Wednesday, July 22, 2009

May Street and Southern...from The Royal Fort to the DQ





More memories abound with this group of photos from an important corner of our cruisin' hot rod days. Do you remember the Royal Fort Tourist Camp on the corner of Southern and May Street? If you do you must be at least 60 years old. My friend Ron Limbrick lived there with his mom and dad back in the 50's. His dad was alderman Hubert Limbrick. Ron lived on the above property and played with '32 Fords, Austins and what have you, at a very young age(well he looked like he was 10 years old when he was 16).
The Royal Fort Tourist Camp property was purchased by Mike and Jennie Petlow, who were the owners of the popular Columbia Grill at the time and was soon to construct one of the first 50's drive-in restaurants in Fort William on the same property, called the Millionaire Drive Inn. I don't have a photo of the drive inn,(now I do...thanks Gary) but I do own one of their mugs as shown in the photo above. I have great memories as a teenager at the Millionaire as my future wife Rosemary and I had entered a dance-a-thon contest in high school which began at the drive-in and ended up at the CLE Coliseum. We never did win or even come close but it was my best memory of the Millionaire.
The next company to take over the property was the A&W. I believe it was the second A&W here at the lakehead. I will talk about the very first A&W in the next post.
The building was left vacant for quite a few years after the A&W closed(My friend Clarence Merko and I always thought it would be great to open up a new business there but never did. Finally the place was completely retrofitted into what is presently the Dairy Queen. Don't forget that May Street used to actually be Highway 17, right on the Trans Canada Highway, and long before the expressway was built.
My friend Ron says that he met his first love way back on the property near the river and near a culvert......yes!!!...but it was his '32 Ford Coupe. I may add more to this post later.
Click on all to enlarge.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I received an anonymous comment today Oct. 15/09 as follows: "Mike and Jennie Petlow were the owners of the Columbia Grill and Millionaire Drive-In in Fort William at the time". Thanks "anonymous" for setting me straight on the family name spelling. My post is corrected as of today...Dave