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John Supple from Armagh Ireland was a lumber merchant, a sawmill owner, and a farmer after he came to Pembroke in 1844. Considered to be one of the founders of Pembroke, John Supple owned what is now the oldest stone building in Pembroke, right in our downtown on the corner of Mackay and Sussex streets. (Patterson 8).

Early in the 19th century, the wars in Britain forced the British to search for alternative sources of timber, thus making the forests of the Ottawa Valley very desirable. Soon after, a settlement was necessary.

 
After a second wave of settlers, the presence of travellers, and when Pembroke achieved County Town status in 1861, the need for better accommodations quickly became evident. Thus, in 1867, the very first hotel known as "The Ottawa House" was built on the corner of Pembroke and Prince of Wales Streets, and was soon after well known as "The Copeland" (Patterson 33).


A much later picture and advertisment (1958) of the Copeland Hotel, a very popular place enjoyed by many Pembrokians before its fire.

Of course, with the Ottawa River being a heavily utilized transit way for lumber and exports, the main roads followed the contours of the river (Patterson 35).

 
The major employers included lumberers, farmers, millers, and of course, innkeepers and merchants. As early as 1867, shops such as the "New Hardware Store", and "John, B. Coleman's Grocery Store", and many others were situated in our downtown, on Pembroke St. (Patterson 53).
 
It wasn't all an up-hill process to development, though. In the early 1870s, Pembroke had undergone some serious weather and drought issues, some of which had damaged Pembroke's downtown by fire. Storms so severe that roads were washed up and loose lumber was carried away. Evidentially, plans for new construction on Pembroke's Main Street were slightly uprooted (Patterson 58).
 
Development went on, and population continued to rise. And in 1877, Pembroke was incorporated as a town (Patterson 113). The need for more and more jobs continued to grow, and shops and businesses continued to open.
 
It was in the 1920s that the booming economy bared an even greater dedication to downtown Pembroke, with is unveiling of the Cenotaph at the Memorial Park (Patterson 113).


The unveiling of the war memorial in the late 1920s.

 
Throughout the 20th century, evidence of honest, loyal, reputable, and quality business persists. Here, we see various advertisements and pictures of family run businesses. Many of which can be easily recalled by some of Pembroke's life-long residents of the earlier generations. 
 
In the evenings of 1960, whole families would be out shopping. [There were] lots of lights, even street wide arches spanning across full of lights. A policeman would be walking the beat greeting folks.There was parking on both sides...It was gorgeous." says Brian Gaudette.
 
Arden Green also recalls the historic downtown Pembroke, "I used to love going into Beamish's. It was a beautiful department typed store. It sold clothes and the sort. The year was about 1960, and I just loved going into Beamish's restaurant. There was a fountain that spewed soda drinks that I could just watch endlessly -- like magical sprays of colour. Oh, the anticipation and joy I felt every Friday when I heard my parents say, "Let's go we are heading to downtown", even if it were just for groceries. The streets were always bustling with people, and businesses were always booming. As I grew older, it was still downtown Pembroke that housed my favourite stores, like Monson's and Switzer's (and I must comment on the captivatingly rich smell that one could not ignore whilst shopping in the store). My boyfriend at that time -- now my husband of 38 years -- bought me a very sentimental gift that I still remember today from a downtown store called Walker's. No matter what age I was, or what age I am today, I will always remember downtown Pembroke for the extravagant feelings that it brought to me as I grew up in this place I called home."
 
Although some businesses have come and gone, both the existing and the newer businesses continue to thrive in our downtown core. And despite the fact that the once "new" facades are gently aging, we must not forget to look past the bricks, and look instead to the businesses within. The businesses that exist here today house the same principles that their predecessors housed before them: passion, hope, gratitude, loyalty, and honesty. The following phrase, "it is whats inside that counts", is no different in regards to downtown Pembroke. You will be surprised to find the friendship and genuity that prevails when you stop, and simply look at who and what lays past those bricks. Acknowledge them. Together, we must support the downtown to keep it's its rich history an existing component of it's future.
 
Please enjoy the following pictures of the beautiful historic downtown Pembroke (taken from the Facebook group "I'm From Pembroke and Not Ashamed to Admit It on Facebook; various sources):


Bustling streets of historic downtown Pembroke.


The old Woolworth's store where the candy counter was always a big hit with the young Pembroke children.


A picture of the historic Landen's  previously in downtown Pembroke.


Brown's Advertisement. They are still in business in downtown Pembroke 


Goldstream Jewellers is still up and running for business in downtown Pembroke aswell.


Town and Country is another business that also still runs today.


The fire that occured at The Canadian Tire Store at 180 Alexander street in 1975.


Picture taken near Biederman's Cycle Shop.


Pageant Float in downtown Pembroke 1928. The corner where the Nook Creperie, Janna's Gallery Cafe, Pizza Pizza, etc. all exist today.


A letter from the mayor of Pembroke in 1903.


Pembroke Street in 1939.


A newer yet historic photo of downtown. Between 1970 and 1980.


Pembroke Street in 1938.


The Pembroke St bridge, as if you were just coming from City Hall.

 

Information Source: 
Patterson, Jackie. Pembroke -- A Glimpse Into The Past. Print. 8-113. Retrieved 13 Aug 2013.

Photo Sources:
Facebook Group "Im From Pembroke and I'm Not Ashamed to Admit it On Facebook"