Saturday, February 4, 2017

Need for Preservation....Some Favourites, and Some Then and Now Pictures from our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario....

Well....Finally back at the Blog pages..  I've been spending too much time on my face book page when I should be spending the time here.  This post is long overdue but you race car guys will have to wait for more vintage racing photos and stories, as this one is pure local history.
I am starting off here with a couple of my most favourite photographs of downtown Fort William even before my day(photo source unknown).  They are both taken circa 1930 by the vehicles in it.  The first one, facing west on Victoria Ave is taken just before the May St. intersection where the Model "A" Ford sedan is making a turn to head north on May St..  The second one is taken a block west on Victoria Ave.  Making a comparison in the second photo to today is sad because as we know, Victoriaville takes up most of the street, and with rumors of its demise....we are still waiting.
This is a fairly long post as I have been working on a few things separately but I'm just going to put them all together into one.....and as usual be sure to click on all photos to enlarge them and if you get a + once more for x-large.

White's Drug Store is just past the Cigars sign on the right...the intersection in 1930 is May and Victoria...

The intersection coming up is Victoria and Brodie...the Victoria Hotel is on the left and this all would be Victoriaville now.

By printing this following collage we would hopefully encourage the city to preserve a very historic building that apparently is coming up for demolition ..... Jan Starr wrote this comment last month.  The property in question is located on the old Ogilvie Elevator property, as shown in one of the photos below....Click on to read...

Only stickers now appear to let you know where your vehicle was purchased, but in the middle to near the end of the 20th century, very cool little metal pieces of advertising were added to your car when you purchased it....and to mount some, holes were actually drilled in your vehicle to do so.  The following pieces some of which I have in my own collection and some photos were donated by Boris Krystompol to add a few more to the local list.
The original location of the dealers is shown with the trunk advertising.

Hillman Sales and Service was originally located on the corner of Edward and Gore Sts. in Westfort

                                                            Twin Port was a Studebaker Dealer and located on the corner of May and Bethune Street in Fort William near the original Spicer's Tire Service and Kam Motors Depot.

One of the Jessiman Motors locations on 730 Memorial is where Parts Source and a flooring store is today......I wish Boris would sell me these to add to my collection... LOL.

Gibson Motors was where the Power Centre is today.....and that whole area was always called "Intercity".....which we all knew meant somewhere between Fort William and Port Arthur...

The last one is Port Arthur Motors which was located where Tony and Adams is today on the corner of Pearl and Court Street.  The Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealerships, Port Arthur Motors  and Kam Motors Ltd., were both originally owned by Hubert Badanai Sr...... later to become one dealership on Memorial Ave.

 NEXT - remembering Al's Wonderland.  Albert Massaro was not only a very well known stock car driver in the 1950's and 1960's but was quite the entrepreneur, business man, hockey coach etc etc.  I had the privilege of knowing Al in the day, and did some work for him when he had his Al's Wonderland.  I painted this sign for him as well as built many of his picnic tables for him and also painted and lettered many of the Go-Karts he had at his here's the sign I did and glad I had photographed it just when I finished it....who knows where it is today.  The present day picture beside it is courtesy Google Earth and still reveals the spot where Al had his Go Kart track and his last "Wonderland"... we sure miss Al and all the good work he did for hockey, racing and everything else he was involved in.  RIP Albert Massaro.

NEXT - We have some then and now photos.....The first is The Thunder Bay Co-op building which still exists to this day proving that great structures can be re-purposed over and over for a much cheaper cost than ripping them down and re-building....and also preserving local history....

 I had seen this C.P. Drug store pill box sticker and at a glance didn't know that it was a local piece until I took a closer look to reveal the actual address where it was right across from the CPR station on 419 Syndicate the building we now know as "The Arcade" building.

The next then and now is Wanson's Lumber on 277 John Street.  It is interesting to note that the original building on the left in the first photo is still being used today, and apparently some of the original office building is still in use as well.

This Fort William photo showing two Brill buses, one a gas powered and the other an electric powered trolley is quite interesting.  Of course we all know the Chapple buildings...the large one in the middle and just a bit of the home store on the left of the late 1940's photo. When you enlarge the photo, you can make out the word Hurtig just above the bus in the centre of the photo.  Hurtig Furriers owned the corner building until the early 1950's when the property was purchased by Heintzman's, which was mainly a music store, but also sold some furniture, radios, early tv sets and of course records.  Heintzman's had booths where you could take your record into a booth and listen to it before you bought it.

