Le Magasin Général Upton / The Upton General Store

Le Magasin Général Upton / The Upton General Store (HM2LH6)

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N 45° 38.961', W 72° 41.664'

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Un Brin d'Historie / A Bit of History

 Français:
Il y a une centaine d'années, le magasin général était un incontournable de tout village rural québécois. On y trouvait une variété de marchandises : des produits alimentaires, de l'équipement agricole, des vêtements, des articles de ménage, du pétrole pour l'éclairage à la lampe, etc. Comme le parvis de l'église, le magasin général représentait un lieu de rencontre; on y venait pour s'informer des nouvelles du village et des campagnes environnantes et même pour jouer aux dames!
À Upton, le premier magasin général fut implanté sur le terrain de la famille MacEvilla (site où se trouve aujourd'hui le Théâtre de la Dame de Cœur) près des moulins à scie, à moudre et à carder. Cependant, l'arrivée du chemin de fer déplaça tranquillement le cœur économique du village. En 1879, Michael Fitzgibbons Senior construisit la bâtisse du Magasin Général Upton sur la rue Sainte-Hélène (devenue Lanoie) et son fils, Michael Junior, exploita le commerce jusqu'en 1908.
En 1919, Aimé Côté se porta acquéreur du magasin général. Il construisit sur le même terrain une meunerie et des entrepôts à grain



et à charbon. En 1928, il sépara son commerce en deux entreprises qu'il vendit à ses fils. Lionel acheta le magasin général alors qu'Émile se porta acquéreur du moulin à farine et de l'entrepôt à charbon.
Homme d'avant-garde, Lionel Côté était fier d'offrir des produits à la fine pointe de la technologie. Premier propriétaire d'une voiture automobile à Upton, c'est lui qui installa les premières pompes à essence de la municipalité. Fin gestionnaire, il réussit à tirer son épingle du jeu durant la dépression des années 1930; il fut aussi propriétaire d'un garage qu'il louait à M. Marcil et d'un restaurant qu'exploitaient Alice Sénécal, sa belle-sœur, et son mari Ovila Saint-Jean. Lionel et sa femme habitèrent plusieurs années au deuxième étage du magasin général. Vers 1937, Lionel acheta une résidence tout près du chemin de fer et y fit construire un terrain de tennis qui fit le bonheur des jeunes gens du village.
Gérard Blanchard acquit le commerce en 1946 et l'exploita durant 37 ans. Demeurant à l'étage, il répondait aux clients, peu importe l'heure. Il fut très engagé au sein de sa communauté. Pendant 23 ans, il s'impliqua dans le domaine scolaire, tout d'abord comme président de la Commission scolaire d'Upton puis comme représentant du village au sein de la Commission scolaire de Saint-Hyacinthe. Gérard Blanchard, qui avait atteint l'âge vénérable



de 90 ans et était toujours au poste derrière son comptoir, décéda en 2001.
En 2003, Christian Champigny et Louise Gélinas reprirent le commerce pour en faire la Maison de l'huile de tournesol Champy. Ils restaurent entièrement le bâtiment pour lui redonner sa splendeur d'antan. À l'intérieur, le plafond fait de tôles embossées et les comptoirs d'époque lui confèrent un charme particulier.

English translation (Google):
A hundred years ago, the general store was a must-see in any rural Quebec village. There was a variety of goods: food, farm equipment, clothing, household items, oil for lamp lighting, etc. Like the church forecourt, the general store was a meeting place; we would come here to find out about the news of the village and the surrounding countryside and even to play checkers!
In Upton, the first general store was established on the grounds of the MacEvilla family (where the Theatre of the Lady of Hearts is), located near sawmills, grinding and carding. However, the arrival of the railway quietly moved the economic heart of the village. In 1879 Michael Fitzgibbons Senior built the building of the Magasin General Upton on St. Helena Street (now Lanoie) and his son, Michael Junior, operated the business until 1908.
In 1919, Aimé Côté bought the general store. He built a mill and grain and



coal warehouses on the same land. In 1928, he divided his business into two businesses, which he sold to his sons. Lionel bought the general store while Émile bought the flour mill and the coal warehouse.
An avant-garde man, Lionel Côté was proud to offer state-of-the-art products. The first owner of a motor car in Upton, he installed the first gas pumps in the municipality. A fine manager, he succeeded in making his mark during the depression of the 1930s; he also owned a garage he rented from Mr. Marcil and a restaurant operated by Alice Senecal, his sister-in-law, and her husband Ovila Saint-Jean. Lionel and his wife lived for several years on the second floor of the general store. Around 1937, Lionel bought a residence close to the railway and built a tennis court there that delighted the young people of the village.
Gérard Blanchard acquired the business in 1946 and operated it for 37 years. Staying upstairs, he responded to guests no matter what time of day. He was very involved in his community. For 23 years he was in the school field, first as president of the Upton School Commission and then as the village's representative in the St. Hyacinth School Commission. Gérard Blanchard, who had reached the venerable age of 90 and was still at the post behind his counter, died in 2001.
In 2003, Christian Champigny and Louise Gélinas took over the business



to make it the House of Champy sunflower oil. They completely restored the building to its former splendour. Inside, the ceiling is made of embossed sheet metal and the period countertops give it a special charm.
Details
HM NumberHM2LH6
Tags
Placed ByLe circuit patrimonial d'Upton / The Upton Heritage Circuit
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 8:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 679651 N 5057674
Decimal Degrees45.64935000, -72.69440000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 38.961', W 72° 41.664'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 38' 57.66" N, 72° 41' 39.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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