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.

Friday, February 9, 2018

NEW February edition of ...... Then's and Now's in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur...

This post has a few more Then and Now photos to help us, not so much so that you would remember
the pictures, because some of us obviously are not old enough to remember many of them, but to touch on some of our city's fascinating history.
Progress is mostly a good thing, but much of our history goes by the wayside and trying to remember what once was is important, so that we may pass the information on to our children and grandchildren to help them remember their past.
Here at The Hotrods and Jalopies Generation we try to do just that.
I've recently received more never seen before jalopy racing photos from the CLE track which will be posted soon.

This very first one I don't have a "Now" picture of, but if you study it you will be able to see exactly how downtown Fort William looked in 1892, 126 years ago.....yes our little town did progress quite a bit since then.  Many of us have seen this photo before, but not of this quality.


Now we jump ahead to the Brill Trolley Bus era, lightly colored to the original Fort William beige and orange configuration.  The Port Arthur ones were beige and maroon, during that time frame.  I would place the "then" photo in the early 1950's.  The nice rainbow sun spot in the "now" photo is courtesy of google maps.  ...and as always, click once or twice on all the photos for enlargements.

Almost every year each of our twin cities would have a very elaborate winter carnival many of which I remember very well.  Here we have some great old automobiles in front of Bryan's Department store in the "Victoria Block", and it's all decked out as a trading post of the Voyageur era.  The photo is from the early 1950's.  The "Now" photo shows the old building's wear and tear with little or no upkeep through the years....These are the type of photos I dislike the most as urban renewal basically killed this area of Fort William's downtown, not to mention the building of the Victoriaville Mall, which blocked off Fort William's main artery.

Here is another beautiful postcard promoting our bustling city's main street of Victoria Ave.  This postcard is another much clearer copy, and with a more modern editing system I can make them look a little crisper.   The beautiful Commerce Bank building is on the left.  A sign saying "Sweet Caporal Cigarettes" is on a cigarette shop (This spot a few years later became The Royal Theatre).  The St. Louis Hotel is next, as well as a few buildings on the right that still exist today however not in the greatest of condition.  A little further down on the right would be the Avenue Hotel, later to burn down and later again to house the Odeon Theatre.  The large prominent building at the most eastern end of Victoria Ave is the Canadian Pacific Elevator "B"....long since gone and before my time.

The White Lunch was an important hang out for school kids and teens from the 1930's to the 1950's.  It was pretty much on par with the Lorna Doone which was on Victoria Ave.  You could purchase a hamburger nip and a coke for .35 cents after school or after ice skating or roller skating at the Fort William Gardens in the '50's.   The photo with the young ladies is a facebook find thanks to Barbara Yurkoski.  The advertisement on top was found in my mother's Fort William Collegiate yearbook, and the one on the lower left is from a 1950's newspaper.  As it says on the top ad..."Three doors North of Chapples".  It would have been placed in the old parking lot on Syndicate Ave as shown in the "Now" photo......however the "Now" photo should actually show the brand new courthouse, which completely engulfs this portion of Syndicate Ave.  The YMCA building and the Twin City Gas (Kings Stereo) building are also long gone to urban renewal and the courthouse.

Another better quality "Then" photo of the Passenger Steam Engine at the CNR Station on Vicker's Street...showing the station and the Fort William Gardens behind.  The "Now" photo shows a very wide Vicker's Street which once was the home of the station and all the tracks you see here.....for those who haven't seen this photo before, the train would next head south towards Arthur Street, and begin a long turn west behind the Bell Canada and City Telephone buildings, head down the north side of Arthur Street and reconnect with the mainline behind the Kingsway Motel.  If you tell a youngster this story they think you're nuts.  LOL

Speaking of the Kingsway Motel, here is a picture of the Blue Swan Inn which was also along Kingsway street.  It is long gone now and replaced with the Apartment building in the "Now" photo.  Kingsway Street was the route you would take if you were heading south on highway 61 and crossing the Swing Bridge to the USA, hence there were a number of motels, some of which are still there along Kingsway St.

The History of May and Southern...
Jumping to the north/west corner of May Street and Southern Avenue we have the Royal Fort Tourist Camp.  My friend Ron Limbrick lived there with his mother and father (Alderman Hubert Limbrick).  Being close to the fairgrounds many of the circus folk would stay there and Ron remembered as a kid watching gymnasts practicing in their front yard.  The property would later be sold to Mike Petlow who owned the Columbia Grill.  Mike would build one of the very first art deco drive-in restaurants in Fort William called the Millionaire Drive-In.  Like the A&W, they had car hops, hamburger and hot dog eating competitions, danceathons and live bands playing on weekends....but also great food.  The property would later revert to the Dairy Queen with new buildings as we see in the last photo.

