Monday, July 29, 2013

More Dave Ross Photos.....the CLE.....some Then and Now's and other interesting tidbits....

To make everyone happy - I try to combine local history with either cars or local racing, but many times I just do posts on interesting local history, and this post is no exception.

With the coming of Canadian Lakehead Exhibition fair week is another group of Dave Ross' photos(click on all to enlarge), the first one taken from the top of the then CLE Grandstand building.  The midway was on the north side of the river then accessible by a walking bridge that you can see a bit of at the far left.  Further in the distance is Sears and the then Intercity Plaza.  To the right is Fort William Road and of course bottom right is the old CLE dirt track 4th and last corner heading towards the finish line.  The "edited for" grassy section at the center bottom and the track area, is the all paved northern parking lot for Silver City today.  Be sure to click on this link showing more of Dave's photos and the other ones taken from the grandstand, then return.

To read all you ever needed to know about CKPR Radio - go to Bud Riley's site at the following link
Jack Masters and George Jeffrey taken in the hallway below the grandstand building at the CLE in the early 1960's.  Jack was a broadcaster for CKPR radio and television then, later to become Mayor of Thunder Bay for 2 terms from 1985 until 1991.  Jack was also a Member of Parliament (Thunder Bay/Nipigon) from 1980 until 1984.
​New Note : "George Jeffrey was CKPR, manager and sales manager and was one of the founders of the station."
The Thunder Bay Crippled Children's Centre began in 1961 and in 1983 was renamed The George Jeffrey Children's Treatment Centre in honour of its former Chairman of the Board (George Jeffrey) who was also director for many years for his dedication to children with disabilities.
The following is a new tidbit about the above photo from Dave R.
"The year would be 1961, the same year I took the coloured slides.....when CKPR had an exhibit under the grandstand.
CKPR was giving out 78 records that were painted with gold paint to anybody walking by.
They also had a place nearby or across the hall where people could break 
the 78 records with baseballs...   CKPR was called "Golden Radio"....." 

The above 1950's photo is a 1955 Ford owned by the Ross family and parked in front of their home on Summit Ave. in Port Arthur.
....a correction is needed here - click on comments at the bottom of this post to read the details.  This is a 1955 Meteor Niagara, not a Ford!
Across the street is an old Ford parked in front of  a nice cape cod style home which belonged to R. J. Prettie.  Mr.  Prettie ran Northern Wood Preservers long before it was sold to Buchanan Lumber.

This is the former Ross home on Summit Ave.....the '55 Ford above was parked
directly in front of this home.

The above photo is how the R. J. Prettie home looks today on Summit Ave.  The photo below is Northern Wood Preservers taken in the 1960's, Later to become Buchanan Lumber.


This is an early 1960's photo of North Cumberland street at Wolseley Street and below is the present day....very uninteresting photo.  Check out the Brill Bus trolley overhead lines and the wonderful signage at the Shell station and on the billboard.

Here is a ship coming between the CPR and CNR docks back in the 1940's.  The now picture on the right is exactly how the area looks today.  Be sure to click on all the photos once or twice for enlargements.

The next three photos show the same area above taken from the lake towards downtown Port Arthur.  The Prince Arthur Hotel is shown vividly on the right (part red brick/part grey building).  This postcard looks to be from the 1930's.

This last photo shows how the scene looks today, with the old station on the left, the baggage building on the right and the Prince Arthur Hotel in the background with the new modern government building and a portion of the new Marina roadway.

The photo on the right shows a small steamer in the distance heading to the area near the lighthouse(It may be the same ship shown in a photo above coming between the CNR and CPR dock at the marina. 
I have tried to locate this exact spot along the shoreline without any luck but could possibly be Parry's Marine as Dave Ross noted.
The next two photos are of the Current River.  The first one is taken just below the Black Bay bridge showing all the logs that were sent through the river system and on into Lake Superior to be sorted into booms then on to Northern Wood Preservers.  The second photo was taken just below the Current River Dam.  Both these photos were taken in the 1930's
Not too clear, but just below Black Bay bridge.

Taken from the Cumberland St. bridge below the Current River Dam.

