Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 16 > Page 10 - Father Jimmy Tompkins of Reserve Mines

Page 10 - Father Jimmy Tompkins of Reserve Mines

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1 (979 reads)
 

Breaking ground and houses going up. We were all miners. While we studied, some of the fellows weeded themselves out. Fi? nally we were left with 11 men who wanted - to work together. In this the whole family must be dedicated for two years to build a house. And that's what we did. We gave up fishing, gave up the tavern • dedicated our? selves to building the houses. But we did take part in co-ops in general--we never forgot the community. Father Jimmy and Fa? ther Coady said that whatever you fellows do in this housing group, it's*going to mean a lot to the future of co-operative housing. If you do it right we'll have co? operative groups all over this country. We had that in mind • that we were going to try to do the right thing for the future. We got the land from Dr. Tompkins. It was willed to the parish for a graveyard and Father Jimmy said he was going to bury the living on it. We paid 50 dollars a lot for the land. And these were slack times. Lack of markets for coal. And we'd come out here and we'd work on our days off. And if any? body wasn't on the job we'd want to know why. We excavated all the basements by hand. All the foundations were poured. Then all the houses were framed. Then they were all boarded. All the houses came up toge? ther. If you could get friends to come out and shingle your house, so much the better Cape Breton*s Magazine/10 Supervising carpenter with Joe Laben in white hat, Charlie Currie and John LeClair. • but the member had to work with the group. When we dug the basements the skeptics said it would fill with water. So then we. started to fraime them and the skeptics said a wind'11 blow them all down and that'll be the end of that. So finally we moved in and they said they'll never be paid for. vi/hen we built the houses we got a loan of 1500 dollars for each house. Later on we got an? other 1000 to put in heat. Our monthly pay? ment became 20 dollars, and.that included principle, taxes, insurance and a reserve fund of 2.50. Our mortgage was for 25 years but the reserve fund built up to a point we were able to pay it off in 20 years.

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