Looking Down at Brockville – September 1933

From high on the steeple of First Presbyterian Church

William St at Church St.

This is one of a set of photographs taken by a local professional photographer (no identification), one day on September 1933, each time looking in a different direction from the highest point on the top of the Presbyterian Church. These four aerial photos were put in an album of local pictures by Rida Barker in the 1930s. The album is now in the possession of Judith Caldwell of Prescott. Thanks to Judith for her contributions to this posting.


View 1


Looking South-west


Time has wrought many changes in downtown Brockville which shows in this photograph. Looking westward, Buell Street is at the bottom, with George St. in the middle and Church street on the far left side. Most of the building shown on the west side of Buell St. have been replaced by the Post Office.



Same View as above, but with identification notes added.



View 2


Looking South-east


This view is very interesting, as it shows Court House Ave. in the foreground. You can see the Gen. Isaac Brock monument on the grass of Court House Green. Further down is the John H. Fulford Memorial Fountain which was erected in 1916, at the time that the grassed boulevard and brick paving was put in place on the previously wide, dirt avenue. In the background is the newly built Hotel Manitonna (now demolished and the site of the Wedgewood Retirement Resort) and the Brockville City Hall. On the east side of Court House Ave. was located the impressive Comstock Building (now demolished) which stood here for over 70 years.


View 3


Looking East

This is one of the most revealing picture of the roof top of the Brockville Court House in the foreground, and then the Leeds & Grenville County Jail. Most of the law-abiding public has never seen the interior of the Jail Yard on the left. The main high roof over the old court room was topped by the old bell tower (now demolished) and the original “Sally Grant” Stature of Justice (now replaced). In the background is the roof and steeple of Wall Street United Church.


View 4


Looking North


The last picture in this set was directed due north and contains an earlier view of the Canadian National Railway main line through Brockville. The road on the right side is William Street which was not the well-used road it is now because it didn’t lead much above Front Ave. One of the smaller steeples of the First Presbyterian Church is very evident in this view.


First Presbyterian Church, photo taken about 1896


One can only guess how the unknown photographer of these aerial photographs would have climbed the inside of the church steeple and positioned his camera for each shot.

This photograph of the Presbyterian Church, ca.1896, is valuable in its own right. Notice the earlier boundary chain fence, entrance posts, and gates which surrounded Court House Green in the 1890s.



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  • Rebecca Coville  On 1 March 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I moved to Brockville in 1948 as a child, grew up there, married and had my children there. In 1981 I moved from Brockville and I now love receiving news and the old pics of my old home town.

    Thank you so much,
    Rebecca Coville

  • Bonnie Patrick  On 20 April 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I wondered if you have heard of the Ottawa House Hotel in Brockville. Joseph and John Muldoon were hotel keepers in 1901 Brockville South Ward and a relative told me that they owned the hotel.

    The story is that John was kicked out of Brockville because he drank too much. One of his granddaughters said that her grandmother remembers the British red coats coming to the tavern! This may only be heresay though.

    Any help on this would be appreciated. I am presently writing a book about John Patrick from New Dublin – he had three wives and 21 children. Joseph married Mary Muldoon – a sister-in-law of David Patrick, one of the “21”.

    Thanks for any help!
    Bonnie Patrick
    Elora, Ontario

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