Monday, August 6, 2018

More of the 1950's at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Race Track in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur

It's difficult to believe that fully organized racing began here in our Lakehead cities as far back as the 1920s, but the Hotrods and Jalopies Generation in my mind started in 1952 with a race held in Murillo in August and the first race of the Lakehead Stock Car Racing assoc. started at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition in the late fall of 1952.
So as we start a brand new blog post months overdue, we have donated photos from Glen Kettering's album, Cindy Patton's album (Wally Prokosh's daughter) and Glenn McKinnon's photos.  Thanks to all those who have taken the time to donate photos for our use.  This fall and into winter we have numerous more photos and news clippings that I will share with you, both on early racing and Fort William and Port Arthur history.
To start off, the first photos are mementos of the very first Lakehead Stock Car Racing Association's program and race day which took place on October 6, 1952.

The first LSCRA program with thanks to Glen and Miriam Kettering
 This next piece is the 1952 Roster.  Do you recognize any of your friends or relatives that raced that first race?  Be sure to click on all the photos and brochures to view screen size.

The next two are Times Journal clippings of the historic event.  You can vividly see the old animal barns that were at the south end of the track in turn 1 & 2.

Here is an interesting photo of the #34 Kam Motors car driven by Onorio(Canary) Trevisan and Bill Chepil.  This then and now photo was taken from the original Kam Motors used car lot on Leith st facing towards the garage.  It is now a taxi business.
With much thanks to Glenn McKinnon we have this full color slide to share with you.  This is a circa 1956 photo taken from the Grandstand towards the judges stand and I believe during fair week.  The old wooden fence circling the track is visual as well as a few elevators along the waterfront.  The track would encircle what was also once the golf dome with is now gone as well.  Wouldn't it be great to build the track in its original place again.....not likely.

As I drove by Current River and Current River park the other day, I was remembering The Casino Dine and Dance which was just adjacent (south of) the Current River dam which eventually burned to the ground.  It was a favorite of my parents to have a nice dinner together and spend a night on the dance floor.  Oddly enough it was never a real Casino.  As you can see they even sponsored a stock car in about 1953.

I always like to show the close proximity of the track to where the Coliseum Building is today, and this one is no exception.  With thanks to Wally Prokosh's daughter Cindy Patton we have a number of new clippings and photos which will be brought out over the coming months.  In front and possibly in the last lap is #49 Conrad Trombelli just ahead of #87 Tony Massaro as they pass the gate and the Coliseum building.

The next photo is of Conrad Trombelli taking the checkered flag in front of a packed grandstand and off to the right, the mezzanine area which was the uncovered portion of the grandstand to the north.  Yours truly is somewhere in the crowd selling cokes to get into the races for free.

This is a a very interesting photo of my hero Barry Kettering with a seriously damaged #47 car circa 1953.  Barry's #47 cars were sponsored by Bud Heidrick.  One day when Bud was at the shop and Barry wasn't around, roller skates were welded to the top of his car.  Bud had told Barry that he would have to leave the roller skates on his car until he stopped rolling over.  Obviously Barry did, lost the roller skates and went on to much bigger and better things until his very sad and untimely death years later.  The red rectangle shows the roller skate on his car.

 Here's a typical photo clipping from our newspapers in the day.  We always had great racing coverage which made for record crowds on race days.
 Another clipping from Cindy Patton to enjoy.

In 1957 Barry and Glen Kettering had built a brand new car and was dubbed #57 for the year of change.  Here is Glen and Barry with their horseshoed 34 Ford coupe named Poopsie.  This car went on to numerous wins for the Kettering brothers.
 The last clip on this post is from Cindy as well.  It was a 1958 notification that Wally Prokosh, her dad was back in the lineup with a vengeance and would also see many successful race days at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track.
 Hope you enjoyed this post.  I've been busy working on my new hot rod project and recovering from some health issues, so if you liked this, let me know and I will get back on track on the blog and slow down somewhat on my Facebook page.  Thanks, Dave

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Lost and Mostly Forgotten 1915 Business Advertising in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur.....

     As luck would have it, a donation to the HR&J Blog pages by my wife's cousin Mike last year has prompted me to get busy, and away from Facebook for a bit.  Writing on these pages has become tedious as of late due to the fact that there are so many history pages with photos on Facebook, and its tough to find something original to post and write about.
     One may forget that the Hot Rods and Jalopies generation blog pages was the first to publish on line stories and photos of our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur.  Thank you to all our loyal followers and those who write in and give us ideas and photos to publish.
So....the donation was a compilation of 1915 "The Daily Times Journal" newspapers from April 1, 1915 until June 30, 1915, 103 years ago as we speak.  The stories of WWI are compelling but too intense to write about here, as well as the total history of the sinking of the Lusitania.  To start, I decided to concentrate on interesting advertising with a few follow-up stories to go with them.  The first three photos are of only one title page of all the ones bound in this book.  It is the TJ cover for May 10, 1915.....each photo just a little closer.  Click on all photos for enlargements....

