From the Archives: Cat Prints and Figurines

Robert Storring

Lady's head figurine on the brick house at 4 Ottawa Street in Tamworth. (Photo by Robert Storring)
[This article ran in the February/March 2015 issue of The SCOOP.]

Have you ever wondered about the lion’s head on the former hotel building in the village of Tamworth, or the female terracotta figurines on the house across the street from the hotel, or the cat prints on many of the bricks used in buildings around the village?

Most of the bricks used on buildings in Tamworth were produced at the brick yard which was then located on the present site of 23 Concession Street today. The brick yard was owned by Sampson Shields who built my former house at 4 Ottawa Street (now Robert & Lorie Wright's home and the site of the Tamworth Bookshop) as well as the Tamworth hotel. This probably explains why 4 Ottawa St has a 1½ story brick garage and a brick outhouse. It is said that Mr. Shields produced the lady’s head figurines (there are three over the arched portico and front window of house), and the lion’s head on front of hotel building but he refused to sell anything like those to anyone else.

I have been told that the house at 2 Ottawa St was built by Mr. Shields for a daughter and if you notice there is some fancy brick work above the window openings. The cat prints were apparently the result of cats walking on the soft bricks while they were left to set in the sun. You can see some cat prints on the back of the garage (now the Bookshop) around the back door of the house next door, on the former Rogers’ house on Rogers Road, and on the south side of the A-1 Corner Store. If you look long and hard, I am sure you will find many more on other buildings.

Just a little bit of village history that I know of - hope you get a kick out of it!

Robert Storring can be reached at

Cat prints on the south side of the A-1 Corner Store & Restaurant.