Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Chippewa Park Bumper Car Trailer....1959 to on....

This is an unidentified young lady having a ton of fun in a 1959 Lusse Auto Skooter Bumper Car at the Chippewa Park Amusement Park in the 1960's here in Fort William, Ontario(Now Thunder Bay).  This was the first generation of Bumper Cars to be used at Chippewa Park.  In the late 1980's I had a chance to purchase one of these from the City.  A trend at the time was to convert one of these to a utility trailer to be used with a Street Rod or Hot, smitten by the idea, I went ahead to build one as a utility trailer for my 1933 Ford Victoria.  I finished my '33 Ford in about 1986 and owned it until about 1989.  I started the trailer in 1986 from a bit of a basket case bumper car.  It was a 1959 Sport Skooter which was the first one made of fiberglass and actually had used a 1958 Chevrolet Impala ornament on the hood.

The photo below shows pretty much how it looked when I picked it up and the photo on the right, I found on the Internet explaining a bit about the 1959 model.  On dis-assembly I found amusement ride tickets from an amusement park in New York I imagine Fort William(Chippewa Park) had purchased this ride from them initially. 
Click on all photos for enlargements!

The photos below show the bumper car disassembled.  You can see my '33 Ford in the background of the first picture here.  It is already painted yellow to match the car and reverse masked to do the flame work.  The second photo shows the light orange front with the flame tips painted blue and the flame arcs painted red.....the magic begins as the masking tape is removed

This next picture is the masking tape removed making all the flame work and all the colours coming together.
The final step in the paint work is a white outline around the flames, then a complete clear coat covering everything.  The white pin striping make the flames jump off the car.

Finally here is the complete assembled project.  I kept the trailer until I sold my '33 Ford.  I sold it to a guy from Minneapolis.  He came up to Duluth to meet half way for the pick up....and I never saw it again until an ebay listing in about 2004 in Philadelphia.


This is what the ebay listing looked like back then and I tried to call and email the guy without any I guess it ended up being sold.  I really don't want it back, but I would like to know where it if any of you out there have seen this...please email me...Thanks.

This is my '33 Ford Victoria that I built the trailer for.....I know where this car is today but not the trailer.
It's amazing what guys are doing with old bumper cars now, such as modifying them for use on the a search on the Internet under "Street Legal Bumper Cars" to see some of these.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thunder Bay Co-Operative, Port Arthur, Ontario....Thanks again Niel.

This is the second entry regarding The Thunder Bay Co-op Dairy originally on Queen Street in Port Arthur.  Be sure to click this link to see the last post and story then come back to read this one.
This 1934 photo below is one of the oldest and rarest photos ever taken of staff and management at Thunder Bay Co-op in incredible clarity, and it was my privilege once more thanks to Niel Maclam to use these photos on my blog site.  The photo is then broken down to smaller ones to note some of the detail.  Be sure to click on each one for enlargements.

This photo is Niels C. (Chris) Hanson beside his new Chevrolet taken in front of the Thunder Bay Co-op building in 1934.  This is Niel Maclam's grandfather, and to learn more about him and the dairy click on that link at the top of this post.
This is another breakdown shot of the large photo above noting the statement "You can whip our cream, but you cannot beat our milk."
Also note that is says Thunder Bay Co-operative Dairy Limited and the phone number was a mere 3 digits with an N in front, meaning north, 275.  In those days you would just pick up your phone(no dialing numbers at all) and say "North 275, please" to the operator, and she would connect you.
Most of the Old Co-op Building still exists today on Queen Street in Port Arthur(Thunder Bay).

Here are two photos of my own milk bottle collection showing the 3 sizes of bottles, quart, pint and half pint.  The photo on the right shows the reverse of the quart bottle saying Vi-Co Chocolate....a chocolate milk drink they also distributed, as well as ice cream and many other products

 Here is another breakdown of the above photo showing the horses and wagons lined up.
 One final breakdown showing the horses an a couple more of the early 1930's delivery trucks.

Here are two ice cream products that we all remember from the 1950's and 1960's both distributed by Thunder Bay Co-op.
This is an entry that was found on the website of the Wisconsin Historical Society that fits in with the photos above.

FINALLY, as I promised to Niel...I know this is an odd addition to the Co-op post, but wanted to show the other two photos Niel loaned me with an accompanying story......These are photos from Minnesota Dragways in Coon Rapids, Minnesota back in 1972.  I vividly remember spending a few weekends there watching the racing and enjoying the excitement....These photos loaned to HR&J by Niel are of his own car back then car.... the black(I believe 1969) Camaro taking on a couple of opponents back then.  
Niel's Camaro is a cloned SS Camaro which started out as a 350 4-speed.  That wasn't enough for Niel, so he installed a 427 for more ponies.
Niel still drag races to this day.

