Bothwell is the only Boomtown in Chatham-Kent where everyone receives a warm welcome. Like a phoenix Bothwell rose up in the excitement of the 1860 oil boom. People seeking a fortune flocked to town by the hundreds. Gamblers knew how to work hard but also knew how to spend money and have a good time.
Like all boomtowns work in the fields was hard but when Saturday night came it was time for drinking, brawling, and touring any of the twenty five hotels and thirteen saloons for entertainment. Today, true Bothwellites can recall the last remnants of Saturday night. In every household the children were scrubbed in the laundry tub in the same water, and instructed to get their good clothes on. The whole family came to town for shopping, visiting, weekly haircuts, and maybe ice cream. Children scattered freely because safety wasn’t an issue. Mother dropped off her grocery list and clerks hustled to collect the order by hand. Then when it came time to pay it was common to ask for credit. All businesses were open until twelve midnight so there were lots of things to see and do. In the middle block, the Holy rollers were bellowing, every store or butcher shop had their own specialty; furious competition for business was visible. In the hardware nails were bagged by the pound to guarantee no one would wait in line for service but then patience ruled the day and provided the time to visit.
Due to a number of fires, our Main St has some bare spots but has maintained core businesses that small rural communities thrive on. Daily pleasantries are passed on the street and visitors stopping for food enjoy the local gossip. Various service clubs or organized groups work hard to keep the town beautified, and provide major events such as the optimist Car Show.
By 2017 Bothwell will be 150 years old which is reason to celebrate. The Honourable George Brown would be amazed at what has happened to his estate. Today the Bothwell area, while small in size can boast of several global businesses from Old Auto Vintage Newspaper to the tube fabrication of GWS Tools. Harold Marcus Ltd is one of the largest hazardous waste carriers in North America and Sloan’s Christmas Tree Industry along with Bothwell Fine Furniture continually promote as in the old days. Things have changed but the Town Hall remains the centre piece of the community. It houses a new library, municipal centre, seniors centre and the Jim Kish Theatre; all places of entertainment. Keep in touch and learn what will be happening in the future.