1899 sketch from Uxbridge newspaper
community hall of today pales in comparison to its
counterpart, which was designed and built by Thomas
W. Horn, a former village resident. Mr. Horn built
the hall as a gift to the community in remembrance
of his old home and his youthful days in the village.
opening of the Utica Memory Hall took place on Friday,
Dec. 1, 1899. Following is a report of the opening
of the hall in December 1899. "Utica, a small
village in this county situated five miles from
the town of Port Perry, marked an important, and
long to be remembered epoch in its history last
week, with the opening of the commodious "Memory
Hall", on Friday, Dec. 1, 1899.
from near and far took part in the opening ceremonies,
and to show the appreciation which they, in common
with the people of the neighbourhood, feel for an
"old Utica boy", Thomas W. Horn, who in
the days of his success in the commercial centre
of the province, has remembered with substantial
kindness, the home of his youth.
a Reach boy of the Utica neighbourhood, he went
forth in early years to make for himself a name
and a place. Although a lawyer by profession, his
tastes were more of the financier, than of the barrister,
and we soon found him devoting his talents in financial,
rather than legal lines.
H.J. Gould, ex-Warden of the county presided as
chairman, and the keys of the hall were formally
handed over by Mr. Horn to the following board of
trustees: Enoch Kendall, Arthur Crosier, Wm. Brooks,
D. Horn, John Horn, Wm. Ward, John McKercher.
on stage were a number of Mr. Horn's Toronto friends,
Rev. Hugh Crosier; Mr. Charles Calder; Mr. Leonard
Burnett, M.P, for the riding; Mr. J.W. Siddall,
architect; F.H. Herbert, architect; Mr. Peter Christie,
ex-Warden; and Mr. W.H. Keller, publisher of the
Uxbridge Journal. In handing over the keys, Mr.
Horn said he did so with the wish and expectation
that the hall be used for the benefit of the community.
He attached the single condition that the churches
and school should have the use of it free.
naming the hall, the Hon. John Dryden suggested
that more appropriate than Horn's Hall, or Public
Hall, would be the name "Memory Hall,"
and he offered that name for consideration. The
audience expressed their approval by a show of hands.
The hall was 38x65, has a seating capacity of nearly
400 and is designed in the Spanish renaissance style
of architecture, with two towers. It was always
Mr. Horn's ambition to succeed, but he was always
proud to be remembered as a boy of Utica. He believed
that association of people with each other broadened,
brightened and improved the mind, and it was his
hope that the hall might serve such a purpose.
the opening, Mr. Horn entertained a few friends
at a supper prepared in elaborate style by the host
and hostess of the Dafoe House.
Utica Memory Hall in 1950
Saturday afternoon, April 9, 1955 Utica's Memory
Hall was destroyed by fire. The fire is believed
to have started by a spark of a nearby grass fire,
and within a very short time the entire building
was laid to ashes.
and fire fighters managed to save a few chairs and
the piano from the hall. A large portrait of the
late Walter Horn, the man who built Memory Hall
and donated it to the community, was not saved.
McGregor and Charles Lakey, proprietors of the general
store, across from the hall said the community hall
burned right to the ground in less than a half-hour.
" Five minutes after the fire started, you
couldn't get inside the building. it burned like
a match-box", said Mr. McGregor. The building
was insured for $3,000.
About 2 1/2 years after the historic Memory Hall
in Utica was destroyed by fire, a new Utica Memory
hall was officially opened. A capacity crowd came
out on Oct. 25, 1957 to attend the opening of the
new building, which stands to this day on the southwest
corner of the village.
Crowd packs the new Utica Memory Hall for opening in 1957
Photo of the new Utica Memory Hall as it look in 1999