Attendees (on and off camera):
Clark Bernat: Welcome to the - What do we call these? Canada 150 library...
Carrie Bosco: Oral histories.
Clark: Oral history project! Uh, but thanks for coming. Basically the purpose of this project was the library approached us here at the Museum's to work with them - um, the Museums have done a couple oral history projects in the past, and they wanted to for lack of better term … add depth to the photographic collection that they already had so an opportunity to do a Canada 150 project and we said it was a great way for us to sort of start work with them on this type of project. And really what this is, is, that you know the library has as all of you here know the library has a huge photographic collection and has a great memory of what this community looked like and was um, and you know given this one as an example we could research who owned it when they owned it and where but what we wanted to get out of this project was the flavour of this picture or the buildings or the people that worked there uh, what was it like going down there I don't think any of you actually viewed this building but that's another story. But you know when we talk about these - hey how you doing come on in join us … So what we're looking for is the flavour of these pictures flavour of the buildings flavour of the community who worked at these places who lived there who did you talk to what did you buy in different stores and really provide us some depth and to what the collection of what it is at the library Carrie might go into a bit but let me introduce Carrie Bosco who is with the library so maybe she'll feel and what I didn't say there.
Carrie: Welcome! Um, Clark and Suzanne and Sarah from the museum have been graciously helping us facilitate these oral history programs. So, thank you for coming! We are going to concentrate today on this exact area the Main and Ferry area. And since I sent Clark some photos we've been continuously trying to get various building owners to accept the poster. So we just got Morrison Son Funeral Home Event Centre, which used to be the old Drummond Library uh, we just got them to agree to put that poster in which is kind of interesting because this is a merge of two photos, So I'll put them at the back so on your way out and also the Main Street Fire Hall which is really an interesting picture with the horse and buggy fire crew (Iaughter) from 1920 so it was really interesting to see how they got around with the fire trucks in those days! So this is again a variety store right now it's turned into a variety store and we just got them to accept as well and interestingly enough in all of these projects people have said I have another photo for you which is really kind of cool because we've acquired a few extra permissions of photos for the website so please do check out the website and I'm going to stop talking because we need to get going on our pictures here. Ok?
Clark: Ya, and actually, don’t put those back, we’ll work those in. So, actually the bigger picture as Carrie was mentioning these are up. This size we’ve enlarged it. and we have one of the back of the museum as well for the Victoria fountain they have been going up at businesses around end stores around the neighborhoods we focused on the Main and Ferry downtown Chippawa and Stamford area and uh, they've been putting these up to sort of add again characters and flavours Of the area so I'll come back to that one later because it ties in well with the last one so I'm not supposed to talk which isn't very good for people in the room especially my staff members know that that's not easy for me this is about people who have experienced this community have been in this community to talk about what they know about the neighborhood what they knew about the neighbors the building's the people who work there the people who live there in those types of things so I'm just going to get started I'm going to go through a few photos I'll read you the history because each of the formats provides a bit of History to them about the project this here now does anybody know I bet that nobody knows about this building here it's not a quiz either (laughter) we're not starting off with a quiz.
…This is Badgers Dairy It was a dairy H.C Badger open a fine Dairy on Ferry Street and 1915 it was on the corner of Ferry and Ellen which is now Chuck's Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Um, milk was brought in from the farmers and large Mill milk cans were delivered to customers by Milkmen who use horse-drawn wagon and this can be seen in the 1915 photo by the 1930s. The dairy was gone and then many restaurants and souvenir shops took advantage of this location so starting with this building again I don't think anybody experienced the dairy that Mr. Badger ran, but the corner of Ellen and Ferry does anybody remember any other restaurants or souvenir shops that were there or do we have any Recollections of anything at that corner?
Clark: So the other thing that just brings us back to his Dairies does anybody remember any of the other dairies that were in this community?
Patrick Sirianni: Borden’s.
Clark: What’s that?
Patrick: Borden’s, right behind there.
George Bailey: Dell’s Dairy on Fourth Ave, or… second?
Clark: Ok, let’s start with Borden’s. What do people remember about Borden Factory or Borden's Dairy?
Roxanne Rysdae: Isn’t that the one that had that big milk bottle?
