The next person profiled in our series is Dorothy Brander Brownell. Dorothy moved to Britannia in 1946 when she was 4 years old. Her family lived at the Incline for the first 3 years before moving permanently to the Mount Sheer Town site in 1949. Dorothy speaks of a simpler time, and of her experiences living in a company town, something that “is unheard of today”.
Living in a company town had its advantages. Adults were always keeping an eye out for the kids. The adults had a genuine interest in the well-being of the children, which made everyone feel safe. The rent was fairly reasonable, $2.00 per room per month. Because of the Powerhouse located here on site, the electricity was free of charge. The Company invested in the community support facilities. Dorothy’s fondest memories involved the outdoor recreational activities.
During the summers, her time was spent at the pool, where she learned to swim by the age of 6 thanks to an instructor Preston Thompson. If she ever got bored of the pool, there was always the gymnasium, the library or the tennis courts (complete with instructors as well). There was also a big party for July 1st and it seemed that there was always something to look forward to. The big summer sport was baseball, complete with Women’s and Men’s teams competing for the big prize, although she can not quite recall who had the stronger team.
As summer turned to fall, there was always Halloween, as well as autumn bonfires which she remembers vividly. In the winter, those tennis courts were converted to outdoor skating rinks. The hills turned into tobogganing hills and the main streets became sled paths. Hills and snow were never scarce up at the Mount Sheer Townsite. The Christmas parties were always a hit, probably because each child was guaranteed a gift.
Dorothy has many personal memories of the old town site; she claims she could write a book. But looking back, she knows now that she took life for granted, but back then, it was simply living.