Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Victoria's by George Rogers....

George Rogers, a former Fort William boy now living in Winnipeg is a loyal follower of Hot Rods and Jalopies of whom we have written about before. 
Click here, read about George then return to read this wonderful true story.
When you read George's story, be sure to click on each page for a screen size version.
I felt that this one truly fits on the pages of HR&J.  Great story George and Thank You!! 

Thanks again George!!!!

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.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday Harrison Ford or should I say Bob Falfa...

A little different twist to this blog, but I would be amiss if I didn't mention my favourite actor's 70th birthday, which is today July 14th, 2012.
Harrison Ford was Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and many more, but in my eyes he was the one and only Bob Falfa from "American Graffiti", driving his evil, wicked, mean, and nasty '55 Chevy.

Promo shot from American Graffiti

Bob Falfa's '55 chevy and John Milner's deuce!

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars

Indiana Jones
I hope to see Mr. Harrison Ford in many more epic films...........Happy 70th Harrison!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More Port Arthur and Fort William then's, now's and Tidbits....

This is one of my favourite photos from the early Port Arthur days.  It shows Port Arthur Motors used Car lot, a great Coca Cola painted ad sign and further down you can see the Paramount Theatre sign. The era would be early to mid 1940's in the winter and during the WWII years.

The same spot today across from the old Port Arthur Motors Garage and Show
Room which is now "Tony and Adams" restaurant and bar.
J. H. McLennan Lumber Co.
Below is a very old blotter(you remember blotters, don't you?....when you used a real ink straight pen, there would be excess ink still on the page and you would blot out the excess ink.....geez, I guess I'm really dating myself).....anyway a blotter from before dial phones when you would pick up your phone and tell the operator,"North 2157, please", and she would connect you without any dial....1930's.  The address for all of these J. H. McLennan Lumber ads is 80 North Cumberland Street
Operator assisted phone number here at "North 2157".
This is a dial phone era ad from a 1957
Fort William phone book.

Here's another ad from a 1962 phone book with DI(meaning
Diamond) in front of the number.  Diamond on your phone
is 34, hence the following year they dropped the DI and said
345-5453 in the phone books.

Well, here is a 1974 ad for the same address as McLennan Lumber at 80 N Cumberland street.  It's none other than the famed local Stan's Pizza.  The "Closed" building at the same address today still sports the "Stan's Pizza" sign.

Bobby Curtola
Here is a great photo of none other than Bobby Curtola being interviewed by CKPR 580 radio personality Larry Christie.  Larry was giving first spin to Bobby's new release "Hitchhiker"...coloured shot of the album below.
I hope you were one of the lucky ones who's seen Bobby locally and in person, backed up by our own Sensational Hot Rods rock and roll tribute band.  They always put on a great show together.  WOW...Bobby still entertaining today after all these years......Good Job Bobby!!

The Flamingo Club
There's always been a soft spot in my heart for the Flamingo Club Dine and Dance, as that's where our own wedding reception was held back in the late '60's.  It really was a nice place back then.....and before it was finally bought out and torn down had turned into a real dive......although a dive with great history.....The Flamingo was owned and operated by Scott Shields, who was a neighbour of my parents back in the Arthur Street days.

This is actually an enlarged matchbook cover from my own collection!

 The card to the left is a post card from about 1961 given to prospective clients to book for a wedding or any type of formal reception....It was quite an elegant place at one time.  The ad to the right shows none other the Neil Young and the Squires playing at The Flamingo Club - Tavern.  The address was 344 North May Street in Fort William.  The photo below shows the present day apartment building built on the same property.

Former Flamingo Club property at 344 N. May Street

 Talbot Street, Port Arthur
Always click on all the photos once or twice to enlarge them!!!
An Internet find shown below is a house on 344 Talbot Street in Port Arthur taken in the late 1910's or the early 1920's.  This is a then an now set showing the same house today which still has the same roof line after almost 100 years.

Canadian National Railway
This is my all time favourite photo of the Canadian National pier in Port Arthur which is of course today's Marina Park.........we've come a long way baby!!....since 1922.  The building at the bottom right is the CNR Baggage building which is still used today and extensively refurbished as the arts building.  The roof of the building at the bottom left is the old Canadian Pacific Railway station, long torn down to make room for present day "Water Street".

This is another similar post card photo to the one above showing the S. S. Noronic and
the S. S. Hamonic at the Port Arthur and CN Docks.
 Kam Motors again
Here's an advertising 1939 post card from Kam Motors during the period of time my father worked there before he ended up in the Canadian Army.  It shows what the Kam Motors body shop could do if you ended up in a collision.
How the Kam Motors building looks today!

East Victoria Avenue Fort William circa 1954
One more picture of our cruisin' strip and how well we remembered it in pre Victoriaville days....The St. Louis, The Embassy Grill, Bryans Limited, White's Drug Store, and many more...all you 50's and 60's cruisers will remember it all!!

Another Port Arthur Then and Now
 Both of these photos were taken on the south east corner of Park and Cumberland street in Port Arthur, Ontario...the first one is from the 1930's and the second one is from 2011.

Cumberland and Arthur(Red River Road) Port Arthur, Ontario
The following three photos are taken on the same corner of Cumberland and Arthur Street, now Red River Road.  The first and third photos are great local Street Car shots taken in the late 1930's and the middle one was taken in the late 1910's.  They all depict the busy street life back then near our here are thanks to Thunder Bay Face book.

The streetcar is coming down the hill toward Cumberland Street and just passing
St. Paul Street.

This shot shows the complete Tomlinson Block in about 1918 Showing the F.
W. Woolworth block and the W. T. McEachern Drug Store on the north/west

This final shot of this post is a wonderful one of tandem streetcars coming down Arthur Street and just passing St. Paul  Street.  Circa late 1930's.
Thanks to all those who donated photos for this post.  They are all wonderful shots of our early days here in the Canadian Lakehead(Fort William and Port Arthur) ....Thunder Bay.