     Next...Here is an advertisement for the ill-fated Luxury Cruise Ship The Noronic.   A 1915 clip advertising the Noronic's Red Cross Night at the CNR Dock (now part of Marina Park) in Port Arthur.
The Noronic was built by CSL and launched in Port Arthur on June 2, 1913, only two years before this ad was published in our paper.  It was a Spectacular Luxury Great Lakes cruise ship.

                                                                                                                                                                   One of the largest and most beautiful passenger ships in Canada at the time, she was nicknamed “The Queen of the Lakes."  The picture on the left below was taken in Toronto Harbour in about 1930....but the doomed ship met it's final demise also in Toronto Harbour in a devastating fire that took place on the fateful night of September 17th 1949 at Pier 9.  118 people perished in that fire.
More details by clicking here on a link to Wikipedia.

Now for some old 1915 advertising.  Some of the actual locations were difficult to find, but with old phone books and some research...I did my best.  The farm produce market was located about halfway between The Superior Bowling Alley and Leith St., at 202 N. May Street....a location very close to where the Goodyear Tire Store was in the most current photo below.

The spot would be where the words "Tire Centre" is.
Climax Grocery was a very popular place to do ones grocery shopping in 1915.  Their ad's appeared 2-4 times in each day's's interesting to compare over 103 years what was sold and what the prices were.

Here's the original location of The Climax Grocery on 113 S. May St. in the present day Dyke Block which was built in 1904.

The RS Piper Company on 1515 Brown St is one of the original hardware stores in West Fort William, but it also was a Grocery Store in 1915 as noted in the advertisement.

Most of our residential city streets today show little or no sign of businesses like corner stores, service stations, bakeries or shoe repair shops, but in 1915 many businesses were placed right smack dab in residential areas and many businesses were operated out of back lane-ways long before the city changed all its bylaws.  Dominion Bread was a prime example of residential area business.  The address was 132 Ogden Street.  One of my family's first homes was on Ogden St.
So there it was...about 3 houses east from McKenzie Street on the south side.

Chapples Ltd., formerly the Grain Exchange building started out small in 1909, but became one of the Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur's predominant department stores....finally closing its doors due to the emergence of big box stores, and the conversion of that area of Thunder Bay to another ill fated venture, Victoriaville.  As you can see by the second advertisement, in the spring of 1915 Chapples was celebrating it's 6th anniversary already.  Others claim Chapples started in 1915, but obviously the advertisement doesn't lie.

Here's another West Fort William business advertisement named People's Outfitters in 1915.  It's address was 146 Frederica St., which today would be just adjacent (east) to Schwartz Men's Wear.

The original Heintzman & Co. Piano  building was in a present day burned out area which is still empty.  After The Heintzman Co. moved out of this location at 402 Victoria Ave., this location became a restaurant and eventually there was a fire that destroyed the property never to be built on again.

The two following advertisements both say they are on the corner of Heron and Simpson street, however one was called "Twin City Furniture Store" and the other "A. Gilbert & Company"...possibly later to become Gilbert's furniture which was further north on Simpson St.  It's possible that each of these two businesses were on the north and south side of Heron St. long before the Simpson Hotel was built....and today houses The NorWest Community Health Centre.  I believe the A. Gilbert and Co. was on the property where the Health Centre's addition is today.

This photo was taken before the almost complete block addition to the NorWest CHC building, and where the parking lot is in this photo 527 Simpson St would have been.

Another well known establishment in 1915 was Neville's Drug Store at 215 Simpson St.  It also states that there was another store in the Francis Block.  I have no idea where the Francis block was.

The building at 571-573 Syndicate Ave firstly called Coslett Hardware Co. still exists to this day.  Coslett's was also a very well known business even into the 1950's

Coslett Hardware was also known as a United Service Motors outlet who not only sold hardware for city and farm use but also fuels, such as Naphtha Gas (bottle shown above thanks to Russ Wanzuk), and also did repairs to automobiles and farm equipment.  "Naphtha is a flammable liquid made from distilling petroleum. It looks like gasoline. Naphtha is used to dilute heavy oil to help move it through pipelines, to make high-octane gas, to make lighter fluid, and even to clean metal."
I know it's time for a new CLE racing post...I will try in the near future.....and also possibly more ads from 1915.  Thanks for watching, and if it's your first visit... "WELCOME".  Be sure to check back through the complete blog for memorable stories about our cities and about vintage racing as well.