One final Then and Now in this post is the McKenzie Bridge.  Friends and Family had camps along Lake Superior and we would actually ride out bikes out here to their camp for Easter break or during the summer months.  In those days our parents surely trusted us or maybe weren't worried as much as parents are today.
The original span bridge across the McKenzie River gorge was quite long on which we traveled to frequent the McKenzie Hotel and Restaurant you see in the background of both photos.
In the most recent photo, they realized that a bridge was actually unnecessary.  A huge culvert was installed instead and then the gorge was filled in with rock and dirt.  It sure looked simpler and cleaner.
Hope you enjoyed this post and as mentioned never seen before racing photos are coming.  Thanks for checking us out. Dave

Monday, January 22, 2018

Then's, Now's and More History from our Home Towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario....

It's always interesting to go back into ones history and consider what our government officials whether it be locally, provincially or federally thought about our future, and what would become of these two small towns of Port Arthur and Fort William where we live.
I came across the following article and photo in my collection of vintage newspapers...this one from 1957, many of which were my own and many of which were donated by various sources throughout the years that I have been writing this blog.
My unanswered question to this is "What Happened Since 1957", and "Where are the Half a Million People?"  

Click twice on this photo for an enlarged and easier to read well as all the other's in these posts.
Where are all the people they predicted would be here by 1977?

The Outlaw Bridge was very well known in the Pigeon River area in the 1920's.  Our Lakehead Cities desperately needed a link to some larger populated areas, and Winnipeg and even Sault Ste. Marie were too far away for family vehicular travel......Duluth, Minnesota and Minneapolis were the closest link to civilization.  The 1920's edited photo is from an old brochure I've had for years.

This next one is actually a Then and Then photo.  These two photos were both taken in the 1950's, but the bottom photo of the Royal Yacht Britannia (Queen Elizabeth's Ship) in the harbour was taken from the original CPR station's tower shown in the first photo.  The Queen visited here in 1959 to much pomp and circumstance.

This next then and now always leaves some heads scratching.  Triangle Service Station, later to be named Ed's Triangle Service was located on a triangulated piece of land where Memorial Ave. and Fort William Road would meet at John St......We also called that corner the 5-way lights.  5-way because Algoma met Memorial Ave. north and south, and John Street was split by Memorial east and west and the 5th light was from Fort William Road.  The confusion at this intersection was cleared up many years after the top photo was taken.  The bottom photo shows the approximated location of Triangle Service.

Jumping over to Fort William on the then extremely busy May and Victoria Ave. intersection we have a very unobtrusive corner these days as shown in the right photo, compared to what things looked like in the 1950's and 1960's.  White's Drug Store was on the north/east corner (in what was called the Cooper Block) with many interesting small and large businesses as you move east towards Simpson St., including a few banks, the Royal Theatre, and also a few hotels....but today there is little traffic, shoppers or people barely interested in being there.
We all know that one of the main reasons for this departure of business and people was due to the building of the unpopular Victoriaville Mall........there's no use talking about it anymore as we all know that hopefully in the next few years it will be gone, and maybe we can try to re-invent Victoria Ave.  Some are desperately trying already.
The picture below was of course the same corner as mentioned above.  White's Rexall Drugs changed hands many times, and was called "Lords" Pharmacy when the terrible fire ravaged that corner in 1971...things were starting to change for worse, and as a car guy in the 1960's, our cruising strip was gone forever.

Now heading back to Port Arthur and the Red and Cream coloured Port Arthur Transit buses.  I have seen this photo many times and tried to make sense of the exact location.  The location is on Front Street on the Port Arthur side of town which is one block east of Cumberland Street near the recycle depot.  The two homes behind the buses are still there, but not exactly as they looked in the 1950's.  The Port Arthur buses were a burgundy colour with cream and the Fort William ones were a similar two tone in orange and cream.

Smith's Tire and Battery Service was located very close to where Tim Horton's is today on Memorial Ave. and the entrance to Shoppers Drug Mart on John and Memorial Ave.

W. F. Bolduc Tire Company was located on Park Street where the North parking lot of the Casino is today. 
One more Fort William one for this post....I believe this has been done before but it is a favourite one of mine.  Directly across from Fort William's original city hall was "City Hall Garage"...a very nice looking service building which also sold and serviced "Durant" automobiles.  The newer building on the same property below both at the North/West corner of Donald and May St. was the original "Hydro" building's offices at one time.

Just one more note to thank everyone for supporting my Hotrods and Jalopies blog here on the Internet and also on my Facebook page.  It is getting difficult to be original anymore as there are so many history sites on the Lakehead on Facebook now.  This blog is the original local history site which has been running now for nine years.  Always keep a lookout for new original vintage photos either historic or vintage racing in your albums and if you so desire, get in touch with me and loan them to scan for more great stories this year and for as long as I'm able.  Thank You, Dave Cano