Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where was GRAIN PORT MOTORS and what is it's claim to fame here in Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario....

This is a bit of a follow-up to the last post due to the fact we are using old invoices to find addresses and data, and yes, you did see this first picture in the last post.  This photograph is of a Motor(Moto) Meter which was on a very famous local race car, The King's Ford Special......however this post is mostly about what this is, what it's for and the fact that a Ford Service Garage in the 1920's was a very important sponsor of the above noted race car....called Grain Port Motors (as noted right on this MotoMeter.)
This is a Boyce MotoMeter and you can read an ad here from 1912 telling you pretty much what it was, and what it was used for.  It was located on top of the radiator and protruded through the grill shell. I have never before seen and specific business name on a motor meter.  Read on to find out more, and click on all the photos and documents for enlargements.

This MotoMeter sat on the radiator of Mr. Frank Colosimo's King's Ford Special race car built by Art and Arnold King in the 1920's.  Without going into too much detail about the car on this post, you can read more about it by clicking on this link then return to read the rest. 
The following is a poster from one of the meets here at the fairgrounds in Fort William, Ontario, showing Frank as one of the racers.  One of the first known races here at the Lakehead cities was in 1914.  Frank however was pretty much unbeatable from 1925 until 1932.
In this picture to the right, you can see the MotoMeter above on the nose of the car.

Below is a picture of Al and Sandra Cronk with his restored King's Special.  Two years ago it was on display at the Thunder Bay Airport...there is still hope that this race car will eventually make it's home back here in our home town....also note the original MotoMeter still sits on the nose of the car.

This first advertisement (on the left) from Grain Port Motors was used around 1925 and predominantly shows the Fort William address as on the corner of May and Leith Street and the Port Arthur address says opposite the rink, which meant the Port Arthur Arena.  The May and Leith corner address changed to 113-119 Leith Street in about 1927, which would later become Kam Motors Limited, the Chev-Olds-Cadillac dealer.  The invoice on the right shows the Leith Street address....and interestingly enough they would adjust your brakes for only $1.75.....which actually was not an easy task on the old cars.
The next photo/newspaper clipping is from a December 1939 newspaper showing a very early shot of Kam Motors Limited then "formerly" Grain Port Motors.  Also note the Imperial sign on the top right of the clipping.  That station would have been on the north/west corner of Leith and Simpson Street, a used car lot now and formerly the Palace Confectionery.  The next picture is a Kam Motors Limited Brochure from the early 1950's.  Kam Motors is of course where my father spent 30 years of his life between 1937 and 1967 and in the later years became the body shop manager before he taught at the Gron Morgan trade school here in Thunder Bay.

This is how the original Grain Port Motors/Kam Motors looked a couple of years ago.

 ......and here on the corner of Leith and Simpson Street is a Brill Trolly bus in front of the old Palace Confectionery where I used to buy all my hot rod magazines as a young man.  The smaller picture below is how that corner looked earlier this year and the final picture taken just a few weeks ago shows that corner completely empty now, (down go all those Simpson Street buildings) but there in the background on Leith St. is the old Grain Port Motors/Kam Motors building still in use today.

The invoice below is one from the Grain Port Motors Port Arthur Garage in 1934.  It was situated pretty much across the street from the old Port Arthur Arena.  The Port Arthur Arena property now houses the Safeway Store on Court Street.  The last photo to the right shows you exactly what is at 79 N. Court St. where the garage was located back in 1934.  Click once or twice to enlarge.

This photo is a nice addition to this post thanks to Dave Howarth...which brings together the Invoice above and the place of business.

It is very interesting to see the changes in our own home town after so many years.  There have been many more buildings and landmarks torn down (some historic) just in the last few years and without this documentation the history would be lost forever....HR&J hope you enjoyed this one!! ...and thanks to the Scalzo collection for the wonderful Brill Bus photo above.

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