We would like to thank Mr. Sid Cooke for sharing the following newspaper article with us. It was published in the Windsor Star on Monday, August 19, 1985. We have reprinted it to make it easier for you to read with the permission of the Windsor Star.
Remembering the Face of a Past Time and Town
by Karen Leach (Star Staff Reporter)
At age 87, Albert Graham knows the only thing consistent in life is change and he's seen a lot of change in Tecumseh. Though he's not a native, he knows the town well. Graham was involved in the community so much over the years, the AV Graham School was named in his honour.
When Graham arrived in Tecumseh 50 years ago, the population was about 1,700. Today the population lies somewhere near 8000 and it is expanding quickly. Graham remembers when a street car linked Tecumseh and Windsor, long before east-end developments like Forest Glade made the drive continuous. He remembers the old towns of Sandwich and Riverside, now amalgamated into Windsor.
"I'm glad we didn't go (amalgamate)," he said. "A lot of people thought we would follow, but they fought it. This way our taxes don't go up."
Graham came to Tecumseh to become the railway station agent, a position he filled for 32 years until the station closed.
"Everything came in by rail," he said about the early years of his job. "Now everything goes by truck. We used to have a lot of trains coming through the station. But the station closed."
"It was spread out a lot," said Graham of the Tecumseh of 1935. "There were some (people) that lived down by the lake. They were mostly English (speaking). The French lived here in town. At that time, there were only two or three people in town that could speak English properly. Most of them could speak it, but not fluently."
He remembers most of the townsfolk being farmers, but some were employed in the Windsor auto plants. "They used to farm where Forest Glade is now. Right up to Lauzon Road," he said.
But the biggest changes came during the war years, said Graham.
"Windsor started spreading out. About 90 per cent of the newcomers to Tecumseh were English. Now it's 50-50."
Although Graham enjoyed the peaceful small-town atmosphere of the Tecumseh gone by, he says it's still a nice place now.
"The town's really progressed. We've got a new main street, and we're very fortunate that the council thought to make the parks and enhance the town."
Graham, who lives in the house he bought when he first moved to Tecumseh, even likes the residential expansion taking place.
"You know one thing, all these new homes going up are beautiful homes," he said. "They're in the 80 to 100,000 (dollar) range."
Despite all the changes, Graham finds one thing has remained the same; the people.
"People in Tecumseh get along with each other. When we built the first Protestant church here, we got more help from the French (Catholics) than we did from our own people. We couldn't have built the church without the Catholics' help," he said.