Monday, July 23, 2012

1950's Jalopies, Demolition Derbies and Local History at Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario...

This first "Jalopy" picture is none other than the Rice Lake, Wisconsin's own Dean Harrington #U2.  This picture was taken in front of 297 North Cumberland St., in Port Arthur Ontario(now Thunder Bay).  There were plenty of businesses at this address during the 1950's and later years such as:  Stan's Auto Electric in 1957/58, McEwen Station #2 in 1959/60, Kallio's Husky Service in at least 1961/62, and North Cumberland Service in the 1970's.  It is presently called Mike's Main Service today as shown in the photo below.  Many local businesses sponsored the American Cars when they came here to race in those years.

 Here you can see the similarity of the building top in the 1957 photo and the 2011 photo.

Dean Harrington raced his 1934 Ford 3 window and 5 window coupes from 1955 until 1962 during the "Glory Days" with sponsors such as "Stinn Motor Company", "WJMC AM-FM Radio", and Rice Lake Auto Salvage.  Dean still runs to this day.  In recent years, Jim Hinsperger of Thunder Bay did a complete restoration of one of Dean's older Super Modified cars, which I will do a separate post in coming months.
Click on all photos for enlargements!

 Here is a great team shot of Al Cruikshank's car(Al is top left) driven by none other than a very young Albert Massaro(crouching with his number #36 jacket on).  Above Albert is Arny Untinen, and sitting on the running board is Al Cruikshank's son, Tom.  This is of course before Al Massaro drove his famed #88 for many years back then.

 Driving here is Fran "Junior" Speer.  Junior is driving the Wes Inkster car after Wes had received serious injuries in this same car back in the 1950's.  The car is about a 1934 Plymouth coupe.  Check out the masses of people in the old grandstand building. 
FOOTNOTE:  For those of you that can't remember, the grandstand in these photos is located in approximately the same spot as the Silver City Movie Theatre, and the track was located in the same spot as the present day Golf Dome!

Click on either of these two photos and you may see me in the midst of all the kids watching this demolition derby, held just in front of the grandstand at the CLE track.  I vividly remember being there and where I was standing.  Too bad they are wrecking a very nice 1947 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery and a similar year Plymouth.....but they were just old used cars and we all loved it then!!

This final photo taken at the CLE track is an old I believe 1950 Ford sedan driven all the way from Proctor Minnesota to advertise their races on Wednesday and Sunday nights.  Proctor Speedway still runs their races to this very day.....Lots to say for smaller communities that support what is historically important from the 1950's well into the next millennium.
You can still see the present day Dorothy Dove building on the left, the old Mahon's Memorial Store sign on the right and that old elevator in the background that still stands to this day behind the Mahon's sign.  I really enjoy seeing the hand lettering done in those days and the wonderful fonts they used.....and as usual, I hope you enjoyed these photos.

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