Schell’s 2nd storey woodworking shop, Edward St., Stouffville, Ontario
My photo-safari buddy, Cheryl Andrews, and I crept up worn treads in the narrow staircase leading to Harry Schell’s 100-year old woodworking shop.
Located above Schell Home Building Centre we found 86-year old craftsman, Harry, working at his desk, which he does 5 days a week. After introductions, Harry kindly permitted us to photograph a significant piece of history in my Ontario town, Stouffville.
Wesley Schell purchased the lumber business in the 1920s (originally an 1878 planing mill ), and years later turned it over to sons, Harry and Percy. Harry managed the mill workshop, while brother Percy managed the office. Long before Wesley died in 1984, he and his sons had converted the machinery from steam-driven to electric. The family expanded their services to become Stouffville’s hardware and lumber experts. The cornerstone of their business is sound knowledge, friendly service and ingenuity.
Today, the brothers’ children and grandchildren work in the sprawling lumber yard, gardening and hardware stores, and woodworking shop.
Glen cut out 278 custom railings that day.
Craftsman, Glen Byer
Machinery: There is more machinery on the floor than I’ve shown here, many with identifying manufacturers’ names from a bygone era, useable today.
The Details: Certain elements of the machinery or assorted components are appealing subjects to photograph.
There were hundreds of metal forms for customizing moulding and trim. Schell craftsmen are often referred to for restoration of moulding/trim for historic homes.
Hand tools: Old-style amongst the modern.
Beauty of Design:
Custom-finished Shelf Unit:
Schell’s separate Country Living store sells an eclectic mix of gardening tools and outdoor products, bird feeders, outdoor utility clothing and footwear. It’s also where you buy custom-made doors, granite counters, etc.
Compare the size of the boot I’m holding in the photo below to the Size 9 boots I’m wearing. And I found another pair of boots larger than this, later!
Bright windows overlook Edward Street close to the heart of town.
Below is a photograph of one of the younger generations of Schells, Harry’s grandson, Jeremy. He overlooks the back parking lot where the railway runs between Schell and a condo development in the background. Until a few months ago, Schell’s parking lot was adjacent to one of five remaining rail-side elevators, demolished by the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville in Spring 2015 to make room for commuters to park their cars.
When my husband and I tackle home improvement projects, Schell is our “go-to” store. Staff is knowledgeable and good-humoured. Best of all they have long-standing relationships with the best tradesmen in our area, and happily recommend them. Schell’s legacy in Stouffville is admirable. Harry and staff showed Cheryl and me great patience as we poked around the workshop asking questions and getting answers. A great photo outing. Thanks, Harry.