and Swaffield “two younger males of wonderful character who we consider will succeed of their enterprise at Clinton.”

The enterprise lasted about three years. Cooper was alone when he constructed the Clinton Baptist Church in 1889. Development of the yellow-brick Gothic-style chapel started in August. His first service was in November. The pace and effectivity with which the church was constructed, which nonetheless stands on Huron Highway, established Cooper’s status because the one who obtained issues finished.

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Normandy Hotel in Clinton.  Courtesy of Toronto Public Library
Normandy Lodge in Clinton. Courtesy of Toronto Public Library

As a considerable younger man, Cooper was first elected to the Clinton Metropolis Council in 1893. In December 1894, the county awarded him the profitable contract to construct the Home of Refuge for the sum of $12,000. At lower than 30 years outdated, Cooper is accountable for erecting the most important public constructing in Huron County because the development of the courthouse in 1856.

In November 1895, Cooper accomplished development of the two-story refuge home. It was a contemporary constructing with 50 electrical lights, phone service, and a wind-powered water pump. Measuring 120 toes lengthy and 43 toes extensive, the Home of Refuge was an imposing construction with sleeping quarters for 72 inmates. The home additionally contained a chapel, medical dispensary and indoor plumbing. Cooper’s achievement was all of the extra astonishing as a result of he had completely no formal coaching in structure.

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The Huron Information-Document praised Cooper for his “power” and “perseverance.” Using over 30 workmen, along with the Home of Refuge, Cooper constructed “a lot of buildings costing within the combination about $33,000” in 1895.

The one misfortune that marred Cooper’s success that yr was the destruction by fireplace of his planing mill. Undaunted, Cooper rebuilt it and was quickly again in service. The Information-Document mentioned “Clinton would possibly effectively afford to own extra younger males of Mr. Cooper’s progressive spirit, thrust and enterprise”.

After a fireplace destroyed Doherty’s organ manufacturing facility in January 1898, Cooper was employed to rebuild it on Might 1, 1898. Requiring 40 to 50 brick automobiles, the organ manufacturing facility was not totally accomplished by the deadline, nevertheless it was operational.

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Different main works Cooper constructed had been Stavely Corridor (1900); the Sloane Block (1902); the Roman Catholic church buildings of St. Augustine (1903) and Kingsbridge (1905).

A fervent liberal, Laurier’s authorities awarded Cooper the tender for the put up workplaces in Clinton (1904) and Wingham (1907).

In March 1900, the Clinton New-Period claimed that Cooper was “probably the most energetic builder within the metropolis” having “erected over 200 buildings” since 1887.

The New-Period reported that on February 27, 1901, “our metropolis genius, SS Cooper” married 30-year-old Maggie Hanna at his “Mansion Home” residence in Milverton. With greater than 250 company in attendance, the New-Period noticed that “only a few brides are privileged to obtain such an array of items” as newlyweds. It was a sign of the excessive esteem during which the rich younger couple was held.

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Wingham Post Office.  Wingham Courtesy Visit
Wingham Put up Workplace. Wingham Courtesy Go to jpg, CN

After the marriage, the couple moved again to their newly accomplished “stunning residence”, referred to as “Glebe View”, on the nook of Orange and Wellington streets.

In 1905 Cooper opened the Lodge Normandie on the location of the outdated Clarendon Lodge which burned down in 1902. The Lodge Normandie was an enormous two story resort with 30 rooms with steam heating, two baths and three bathrooms which stuffed the nook of Mary, Isaac and King Streets.

Round this time, Cooper bought the Rattenbury Lodge, his principal resort rival, thereby guaranteeing that the Normandie was Clinton’s first resort. With a considerable earnings from his rental properties, Cooper was a rich man. He didn’t rebuild his planing mill after one other fireplace destroyed it in 1908. He not seems to have undertaken any main constructing tasks.

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Though as a resort proprietor he opposed prohibition, Cooper could have continued to take pleasure in his wealth and status as a distinguished citizen, however in 1912 he was convicted of tried indecent assault on one of many feminine workers of the Normandy eating room. Her husband, provider and driver of the Normandie, intervened to cease the assault.

Regardless of the testimony of Mrs. Cooper and her sister who denied that the tried assault befell, the jury convicted Cooper. The decide sentenced Cooper to 10 months onerous labor in Toronto Central Jail as a result of he had an obligation to uphold “the morals of the neighborhood.”

A petition has been circulating within the metropolis calling for Cooper’s launch. It is unclear how a lot of his sentence Cooper served, however Central Jail was infamous for its brutality.

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His conviction didn’t damage him politically. In 1931, he was elected mayor of Clinton. On the top of the Despair, he erected a neighborhood Christmas tree and “generously” gave presents to the kids of the town. Cooper additionally diminished the rents of its 42 tenants by 10%.

He was acclaimed for a second time period as mayor in 1932 however died in workplace after a short sickness on April 5, 1932.

Former Clinton Post Office.  Kihm5wordpress courtesy postcard
Former Clinton Put up Workplace. Kihm5wordpress courtesy postcard jpg, CN

His spouse, Maggie, predeceased him in California in 1928 whereas visiting their surviving daughter.

For 3 days, his physique is uncovered to the Normandy resort. At Ontario Avenue United Church, Cooper was described as “a person of beneficiant impulses” and “a shrewd businessman” who had gathered “some huge cash and purchased lots of actual property.” Unsurprisingly, there was no point out of his conviction. Outlets shut and the flags of the town are lowered for individuals who are above all a scholar of structure.

He’s buried beneath probably the most elaborate monument in Maitland Cemetery.

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