On a hill near the shores of the Ottawa River, in the heart of the beautiful Ottawa Valley, our building, located at 296 Isabella Street dates back to the early 1870's. It was built by Thomas Murray, who came to Pembroke from Goulbourne, Carlton County in 1858. With his brother William, they established a thriving entrepreneurship consisting of general merchandise, hotels, brickyards, construction and a fur trading business second only in size to the Hudson's Bay Company. Through the efforts of these brothers, the inter provincial bridges at Portage du Fort and Des Joachims were constructed. At one time they had a 10 general stores between Cobden and Chapeau. Thomas Murray was an early mayor of Pembroke (1897-1900) and for twenty years sat in both the provincial and federal parliaments. Thomas Murray had a team of tame moose to pull his sleigh in the winter months.
In 1909 the residence was purchased by James F. Munro who, came to Pembroke in 1889 to work with his cousin, J.W. Munro, a contractor. He made many renovations to the residence. Following J.W.'s death, James Munro branched out on his own. He built the splendid 'Munro Block' at Pembroke and Victoria Streets. He was the president of The Pembroke Iron Works, The Massey Lumber Company, director of the Pembroke Electric Company, The Thomas Pink Company and head of the Pembroke Realty Company.
James F. Munro was killed in a plane crash in 1919 near Eganville, Ontario at the age of 46 while on a Victory War Bond Drive. His funeral was held from the home at 296 Isabella Street and the procession, according to his obituary in the newspaper, was a mile long. His widow, Margaret Jane (Little) Munro owned the home until 1932. In 1932 the home was purchased by the Woolsey Brothers who were well known plumbers in Pembroke who then turned the residence into apartments.
In 1950 the residence was purchased by Arthur and Katie Leach. Art was an accountant at The Canadian Forces Base , Petawawa. They owned the building until June of 1963 when it was purchased by John Hattin of Bancroft.
Photo Taken: 1878
Photo: Thomas Murray
Photo: James Munro
Photo: Art Leach
Photo: Katie Leach