Category Archives: Buildings

Rare and perhaps unpublished King St. Views

This posting is devoted to a few terrific photographs that very few people may have seen before. They have turned up at various times and I have been fortunate enough to have been able to copy them for use sometime. Perhaps this is a good time.

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ca. 1868

King St W, Brockville, ON - ca1868

One of the earliest street scenes taken in Brockville, perhaps in the late 1860s.   The photographer was Alexander C. McIntyre, who for may years was the pre-eminent photographer in Brockville.   His “International Gallery” was located at the corner of King St. and Market St.   This shot is looking east from the Court House Ave. intersection.   The photographer’s studio was located on the second and third floor of the Manuel-Fullerton Building (built about 1845), now the location of the National Rental-Purchase Centre at 2 King St. W.   Patients who visit Dr. John Arnott have sat in the area where A.C. McIntyre had his studio and gallery.

This photograph has captured all the busy activity of Brockville’s main street, showing shoppers and wagons.   The dirt road, a mud obstacle during the rainy season is skirted by wooden sidewalks and lighted by gas lamps, both commonplace features of any town.   Some of the visible buildings on both sides of the street might be found today.   Most notable is the bell tower of Victoria Hall, now the home of our City Hall.   The pictograph sign of the big black boot marks the location of the boot and shoe store of Robert Lipsett at 124 Main St.

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ca. 1865

Willson-House-1860s

From the same period, but giving a closer view of the intersection of King & Market Square.   The new feature of this end of town was the Victoria Hall, built in the years 1862-64, to the designs of Kingston architect, Henry H. Horsey.   In the centre of the picture is the Willson House hotel ,which was first opened in November 1849 by William H. Willson.   Between 1868 and 1873 the hotel as known as the Campbell House while owned by John L. Campbell who was previously a hotelkeeper in Prescott.   Many people will remember this building as the Revere Hotel, until it suffered a mysterious and disastrous fire on November 6, 1974.   The smaller stone buildings on the right were built probably in the 1820s and ’30s, but were replaced over 80 years ago.

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ca. 1890

King St. W north side ca1886

Several years had passed since the previous photographs were taken. Here is the same block on the north side of King St. W. on a summer day (note the awnings and noon time shadows) in the 1890s.   The new granolithic sidewalks are now constructed of modern concrete and the tall wooden poles have arrived on the main street to carry the latest in modern electrical wiring.   The first impressive building on the left is located exactly where the former Woolworth’s Store is now located.   This was the Merrill Building built in the 188os for Augustus H. Merrill, who operated a book and job printing business upstairs.   From there eastward, most of these buildings are still existing, with the exception of today’s one-storey gift emporium Dream Weaver, and the third floor addition on the Manuel-Fullerton Building. The first intersection, which is today’s Victoria Ave. was previously known as Market St. The first sloping-roofed building pictured in the middle was built for liquor merchant, George K. Houston, about 1869, and now houses Boboli Café. The sign on the next building indicates the dry goods business of O’Donahoe Bros.

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ca. 1900

King St. north side 1890s

The same block was photographed about 10 years later during the winter. Look at the evidence for this: the snow on the road, horses pulling sleighs, and pig and chicken carcasses hanging and laying outdoors. The first store, in the Merrill Building, is that of Heman Shepherd, a dealer in dry goods. Next door was the butcher business of Thomas Burns. Then, by noting their sign, Alexander and William G. Baird have taken over the dry goods business previously carried on by the O’Donahoe Brothers.

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May 25, 1892

Edwin P. Comstock Funeral May 25. 1892

This photograph was taken on the day of Edwin P. Comstock’s funeral and shows the south side of King St. W. as it looked in 1892.   Edwin was the son and heir of William H. Comstock, one of Brockville’s patent medicine business owners, and died when only 26 years old, while in the midst of a promising career. In the far background, beyond Victoria Hall, you can see the 3-storey round corner brick Weatherhead Building. On this side of the Revere House hotel are the oldest small stores for many years owned by the Richards family. The stripped barber pole is bound to get attention as are the over-signage on George E. McGlade’s CPR Telegraph and steamboat ticket office. The last store visible on the right is that of tobacconist Frank “Ike” Ritchie, who for some reason hung more than one sign with the spelling “Ritchey” or “Ritchey’s”.

