One of the largest collections in the Community Archives is the series of negatives produced by staff members of The Intelligencer, Belleville’s daily newspaper. The negatives range in date from the 1950s to 2001 and were donated to the Hastings County Historical Society in 2008. The series is not complete, but it is extensive, and the negatives often contain images that were not published in the newspaper, making these an interesting and valuable resource.

On 25th Janaury 1960 The Intelligencer covered the closure of Belleville’s old Post Office, on the southwest corner of Pinnacle and Bridge streets. The building had opened to the public in 1883 and was being replaced by a new Federal building on the southeast corner of Pinnacle and Station streets.

The photographs used in the article correspond to a set of negatives taken on 23rd January, which we have scanned and made available through Flickr. Comparison of the negatives with the published photographs in the newspaper brought to light an interesting discrepancy. In the newspaper, we see Postmaster Albert Clare locking the doors of the old building, standing alone on the Post Office steps.

In the negatives, we discover that Albert was not standing on his own, but was accompanied by assistant postmaster, John H. Smith:

The image does not show the words ‘Post Office’ above the door. However, another negative in this group does show the text and also two white notices on the door:

In the final version the two images have been combined to create a more pleasing composition, carefully excising Mr. Smith in the process.

A reminder that even before the days of Photoshop, although the camera does not lie, a photograph most certainly can!

The old Post Office was taken down in the early 1960s and replaced by a new building for The Ontario Intelligencer. Here is the empty lot, looking north, in June 1964. The Quinte Hotel is just visible on the right of the image.

This photograph in the newspaper for 7th November 1964, taken from City Hall, shows the new building under construction, with the Quinte Hotel in the background.

CABHC: 2017-13 Newton Thompson collection