When you view this old photo, it's hard to believe its the same building.... "The Victoria Block" as in the photo below it.  The "then" photo is of Walkers Dry Goods all decked out for the Christmas Season in the early part of the 20th century.  The facade was changed drastically through the years and modernization pretty much diminished the desire to even go inside....however I do remember Walkers Department Store in the 1950's when at Christmas time they would have their windows all decked out in the current toy trend and had an American Flyer model railroad layout in the basement that would bring shouts of glee to any child, and likely empty pockets to many fathers wanting to please their kids.
The Victoria Block now houses Barbie's Bargains which I believe is still there.

WOW...the CPR station after over 100 years still looks pretty much the same.  The first photo is likely taken in the very early 1900's.  I remember riding my bike there as a kid and seeing the model of the big lake ship which is now housed at our museum, and punching out a disk about the size of a toonie on a machine with your name and address on it for a dime.....oh...and having to pay a dime to use the one of us would get voted in to crawl under, use it then hold the door open for your friends to continue to use it....LOL...great fun...
We watched the trains come in from destinations east and west and dreamed of traveling by steam train to some of those unknown places.....It's great to see that beautiful building stand the test of time.

Awe....the Embassy Grill....Sundays after church heading to the Embassy with your family to have coffee or chocolate milk and toast.....things like that were a rare treat when I was a child...but the memory lives on today, as the building still exists as the Amethyst Gift Centre...and as it says on the newspaper ad "next to the Odeon Theatre"..... great memories...

I know I've posted this before but the memories of hanging out at Ray Charles Texaco in my teens and twenties is still quite strong....When Ray and Charlie were there, they embraced all us teens, letting us use tools, have small credit accounts and we would reciprocate by cleaning up after ourselves and respect our other friends that hung out was awsome times.  The photo is of my own '55 Chevy sedan delivery and on the trailer behind me was Ken Pawluk's Camaro Late Model... we were heading to Riverview for a test run.... Roger Rickards and I are slowly working on a great story about the service station history of this spot...which will be coming up soon.

This is the last part of this post and not so much a then and now but just a "THEN".....I was truly a huge Roy Rogers fan and the wonderful childhood memories of those times are still with me, as my saved so many things for us(bless her heart).  I still have my Post Cereal Roy Rogers button set because many of the buttons I collected as a kid were pinning to an old beanie, and were saved in my bottom drawer of my dresser from when I was a kid to the present day......I will have to get rid of this stuff eventually...but for now I can still enjoy them and write about them.......
Thanks to everyone for being patient with my posts....I still have a lot to write about.  I'm getting older and slowing down a bit....but if us local history buffs don't preserve the memories, no one will!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017...starts with an 80 year old Greeting....and ends with a Shift.

A Very Happy New Year to all our friends and followers here on Hot Rods and Jalopies and on Dave's Facebook page.  More posts to follow in the New Year.....
Here's an 80 Year Old Happy New Year greeting....and yes there is a car on it.
Now for a few good old "Happy New Year" cards and photos for you to enjoy, plus a wee little bit of history.  Firstly is my namesake Minion "Dave" wishing you a Happy New Year.

 And now a little history....let's go dancing tonight to ROY (not Ray as it says) CORAN and his the CLE Auditorium for only .50c.....and right next to Roy's advertisement is a 1935 Happy New Year January 1935 calendar cover with Shirley Temple...Does anyone remember this wonder child?

A Very Happy New Year from the Munsters have one....."just one now" ...on us......we'll never know how the Munsters celebrated on New Years Eve.

As we get's the type of drink I would prefer on New Years Eve.....some clever person made a marshmallow snow man in a hot tub of Hot Chocolate.   I can see the Baileys in it....can't you??

 A few more Minions wishing you "All the Best".....and the Peanuts Gang playing musical chairs at their New Years Eve party....
Click on all to enlarge.....

Start the New Year Right with someone you truly love.......and know that with all our troubles and sorrows........

And FINALLY........hope you all have a fabulous year ahead...thanks for watching and keep in's easy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas and Other Winter Memories mainly from Our Home Towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ont. Last one for 2016....

Be sure to check back on the last two posts to view the 2016 group of Christmas Memories on our blog pages then come back to read this one.
Dave and his entire family wish that your holiday be blessed with Love, Peace, Joy, and Happiness, and may it extend the whole year through.  MERRY CHRISTMAS.

