Sunday, July 2, 2017

Broad Perspectives......Then's, Now's and More History From Our Home Towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario....

Top photo #24 -?, #88 Albert Massaro, #87 Tony Massaro, #10 Don Marsh.......

We love to confront our broad perspective on history by seeing what was and of course what is now.  As historians we enjoy placing pictures over pictures to visualize how it was.  This one of the CLE Coliseum building taken in about 1957 is a perfect example along side the same Coliseum building we can still see on a daily basis if you're so inclined....you can actually go and stand on the same spot today where Albert Massaro's #88 car was.
Double click on
photos to enlarge.








The next photo is a little different....It is John Panvica driving the #83 1952 Studebaker....now John wanted this pretty ugly car mainly because it had a V8 engine 3 years before General Motors started putting them in their 1955 Chevys.
John didn't care what his car looked like.  It was still faster than your typical flathead Ford and faster also because the Studebaker was only one year old.  John had purchased a wrecked newer car and did do pretty well that year, and oh, you can see the Coliseum building behind the fence too.  How his car might have once looked.....is the nice new 1952 Studebaker 4 door sedan below.



The program line-up for 1953 below shows a picture of John and also shows him listed in the roster squared in blue.
A note here is that Jessiman Motors at that time was located on the South/West corner of May and Bethune Street where the new Tim Horton's is today.  Many of you will well remember the names on this stock car jockeys list from 1953.
                                                                             
This is what the SW corner of May & Bethune looked like before the new Tim's was built.....Jessiman Motors was right on this spot.    










Just as all those CLE racers did, many of us young racing enthusiasts had to find some great race car  material when we dug in our heels at Riverview Raceways.  Mind you, the old jalopies at the CLE could very well have been some very cool hot rods today.  Now all these years later we realized that we destroyed some pretty cool cars too.  The nice Teal car top left is a 1956 Pontiac 2-door sedan....the race car of the same vintage is my own that I raced at Riverview in 1968.  I had actually destroyed 4 old Pontiacs, 2 1955's and 2 1956's in total until I retired from racing.  The bottom photo in the left group photo is the location the race car picture was taken, near the corner of Brock and Frederica Street where I lived at the time.
The top of the two photo collage on the right is an advertisement for Bear Safety Service located at 519 E. Brock St.  Sam and Aldo were incredible front end men, and I brought many a vehicle there for a flawless front end alignment.  The building still exists today and near the top left of the bottom photo you can make out a bit of the original sign down at the southern end of Syndicate Ave.























Here's a nice photo of the Uncle Franks's Supper Club sign just before the building and sign were being readied for a total makeover.  My friend and HR&J proof reader Al Yahn and I decided that we should take a picture of our cars in front of the sign before it was gone forever....we're so glad we did.
 

 Uncle Franks was a pillar of the community for many years, and it was very nice to see someone purchase the old building and re-purpose it as another already well known eating establishment, known as Beaux Daddy's Grill House.
It's nice to see that the building was saved from the wrecking ball.
Kudos to Beaux Daddy's.....

Red Top Cabs was located on the north/east corner of Leith and Simpson Street as noted on the business card in the following collage.  I've had the metal flake decal from quite some time...and can't remember where it came from or actually how old it is.  It is quite large and likely would have been used on the doors of the cabs.


The following group of photos are such a part of my younger years.  We lived on Arthur St., about half a block east of Vicker's Park.  The CNR steam trains would go right down Arthur St. from a spur off the main line, and right past the house where I lived, then make a slow turn to the north starting at Marks St. towards the CNR station just before the Fort William Gardens....heading right down Vicker's St and re-joining the main line at the northern end.  The picture is taken just east of Marks St......the little grain elevator in the background is a Davidson Elevator (There were a few small Davidson's around the Lakehead including one on Hardisty St. which is now Boles Feed).  To put this all in perspective the photo below shows Arthur Square on the corner of  Marks and Arthur St. which is the exact location of the little Davidson Elevator.....there were many other small businesses in the area as well.

Continuing on with my neighborhood, I was quite a Roy Rogers fanatic as you can see.  At this young age and as I stood in the back yard of our brand new house on Arthur St. there was nothing to be seen between Franklin and Selkirk....everyone was just starting to do their landscaping, garage building etc.























Here is our house, how it looked in about 1954....my kid sister is leaning out the window as I stood on the train tracks across the street and took this picture.  Try to stand on Arthur St. on this spot today and you'd be run over.  My dad's mint refurbished wreck 1952 Chevrolet midnight blue, parked in front of our home.  If you go by there today, nothing much of the house has changed.


In the last two pictures taken from our doorstep facing north, you can see the train tracks across the street as well as a good view of the south side of St. Joseph's Boarding School as it was called then.  In the distance in the black and white photo to the right was St. Patrick's high school where I went for 3 more years after Selkirk High and where I met my future wife.
With my dad being the body shop manager of Kam Motors, he was able to fix a few wrecks for himself, but the '57 and '58 Chevrolet's you see below were actually company cars....the managers would get a new car to drive in the day...soon to end when the 1960's came along.  Oh, by the way, that's my little sister Daryle sitting on the hood of the '57.....she wasn't quite 5 years old.

Hope you enjoyed this new post....
Dave

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