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Railway Photographs taken in Brockville – Part 2

The Brockville & Ottawa Railway

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ca.1865

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This early photograph shows the ‘Renfrew’, one of eleven wood-burning locomotives operated by the Brockville & Ottawa Railway in the 1860s.

 It is standing in front of the first B&O depot built ca.1860, and located on the Brockville waterfront, south of the Brockville Railway Tunnel.

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The Grand Trunk Railway

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ca.1858

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This rare photograph was taken, I believe, in the first years of the operation of the Grand Trunk Railway. It shows the formal garden planted at the new Brockville GTR station grounds. This station was located on the south side of the new line from Montreal to Toronto. The line was completed as far as Brockville in 1855.

In the background you can see two wood-burning locomotives and tenders. The platform is lined with men, women and children and in the garden are two men and two women. The corner of the passenger station shows on the left of this picture and one of the freight offices is in the right background.

A new “Union Station” was built a few years later in 1872 on the north side of the main line GTR tracks to serve passengers of both the Brockville & Ottawa Railway and the Grand Trunk.

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The Railway from Brockville to Westport

(commonly called the B&W)

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ca.1895

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One of the steam engines being run by the Brockville, Westport and Sault Ste. Marie Railway. It is located in this photo at the Brockville waterfront wharf of the CPR near the mouth of Buell’s Creek.

The B&W shared a portion of the west end loop which ran from the station above to the St. Lawrence River where the trans-shipment of passengers and freight was possible.

Photograph from the collection of Library and Archives Canada – PA 164368

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ca. 1910

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This is one of the B&W trains waiting at the Brockville Station House or Depot of the Brockville, Westport & North-Western Railway, which was located on the south side of Church St., just west of Buell’s Creek.

The wood-frame building, pictured here behind the train, was built in 1890. It was 64 feet long x 38 ft. wide and contained a waiting room, washrooms, agent’s room, brick vault, band baggage and freight rooms on the ground floor. There were six offices for staff on the second floor. The third floor was the caretakers apartment.

Just east of this point, the B&W shared part of the loop line with the Canadian Pacific Railway to travel a short distance to the shore of the St. Lawrence River, where passengers and freight could meet some of the river steam ships.

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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.

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View 1

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Looking South-west

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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.

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Same View as above, but with identification notes added.

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View 2

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Looking South-east

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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.

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View 3

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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.

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View 4

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Looking North

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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.

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First Presbyterian Church, photo taken about 1896

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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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Brockville Post Cards from the Past

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Aerial View of Brockville in the 1960s.

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S.S. Brockville, passing through the Brockville Narrows at Swiftwaters.

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The new Brockville Public Library, funded by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, in about 1910.

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King Street, looking east, from Market Sq. in the 1930s.

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The Brockville Rowing Club, 21 Water St. E. in the 1890s, during one of the Rowing Regattas.

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King St. E., looking west in the 1920s.

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The Revere Hotel, 7-13 King St. W. at Market Sq. in the 1950s.

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Aerial View of the Brockville Collegiate Institute and the Brockville General Hospital in the 1960s.

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George T. Fulford s yacht, Magedoma, moored at his dock, off the shore at his home, Fulford Place.

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Idlewilde, the home of John A. Derbyshire on the shore west of downtown Brockville, about 1910.

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Brockville Fire Department Pictures

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All the photographs in this post are from the vast collection of Fire Memorabilia amassed by the late Mervyn McKay.

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Members of the Brockville Hook and Ladder Co. in 1899.

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The Fire Department Hose Reel Team about 1915

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Running the Hose Reel Along King St. E. near Murray St.

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Brockville Fire Department in 1919.   George Gillespie, Chief (front centre), Fred Mathews, Deputy-Chief (front right)

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Fred Mathews, Fire Chief 1920-23

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In this photograph taken in 1920, the Hook & Ladder wagon, the old hose wagon, and the new Republic truck is posed in front of the Perth Street Fire Hall, built in 1910 at the corner of James St. W.

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Fire Chief John Hartley and his fire crew in 1930

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26 November 1949 – Smart’s Block Fire

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At the height of the Smart’s Block fire

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The firemen try to contain the blaze on the evening of November 26, 1949.

 

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Fire Chief Charles J. Shorey, and Deputy-Chief Edward “Bud”Lacasse, Deputy Fire Chief  assess the damage in the morning, while Lieut. Clarence McKay, in the background, trains a hose on a remaining hot spot.

