Friday, June 13, 2014

The War Amps Key Tags and "Where are they Now".....

Here's a different start to a new post.  I have had this collection of key tags from way back when...some of the real old ones were given to me by friends.  Key tags began in 1946 when war amputees had a chance to work by producing them.  In 1972 this program began to serve year-round employment for disabled staff.  If a pair of keys are found with a War Amps tag, and giving them to either police or the postal service, it would allow the keys to get back to their rightful owners.  War Amps report that the key service has returned more than a million sets of lost keys.

This next segment is titled "Where are they now".  A friend of mine, Al Pomanti was gracious enough to give me these old receipts to look at...particularly for remembering how inexpensive things were back in the late 40's and early 50's, but mainly to find out what happened to these businesses and what is presently at their location.  Thanks Al!!
The first one is Art's Service on 906 Victoria Ave.  Most of these old service stations changed ownership many times during the peak "service station" era during the 1930's to the 1970's.  Art's Service in particular at this address was once Kettering Brothers Garage, Darling's Service and Ray Charles Texaco to name a few.  
 On the Art's invoice it says "Let us Marfak your car"....this was a Texaco lubrication trademark.  The photo below right is the present day address and is now Dave Knight Optical.  Be sure to click on all the photos and old invoices to enlarge them!

This next one was Kelly Coulter's Tire Sales and Service.  It's original address was 202 N. May St.  The address is presently Harmer's Quality Auto Service and is on the corner of Leith and May St.  This address was used by many a proprietor through the years and in particular "Grain Port Motors".  Grain Port Mtrs supplied the original Motor Meter(seen to the right) for the famed "King's Ford Special".  Click on this link to read about the "King's Special", then come back.  On the motor meter here you can read "Fort William and Port Arthur Grain Port Motors Ltd."  It was located at this same address as noted above, and later on Leith Street before the building became Kam Motors Limited.

Another multi-use facility through the years at 138 S. May St. was Walter Hewitt Motors which was a Willys Overland distributor as well as a service station.  The photo shows how the property looks today and was right next door to the present day Thunder Bay museum on the corner of May and Donald Sts.

Going into West Fort William we have an invoice from Ross Service Station which was located at 200 West Gore St.  The actual location with the vintage looking building still exists today as "Zimmy's".
Check out the could buy a new 600X16 tire for your old Ford for only $3.60 with your discount.

Next is an invoice from Budd's Tire and Service Station on the corner of May and Cummings St. in Fort William, Ontario.  Budd's was another location that had many proprietors through the years such as Wes and Jerry's Service and Bahlieda's Shell station.  This location is kitty corner to the Superior Bowling Alley.  Budd's actually sold a bicycle tire for only $1.57.  Today that property is totally vacant.  Actually two city blocks along here are totally vacant on the west side of May Street and have become quite and eyesore as of late.

The next two invoices and locations are very interesting.  The first one is "Canada Tire" from 1948 which was located at 119 S. May Street and the second is "Canadian Tire" from 1949 and was located at 126 N. May Street just a few blocks away from each other.  The stores ran simultaneously but used the words Canada at one store and Canadian at the other.
It looks as though this store supplied mostly Marine products and the other was an auto parts and accessories store.

Leaney Motors Ltd's location is another empty lot today on the corner of May and Bethune St.  Another multi-use property through the years.  The details below will show the it was Leaney Motors for only a short period of time later to become Jessiman Motors and also Kam Motors Depot.

To the right is a Leaney Motors Matchbook Cover showing the "New" Meteor....

148-150 North May Street as it looks today on May and Bethune Sts.
Thanks to my friend Al Yahn....he researched the Henderson directories for me to supply the following information on the property.  Leaney Motors was also on 236 Van Norman Street in Port Arthur Ont. as well as the May Street address.

The final photo here is how the property looked as Jessiman Motors in 1951 and beyond.  It's fun to research these things about our local history and provide all of you with informative data to tell your kids and grand-kids.  Thanks for watching...Dave
One Final Note:  It's fun to remember when a Service Station meant "SERVICE" !


Richard Cranston said...

I was intrigued by the photo of Kelly Coulter's Tire Service at 202 North May Street. I believe that the successor to that business was Ace Tire and Battery, owned by my grandfather John Porter. My dad, Stan Cranston worked there too, six days a week as I remember. At that time the building was L shaped and my grandparents lived in a suite above the store. Down in the basement in what was the old coal bin my grandfather had a "studio" where he did all the signs and posters for the business. Up against the building next door there was a large billboard with Ace Tire in large letters, with a card hand of the 4 aces and the slogan below, "You're ahead of the game with a good dealer". In the days prior to charge cards, he helped the needy advertising "a dollar down and a dollar a week" plan.
Thanks for the memories.

Richard Cranston said...

Here's a follow up to the Kelly Coulter story. The successor to that business was Ace Tire and Battery, owned by my grandfather John Porter. My dad, Stan Cranston worked there in sales, six days a week as I remember. At that time, the building was L shaped and my grandparents lived in a suite above the store. In the basement, in the old coal room, my grandfather designed and painted/lettered all of the signs and posters for the business. Against the wall of the building next door there was a large billboard with Ace Tire and Battery in big letters at the top.. Under that was a picture of a hand of cards with 4 aces and the slogan, "You're ahead of the game with a good dealer". At the side, "A dollar down and a dollar a week" declared the advent of the credit system.

Thanks for the memories.

Dave Cano said...

Richard, thanks so much for your additional information for this post...I did post both your comments as they were slightly different. HR&J always appreciations comments to add to any of the stories published here. D.

Alan Porter said...

I know this is 3 years down the road but a slight correction my Dad was also part owner (Alan Porter) and we lived upstairs for 1 or 2 years l was just a bay at the time but I still love the smell of rubber tires

Dave Cano said...

Alan, could you explain a little more what your dad (Alan Porter) was part owner of. Not sure of what business you were referring to....and yes, I worked for Spicer's Tire Service for a number of years and I know what you are saying about the smell of tires. :)