Finally, two more interesting photographs.
Cumberland and Arthur Street (now Red River Road)

The was a steam train tour from back in the 1920's to Kakabeka Falls, Ontario approximately 18 miles from Fort William and Port Arthur.  If you look closely and enlarge the photo, you should only see 2 men.  This whole group is standing way to close to the gorge.  For visitors to the local area Kakabeka Falls is dubbed the Niagara of the North.
Many thanks to Dave Ross for the use of the photos of Fort William and Port Arthur's colourful history. (now Thunder Bay, Ontario)  A big thank you to all those who took these wonderful photos back in the days.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition's "Boys of Summer" in the 1950's and early 1960's....

The taste of dirt, exhaust fumes and the smoking tires constantly remind me of the wonderful memories of the old CLE racetrack at our fairgrounds in Fort William, Ontario.  Even though I spent a few years racing in the late 1960's at Riverview Raceways, my childhood memories always bring me back to the times spent at the CLE.  Here are a few more nostalgic records of those times......
This next group of photos shows how our "boys of summer" go beyond the call of duty to actually fight a fire that developed in the lower area of the on all photos to enlarge them and read the clippings.

Above right in the forefront is Ross "Pappy" Fowler former driver
and current flagman hauling a fire hose.

This blog site names a number of drivers and pit crew from the CLE days that were most notable of the times, and in many instances we haven't added many of the other names and faces that were no less important than the so called more famous.  I have a number of photos that have been loaned to HR&J with names and faces that you may not recognize but still made a huge impact on racing here in the Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur.  Here are some of them.
In the rear is M. Whittingham, Bill Malcolm, and unknown.  In the front with the helmet is Don Deakin and beside him is Ted Charleton.  The lettering on the right reads in full "Look what we did to this car".  Tongue in cheek of course.

 These two early 1960's photos are of #11 All Bishop working on his car.

Noted in prior blog posts were of course the importance of sponsorship, as without the sponsors there would have never been any racing in those days.  North Cumberland Service was no exception, paying for advertising for the races, and sponsoring cars .  Many thanks to Al Whittingham and his son Morris.

These photos show their old Ford North Star Oil service truck and offering their service at the Championship races held at the CLE.

North Cumberland Service was at 368 North Cumberland Street, the present day site of Cordone Brothers used car lot.
Here is a typical day-after race day newspaper clipping.  Here we see Clyde Ditmars' checkerboard jalopy rolling over in a collision with Ernie Pauluk.  In the first photo, you can hardly spot Ernie's car, but in the closeup below it can be seen.

This next photo is about the era where they started doing the cut down or channeled cars.  This is Lorne Morin's cut down coupe with their crew behind including R. Couture, R. Donyluk and D. Couture.  Merv Dove after an accident with his #31 car was gracious enough to loan Lorne his new 292 Ford engine and his Lincoln that's true sportsmanship!

Here we have a shot of Jerry Donyluk crashed into the Grandstand
 Ray Shirley's Plymouth Coupe #5

This is one of Fort William's Murray Simmons red, yellow and black striped car taken at Russ Laursen's shop in Superior Wisconsin.
Our "Boys of Summer" constantly put their lives on the line for the entertainment of many, but they also had hearts of gold as well as noted in this June 1954 news clipping. 
The photo on the right is Bill Machinski #46.  For some of the regular races and especially for the Championship races the CLE added more bleachers to the front area of the grandstand as shown here.  It was a miracle that anyone wasn't killed or seriously injured, as these seats were very close to the track with very little protection for the spectator.
Bill Machinski #46

Many drivers were maimed for life at the old CLE track and Wes Inkster was no exception.  He was seriously injured back in the 1950's in this car.  Many of the advertisers, other driver's and their families and fans alike came to Wes' aid while he recuperated.  After some time and with the help of many, he was able to return to his service station and continue on with his life.

As noted above, a benefit show was held at the Fort William Gardens on Aug 22, 1957 in aid of the Wes Inkster fund, featuring local artists such as Myrna Lorrie, Johnny and Harry Siczkar, Roy Coran and the Colosimo accordion group.
Junior (Fran) Speer continued to race Wes's car to the joy of many at the old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track.