 

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The next morning, the aftermath of one of Brockville’s most extensive main street fires.

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1960s

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John F. Marshall, Lieutenant;  Edward “Bud” Lacasse, Deputy Fire Chief; and Arthur C. Keetch, driver, posed on the 1934 Bickle Quad Fire Truck.

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A Long View of the Town of Brockville in 1857

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1857

One day in the summer of 1857, an unknown photographer set out to take a panoramic photograph of the Town of Brockville. He climbed to the highest point of George and Isabella Easton’s new house, also known as Beauvoir, just east of North Augusta Road (now at 41 Cochrane Dr.). We have attempted to point out a few of the buildings which can be identified.

Source: The Brockville Museum

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Breakwall Construction on Blockhouse Island

ca. 1910


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The two photographs you see here were taken about the same time. The views are easy enough to identify, but, otherwise, the date is currently unknown. Each picture has a gentleman in a dark overcoat. The form work for holding the concrete is still in place on part of the new wall but at different stages of completion.



[click on any photograph to enlarge it]


breakwall-blockhouse-island-ca1910-looking-west

Aside from the details in the foreground, this photograph is interesting for the details in the background. The majority of the dark buildings would be the complex known as the James Smart Manufacturing Company. Also visible about the middle is a yacht that looks like the “Magedoma” owned by the Fulford Family.


Source: These photographs turned up as a couple of small snapshots in a box of old pictures in the house at 35 Garden St and 24 Pine St. for many years the home of the late Dr. Jack W. McDougall and his wife Edna. This was also the home of physician Dr. Charles M.B. Cornell and afterwards of his daughter Geraldine and son-in-law Dr. Hezekiah A. Clark who was a dentist and a provincial Member of Parliament. Thanks again to the McDougall family for the use of these pictures.

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Brockville’s Main Downtown Intersection – King and Court House

King Street West & Court House Ave. [ or Broad St.]

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[click on any photograph to enlarge it]

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The Dunham Block

47-51 King St. W. [south side] at Broad St.

built 1892-93

photo taken about 1895

Tenants in 1903:

Robert Wright & Co., dry goods,   Canada Life Assurance Co.,   H.A. Stewart, barrister,   C.C. Fulford, barrister,   London Life Insurance Co.,   Bell Telephone Co. of Canada Ltd.,   The Capsuloid Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.,   William Shearer, district manager, North American Life Assurance Co.,   Robert Craig, hats and furs,   and Mrs. Eliza Davies (wid. Ransom).

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The Jones-Harding Building

41-45 King St. W [south side] at Broad St.

built 1832, but extensively renovated in 1904

photo taken in the 1950s

Tenants at that time:

Carrick’s English China Shop,    Bank of Nova Scotia,  Public School Inspector’s Office,   Leeds Advertising Specialties,   London Life Insurance Co.,   and Mrs. Mabel Taylor.

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The Fulford Block

54, 56 King St. W. and 2, 4 Court House Ave.

originally built 1889 – Gutted by fire in 1916 & then rebuilt.

photo taken about 1895

Tenants in 1903:

H.B. Wright & Co., confectioners,   F.R. Curry, druggist,   S.J. Kilpatrick, general agent, Mutual Life Assurance Co. of Canada,   Hutcheson & Fisher, barristers,   J. Albert Page, barrister,   Dr. Williams Medicine Co,   G.T. Fulford & Co.,   W.F. Dever & Co., stock brokers,   Elmer W. Jones, barrister,   Willis Coates, wholesale jeweller,   Brockville Business College,   William J.R. Gill, caretaker,   The Metropolitan Bank,   McNaughton & Shirreff, insurance,   Grand Trunk Ticket Office,   GNW Telegraph Co.,   and the Canadian Express Co.

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The Bank of Toronto

48-52 King St. W. [north side] and 3 Court house Ave.

built ca.1921-22

photo taken about 1925

Tenants in 1928:

Bank of Toronto,   Parish & Fitzpatrick, barristers,   Woodrow & Mallory, dentists.

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View of King St. W. [looking westerly]

photo taken about 1915

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View up Court House Ave [looking north from King St.]

photo taken about 1905 during the May Day Parade

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Court House Ave. [looking north from King St.]

photo taken in 1928

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King St. W. [looking easterly]

photo taken about 1936

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[click on any photograph to enlarge it]

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