Thursday, September 29, 2011

906 Victoria Ave.....A Hot Rod and Jalopy Haven........

Staff at Darlings circa 1953
906 Victoria Ave, a service station for many years that can be traced back to the 1930`s and progressing into the 1970’s was a hot rod and jalopy dream-haven for kids my age especially in the 1950`s and 1960’s.  Well known names enter my mind such as Ken Taylor, Ralph Darling, Norm Hogan, Ross “Pappy” Fowler, Glen and Barry Kettering, Bud Heidrick, Don Marsh, Charlie Miller and Ray DeFoy to name a few.

Every one of these guys were gentlemen in their own right and as car-crazy kids that we were, they all treated us well, because we were shortly to become regular patrons of 906 Victoria Ave as we entered into our adult years.

Darling's as it looked at its grand opening circa 1953
There are many gaps in dates and changes in ownership through the years and anyone that has anything to add to this post is very welcome to do so.

Pappy Fowler's car sponsored by Darlings Texaco Service
Somewhere along the line it changed to Bud's Service(or so we think due to the fact that the #10 Fowler car said Bud's Service on the side), owned by local businessman and entrepreneur Bud Heidrick.  My father was an old friend of Bud's until his passing a few years ago.  This next ad was used while Glen and Barry were working for Ralph Darling and just before the Kettering Brothers started their own business in the Husky Station directly across from the CPR Station on Syndicate Avenue.  This ad was shown in the 1955 Canadian Lakehead Exhibition track program.
Glen and Barry at Darlings Texaco
Here is a photo of Ross "Pappy" Fowler's car with "Bud's Service" plainly seen on the side.  Many of the #47 Barry Kettering's early to mid 50's cars also sported the "Bud's Thing" logo on the side.

Here is a clipping of one of Barry's cars after a serious accident with "Bud's Thing" painted on the side.  This picture was taken in front of "Darling's" at 906 Victoria Ave facing away from the station at a a north east angle.  Note the YMCA Building in the background, no longer there!  That property is presentlly being used to build the new courthouse.  Check the next picture to see how this exact shot looked just before the YMCA building was destroyed.

The photo shown on the right is the same shot as above taken just before the YMCA building was taken down.  In the above photo there were only billboards on this property.....I remember that well.  The Natural Health building was originally built for a Gov't Liquor Control Board store.

This photo has been shown on this blog before and is a picture of yours truly on the left and Joe Cooper on the right with Charlie Miller's '57 Chevy hobby stock in front of the same station and address at 906 Victoria Ave.  We had just lettered and painted Charlie's car.  Joe and I were on his pit crew until I had my own #67 car in mid summer of 1967.                                               This photo was taken earlier in 1967.  The station at this time was owned and operated by Charlie Miller and Ray DeFoy as "Ray Charles Texaco" ...catchy name eh!!  These were truly the good old days as Charlie and Ray and all the other guys that ran this station through the years treated all us kids incredibly well.  The signage in front was Marfak Lubrication, Washing, and Tires & Batteries.

These two old ads were other proprietors of 906 Victoria Ave through the years, and I don't remember either.  I don't remember "Jake's Service Station" as I wasn't born yet, but it is the same address.  I also don't remember "Bob Schnaufer's Service Station" from a 1957 CLE Racing program, but it is the same address at the Corner of Victoria and John Street.  John Street was changed to McKellar Street after the two cities amalgamated into Thunder Bay, and the giveaway was that it was opposite the Safeway Grocery Store on Victoria Ave.....and Safeways was directly across from 906 Victoria Ave.
The last photo here is how the building looks today and still standing....hard to believe it was all this!!!
Yes!  It is Dave Knight Optical at 906 Victoria Ave.
Many thanks to those who donated photos and clippings including Google Images.  Some of these clippings and ads are from Barry Kettering's own scrap book.
Be sure to click once or twice on the pictures to enlarge them!

1 comment:

hot rod air ride said...

We can really see the activities of our hot rod enthusiasts even from way back. Hot rod fans and enthusiasts have preserved this hobby for over decades now.