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May 21 , 2011

Follow the Crowd

The James Boys of Perth


For over 80 years, James Brothers Hardware stood as the retail centre of historic downtown Perth, Ontario. Crowds from town and country alike flocked there for their every need, while from their open offices on the mezzanine above the first floor, George and Lawrence James and later George's son, Alan, and grandson, George, oversaw a mercantile enterprise that included not only the store, but a machine shop, a foundry, a Chevrolet dealership, a Ford dealership, two automotive garages, various woodlots, a bulk fuel oil business, a coal business, a snow fence factory, a billboard service and the local arena. 

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An important component in the commercial and cultural life of Perth, read about the James boys' various endeavours and the town's rather surprising response to their success. 

McKenty, whose previous work, Square Deal Garage, chronicled the arrival of the automobile in the town of Perth, turns his attention to one of the families whose members played a critical role in helping that historical phenomenon come to pass. 

Praise for Square Deal Garage: 

“Readers will find a wealth of information on an era and institution that is all but missing from today's motoring landscape”  Ian Gray, Perth Courier  07/26/00 

“McKenty recounts his short stories with a droll wit. Certainly, his subjects are hard to beat, for surely they will never be again” Max Wickens, Toronto Star  07/14/01 

About the Author: John McKenty (b. 1948), whose father and grandfather were both hardware store owners, is a retired high school principal, living in Perth, Ontario with his wife Zeta. A member of the Canadian Service Station Memorabilia Association, his previous book, Square Deal Garage: Sixty Years of Service to the Motoring Public (Wheels Gone Bye), was published in 2000.

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