Thanks once more to Niel Maclam for the great photos and memories of Thunder Bay Co-op and the old Minnesota Dragways.

Niel taking on a 1955 Chevy with the old Minnesota Dragways tower.

Finally here is Niel blowing the doors off that '70 Nova.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Port Arthur, Ontario....More, Then and Now......

These photos show us what a bustling pair of communities we lived in during the first third of the 20th Century.  Most of the ornate, architectural wonders have long been torn down or were left to deteriorate on their own with no pride in what we once had as a city.  Modernization and urban renewal isn't always the answer.....we must maintain much of our heritage or the younger people will never understand how things once were.....or do they really care?....Time will tell.  Click on all photos for enlargements.
This is an excellent photo looking down what used to be Arthur Street in Port Arthur, Ontario before amalgamation.(Now Red River Road)  It was taken during the 1939 Canadian Royal Tour when the King and Queen came to Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario.

You can see the sign on the left in the photo which states Rudils Bar B-Q.  These are the front and back of a match book from that restaurant.  The Fort William Rudils was on Syndicate Ave., just north of Victoria Ave., on the east side...which would be just north of the present day Victoriaville and close to the new Court House presently being built.

This is what the above scene looks like today....pretty boring and run down!
This following photo is Brill Trolley #202 at the most northern end of the Port Arthur bus route in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The turn around was just before the hill going up to Hodder Ave., on the northern end of Cumberland Street.  As a kid, we used to ride the Brill's from way over in Fort William near the Car Barns on Walsh Street and with free transfers could do the round trip for 10 cents.  It was pretty cheap entertainment for a couple of youngsters in the 1950's.  I believe it was later extended to the end of Hodder Ave., as that area got built up.

The turn around shown above would be just to the left of this photo and before curbing was installed there.
The following two photos show the corner of Cumberland and Arthur Streets in Port Arthur, Ontario during the days when most of the buildings were architectural wonders.  The Canadian Bank of Commerce building in the foreground was an incredibly beautiful structure in those days...but not only did our city not care about this building, the Commerce Bank didn't either, so they tore it down to build an uninteresting modern structure.

Bulldoze it down....nobody will notice or care!!

Now its called the CIBC - and only a few noticeable interesting structures survive in the area.
The Central Candy Kitchen and Ice Cream Parlor was an extremely popular place during the beginning of the 2oth century.  It was located on Arthur Street(now Red River Road) in Port Arthur Ontario.  Check the prices of the Phosphates and Sodas on the price sheet in the middle....CLICK ON TO ENLARGE.  This is a menu from my own collection.

The address on the menu says 216 Arthur Street and the address on the ad says 220 Arthur Street.  They likely moved down the street after a huge fire on the corner of Arthur Street and St Paul Street during this time.  The small black and white photo above from the early part of the 29th century shows the Candy Kitchen on the far right of the picture. (Sorry, its not a great photo...but the photographer states that the Candy Kitchen is the building on the far right.)
This is the actual place the Central Candy Kitchen was located, just east of Kim Lee's restaurant.
The following are actual cheques written by the City Dray Line, one in 1948 and one in 1952.  By enlarging these cheques you can see the old graphic art in the middle as well as the old postage stamps of the time.

This is where City Dray Line was located....just to the north of Barb's Laundromat on Algoma Street in what was Port Arthur, Ontario.

This is a great photo of the Northern Hotel in Port Arthur just after it was built in 1885.  It later became the Mariaggi and after that, The Marina Inn.  In a website called Skyscrapers, it is stated that this building when torn down was probably the largest loss of an historic structure in the whole of Thunder Bay, and the other large loss was the historic Fort William city hall.
It was a beautiful building with balconies and hand rail as shown here.

In the early 1930's all the ornate pieces were removed, and another storey was added to the hotel when it became The Mariaggi.

This is an ink blotter from the same era as the above photo showing the prices of the rooms and noted that it housed Port Arthur's most popular restaurant, The Port Arthur Cafe, and also housed a bus depot called International Transit Lines.  Wow, a room with a bath $2.00.

This is the front and rear scan of a mineral bath tablet box that would have been given to patrons to enjoy a wonderful scented bath.  It's incredible that it has survived all these years.

This is a photo that I took myself in 1987 just before it was sadly
demolished to build the new Province of Ontario Building.
Here is a Christmas ad for the Mariaggi, advertising their Christmas Dinner that you could take your family to, instead of having to cook at home.(Sorry, not a great scan.)

Here is a colour photo taken about the same time as the one above.

Finally here is how that corner looks today.  The government building is a beautiful structure by today's standards, but consider how wonderful it would have been to see the restored Marina Inn standing today in all its splendour done like the Northern Hotel Photo above. 
Thanks go out to all those photographers who through the years have preserved the memory of all the wonderful old buildings here in the Thunder Bay.