      This old 1939/40 Christmas Telegram is one of my favorite Christmas pieces.  It was a very important means of communication particularly overseas through the early years of WWII.  Obviously I removed some of the personal data.  Click on all to enlarge.

Here are a couple of old CPR Telegraph office signs...the second being a bit older than the first.

The CPR Telegraph office in Fort William was located on the corner of George St., and May St. in the old Royal Edward Hotel building.  The corner later became a restaurant which is presently closed after the building was renamed The Royal Edward Arms. 

 "The Royal Eddy" still stands without the CP Telegraph office to this day....a few pieces are broken off the top facade of the building but it still stands like a fortress from our old town of Fort William, Ontario.  The Queen actually stayed in this building.

Quite a few years later in about 1961 we were celebrating our Christmas at home like every typical middle class family did with our tree, usually cut down in the Oliver Lake area and an abundance of gifts that we were supposed to be extra good to receive, but even if we weren't so "good", we would receive them anyway.  We were very fortunate kids and never got too greedy with our Christmas requests.  My kid brother Corey and I loved trains since we were small, as our uncles and grandfather had worked for the CPR.  We still both share the interest.  With left overs from my own model trains, in about 1961, I built a little layout for my kid bro, and as you will see he was overjoyed with his gift.
Christmas Eve circa 1961


Now for some history circa 1949....The photo below is of my wife's Aunt Phoebe Bishop with her two sons Martin and Billy.  You have to imagine where they are today with only a few landmarks available to locate the spot.  They are sitting on a snow pile about where the lobby area of the Fort William Gardens is today.  The building on the left is the Fort William Armory,  and there are three buildings in this photo which still exist today to help us locate the spot.....the two houses on the right are on the corner of Leith and McKellar St., and a little store on the corner of Archibald and Leith St., near the right center of the photo.
 The photo to the right courtesy of Google Maps shows the two homes that are in the photo above, however the store is not visible here but shows up in the next two.

This one shows Syd Bishop with his two sons Martin and Billy as mentioned above.  They are standing beside a Brill Bus Float waiting for the start of the 1949 Winter Carnival Parade here in Fort William, Ontario.  In the Orange Square is Min's Grocery Store and Confectionery at 220 Archibald Street on the N/E corner of Archibald and Leith Sts. in the day.  That building still exists today.

Syd Bishop was the Fort William Transit manager for many years.  He is shown in the far right of the photo below near the original spot where the transit building was located on the south side of Walsh St., between Selkirk and Franklin Sts.

The new Thunder Bay Transit Building on Fort William Road is dedicated to my wife's uncle Syd Bishop.

 Most of the Fort William parades during the winter time and/or summer always began where this skating rink was located in the middle 1900's.  This is McKellar Park where McKellar Park school stands today.  Many kids hockey games were played on this rink and many other rinks around our twin cities in the day.  I played goal for the Elks Pee Wee Hockey organization in the early 1950's, just before I found an affinity for downhill skiing.

The following picture was also taken on the same ice surface as the one can see the high windows of the old Armory building....the kids are having some fun with an ice skating race.

 One more last family picture of our Christmas mornings back in about 1958.  Pay close attention, not to my kid brother playing with my service station again but to the box on the left top of the photos which reads....yes you guessed it...."Hot Rod Kit".  I think every kid my age got one of these at least once in their life for a Christmas gift....and as you know, the words "Hot Rod" never left my vocabulary ever since these days....LOL   That is me in my jammies on the left and my kid sister above my kid brother....but wait, what was in that box.  Here is a present day photo that someone had on ebay for sale...Imagine someone keeping it all these years.  I never kept mine or my service station, but I've found a Marx service station which I still have.
This is what was inside that box.

One more Christmas treasure....a 1952 Woolworth's Christmas book dated 1952....A Trip in Santa's Ribbon Candy Rocket.  Many people don't even know what Ribbon Candy is....

There is one more story to tell, but I won't tell it, It's about what the "Ford Rotunda" was.  The image below says Christmas at the Ford Rotunda.  The final three images below are free books that a kid would receive if they actually visited the Fort Rotunda during the Christmas Season.  Please Click on this link to view the Wikipedia story of the Ford Rotunda -

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANKS FOR WATCHING ALL YEAR.....Many more posts to come in the new year including some local stock car photos not yet seen..... D.