Here we have an early Ford jalopy, about a 1936 coupe with #17 on the side....not just any #17 but sporting Club "17" Tavern. It was very obvious that Club "17" was the major sponsor of this Jalopy. The next picture is the racing roster from 1953, clearly showing a Mr. B. Martin driving the #17 car.
The Tavern was on the corner of Highway 17, which is West Arthur Street now, and Neebing Avenue, hence...Club "17" Tavern. It was an extremely popular place to go to dine and dance and at that time it was actually in the country.(The property is well within city limits now). It was a somewhat middle class establishment and you could get a very nice dinner with some top notch entertainment at a reasonable cost, or you could rent the whole place for a wedding reception or small convention.
The first item here is a matchbook cover from the 1950's or early 1960's. The 1959 phone book clipping is next showing many of the local haunts from the same era. The next shot is a few swizzle sticks showing both Fort William and Thunder Bay on them.(Remembering that Fort William and Port Arthur were amalgamated into the city of Thunder Bay in 1970.) The last photo is a couple of different 1970's glasses from my collection, both showing Thunder Bay on them.
One more matchbook cover showing Thunder Bay. The next image is that of the cover of the Lakehead Guest. The Lakehead Guest was published for many years as a tourist brochure showing all the great things to see and do in the Lakehead Cities of Fort William and Port Arthur. This 1968 brochure was loaned to me to copy by my friend Bill Exell who actually appears in a photo in the last image here. He is playing the Chordovox for a group called the "Tedaires Trio" along with Louis Clowes on rhythm guitar and Jack Miskelly on drums...Where?? You guessed it....right here at the Club "17 Tavern. Jack and Louis passed away over the years but Bill is still around and playing keyboard, but mainly for his own entertainment now. Bill also restores vintage Ford cars one of which is seen by scrolling down in this post. I also have the privilege in knowing Louis Clowes son Bill, a local antique entrepreneur with his family always giving him a hand.
On this page of the Lakehead Guest is another ad showing the Club "17" Tavern and the Tedaires Trio playing. This next photo(a studio photo for advertising) and the one below also belong to Bill Exell who graciously loaned them to me for this post.....What handsome dudes!!
On the left is Louis Clowes, in the middle is Jack Miskelly and Bill Exell is on the right in the B&W photo. The colour photo here is Bill taken last summer at the A&W Cruise night with his 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible....Very cool Bill!!
This is the only rendition I have of what it looked like back in the 1950's with a 1955 Oldsmobile parked out front. If you go west out what is now Arthur Street past the expressway and turn left at Neebing Avenue to go to the Valhalla Inn, you will see an Enterprise Rental place(a Robin's Donuts before that) on the south/west corner of Arthur and Neebing......that is where Club "17" was. It was around until the late 1970's then disappeared along with many local establishments that had a tough time competing with chain restaurants and taverns. These places are sadly gone forever, but were always helping out local folks such as the stock car and jalopy guys of that era, sponsoring them to keep their cars running and helping to entertain all of us during the Hot Rods and Jalopy era........
Thanks again to Bill Exell for the Tedaires Trio photos and for the use of the Lakehead Guest 1968.
Be sure to click on all pictures(sometimes twice) to enlarge to full and readable size...