Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The West Hotel Fire.......

Having done a post on the West Hotel back in July 2009(click here then come back http://hotrodsandjalopies.blogspot.com/2009/07/empire-and-west-hotelssimpson-st.html )and saying that it hadn't been consumed by fire as yet, little did I know that on last Thursday Oct. 21 2010 it would burn down.

Here is a picture of the West Hotel taken in 1913, just 5 years after Henry Ford produced his first automobile. The West was very renowned in its day as were many hotels along Simpson Street and Victoria Ave, catering mainly to the Railroad traffic coming and going from Fort William. Here on Simpson street the West's rates were reasonable at between $1.50 and $2.00 a night. The attached building to the left in the black & white photo was called The Palace and looks like it could have been a theatre of sorts. The next colour photo(thanks to the Scalzo collection...love those Brill Bus photos) was taken in the fall of 1969. This photo vividly shows the West Hotel Sign, The James Murphy Coal Company sign and on the left of the photo is a small sign that likely says Army, Navy and Air Force(ANAF) Hall which would be in the same place as The Palace was in the b&w photo.
This photo was taken just two summers ago and the building was still in operation then. The city says that both the West Hotel building and the ANAF building had been empty for some time.
It was quite a sight to see at about 8:00 am on Thursday the 21st of October, as my friend Al Yahn woke me up to say that the West was burning and that maybe I should get down there to take some photos. Thanks Al!
Here are some great ladder truck photos as well as the last of the West burning and the ANAF building had spectacular flames pouring out the top. I did take a bit of video but for some reason, blogger won't let me load them.
Many Icons of the past have gone to fires through the years, and its sad to see....I guess its the quickest way to have them levelled. This picture on the left shows a much faded James Murphy Coal Company sign on the next building over. This same picture is also taken in the same spot as the Brill Bus photo above.
These last two photos show the last of the old West Hotel smouldering away and in this last photo, just a facade of itself left. I guess the next one down will be the Empire Hotel just north of this one. The rubble in the foreground of these last photos is the debris still left over from the building that burned down in the winter months, Club 777, which was at least as old as this building and was originally the J. & T.M. Piper Hardware Store.
Click on photos to enlarge!

1 comment:

Oats said...

I took this photo of the J & T M Piper Hardware ruins on election night as I walked to the polling station:


Look in the bottom left.