Friday, August 22, 2014

UNIQUELY FORT WILLIAM, Ontario, Canada......more hot rods and jalopies later.....

I'm not in any way trying to snub Port Arthur-ites (you know...people from Port Arthur) with this post, however, as I lived in Fort William and rarely ventured over to Port Arthur until I had my own set of wheels, or unless I was swimming in Boulevard Lake with my parents, I spent a huge percentage of time in Fort William.  In this post I am trying a new idea in posting a number of collage photo groups which I have been working on for some time. I tried to find one of my posts that would represent the uniqueness of Fort William in it's heyday.  I chose this old HR&J post, re-entered here as it looked back in 2009.
To me Fort William had the best cruising strip anywhere, and it was duly taken away from us baby boomers when we needed it most....well, you get the idea.....

This next group shows the beauty and excitement of a Shriner's Parade on Miles Street in Fort William.  I can't recall where this photo originated but I am very grateful that it was brought back a ton of memories when it was a bustling down town district.  BE SURE TO CLICK ON ALL THE GROUPS OF PHOTOS ONCE THEN TWICE TO ENLARGE AND VIEW.  A big thank you to my friend Al Yahn for checking on addresses and places for me in his 1950's Henderson directory.
 I had done a blog post about Bourke's Drug store way back when, but I recently came across a very old Bourke's Drug envelope while looking through my own archives from the era before dial phones were here at the Lakehead (I love saying Lakehead).  Note, the phone number is 1400.....pick up your phone, wait for the operator, then say "South 1400 please", and she would plug you in to Bourke's.  That was "the" place where my parents purchased all their drug needs back all the details an data on these collage photos.

Fryer Studio was pretty much where everyone would get their photo finishing done.  In the 1940's if you wanted a colour photo, you would have to get a studio to hand colour or hand paint one.  Jessop's Pharmacy on Simpson St. is where my grandparents purchased all their drug needs, as they lived close to Jessop's address.....In those days it was pretty safe to head down Simpson Street....even at night to your corner store or drug store or even go to the movies at the Lake Theatre.

A recent yard sale find is this incredible brochure.  Read all the data as it was a very special event here in Fort William when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip came to open the St. Lawrence Seaway.  My great aunt Catherine Seppala was Mayor of Fort William at the time and as you can see by the seating arrangement at the bottom, she sat directly beside Queen Elizabeth.....Click twice to enlarge as stated above.

One of the most interesting finds this year was this Fort William travel brochure which I had never seen before.  The map and data about Fort William is below, and I kept it at a fairly large format so you could read about how we promoted our city back in the twice to enlarge.

I found this Dominion Motors newspaper clipping showing the 1952 Pontiac and decided to show these photos again of Dominion Motors on May Street.

As stated on the next photo collage, I have never seen the full size card for this we have a photo drawing of the original "Fort" William.

These are the things I love to collect...little tidbits of advertising from our city.  There was a lot of it back in the day and it is getting more difficult to find.  Note the phone number is MA 2-6463.  MA stood for MAyfair and is actually 62 on the old dial phones.  DI - DIamond and MU - MUtual were also used.  The clipping below is from a 1961 Fort William phone book.

HR&J hope you enjoyed this post which to me is UNIQUELY Fort William, Ontario.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Gentlemen Who "Started Their Engines" .....part 2

Here at Hot Rods and Jalopies, most of the vintage racing photos are of cars.  This time the concentration will be on drivers...some well known and many are unsung hero's of the day.....with a few other tidbits here and there.
For the original or "Part 1" of The gentlemen who started their engines you can click on this link then return to read this post.
....and sure to click once or twice on all these photo groups for enlargements, and enjoy the memories....hopefully some of you will remember these guys as I do.
The two little panorama photos above are taken along the back stretch at the CLE track...the top one showing a brill bus at the Port Arthur/Fort William turn around bus terminal.

Some  of these guys are quite well known even today, but many gave their time and effort to have fun and also to entertain the thousands who came out each Wednesday night to the best entertainment our cities ever had.....

In the top right photo as noted, you see a well known local driver Louis Tocheri with a very talented young man Lorne Hay (they made an incredible team)...who went on in later years to help Lyn McIntosh with his modified race car.

The top left photo of Tom Dow was taken in about 1953.  Tom along with Barry Kettering were instrumental in resurrecting jalopy racing in Murillo and at the CLE track in the very early 1950's

We lost many of our local racing celebrities through the years such as Barry Kettering shown here, however many are still with us today to detail numerous stories of our racing past such as Merv Dove shown above.

A few unsung hero's shown here!!

I took great joy in building the vintage modified car shown above using Cye Kehoe's and Norm Addley's old #12 with the help of many friends and acquaintances.  I hope to do a more lengthy story on the building of this car in the near future.

HR&J hope you enjoy these blog pages, and by joining and following blogger, you won't miss any posts as they come along.  Thanks for the continued support and interest....Dave

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.  The invoice on the right shows the Leith Street address....and interesting 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.  The next picture is of 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.

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.

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" !