Patrick: The milk bottle. Ya. It’s the fancy hotel, isn’t it?
Clark: It’s the Sterling now, yes. so Borden Dairy does anybody know who works there people who went did you go in because I remember Brian used to go pick up milk there and talk with all the people who worked there and talked about all those types of things.
Patrick: The Cairns Family own that at one time they had a residence down on Valley Way and 2nd Avenue and that's where Shirley Temple stayed at their place when she came to Niagara for the Flicking of the lights and what was interesting about that story Shirley Temple a flower guy came to the door with flowers for Shirley and Shirley was about 16 at the time and she actually answered the door (laughter) and she shocked the guy delivering the flowers but that's not Drummond that's down in Niagara.
Clark: Do you remember …any other memories about the owners?
Roxanne: I'm looking at that and my great grandfather, paternal, was a Milkman and he had that kind of thing I think there's a picture of it in the Shriner Collection - I think of him and yeah so who knows that might be one of them that might be him (laughter) I don’t know.
Clark: Does anybody remember their milkman?
George: Well, not particularly that milkman (laughter)
Clark: No, no ,no, no (laughter)
George: But I can remember them delivering milk by horse and buggy and certainly by a van you know going to the door and getting the milk and putting it in the big ice cube - I'm 74 so I guess that works and I do remember Dell Dairy quite vividly Because Dell Dairy was either on 2nd or 3rd but it went from one street to the other Street and it was a long building which is still there and that's where they had that.
Roxanne: Where’s that?
George: Uh, I want to say between 3rd and 2nd Street, but you look at the building from the front now and it looks just like a residential home but when you look at, at, it from the side it goes all the way to the next street.
Roxanne: Where does the house what street does the house face?
George: Again, I think it's 2nd Avenue it faces but it's a long, long, building they wonder what's with that residential building, but it's because it was the dairy.
Clark: Okay, so as I started you go to not this dairy, but other dairies what do they smell like what were they what were the you know what were the senses?
Deborah Legge: I know we, I can’t remember the name of the dairy it started with a D but it was on Dixon Street, and I went to school and we had a field trip and we went to the dairy and we got trailed around the dairy and it smelled awful - it smells like sour bread it was really bad yeah and we got to go through but it was really … (laughter)
Clark: Um, what about this, isn't interesting part of the town again because it's almost at that you know at this stage certainly this is at the intersection this is not a tourism thing, but it is right at the heart of the Victoria Avenue. What was this neighborhood was this mostly um from people's recollections of growing up that the Ellen and Ferry area was that mostly domestic and an area where locals were running amuck and it wasn't sort of a??
Patrick: A large Italian Community in that area at the time including my grandfather who lived almost right behind the place on Queen Street, and, ya, a very large Italian Community the Aiello’s’ the Moldinelli’s families were there for years and years and years…
George: Possibly where Niagara Dry was, was, started by the Wynne family It was on Ferry Street right across from the car wash and Niagara dry was purchased by … what was it Pepsi? You had bottles you had always had photos of the bottles which always had the falls on it, it, and you know, went up all over the place like you have two druggists on the left with this part of a drugstore where is this photo taken again?
Clark: Ellen and Ferry, it’s no Chuck's Roadhouse it was Johnny peppers for a while they are as well and four brothers.
Carrie: Wasn’t it Four Brothers?
Patrick: And Howard Johnson’s there too? Wasn’t there a Howard Johnson’s?
Clark: Four brothers it's changed its names a couple of times lately.
Clark: Ya. Alright, so we are moving on. To the next one a lot of us know this one yeah, we've got this one upstairs as well um, so this is sort of talking about the BME Church on Peer Street you know the BME Church was built in the background back in 1836 um, was moved from the Fallsview to the corner of Peer and Gray in 1890. It is a National Historic Landmark and part of the history of the Underground Railroad this picture here is a 1930s photo of Reverend Dawson and he's with Bob Plummer or Plumber in front of the church. So again Peer Street is sort of part of our black neighborhood so again what was the Peer Street neighborhood like growing up in this neighborhood what was it still a predominantly black neighborhood by the time most of you were around.
Patrick: There were still a few blacks in the area because I remember um, Jimmy Little and the Littles’ and the Washington's, yup..
George: And there are still descendants of those families still here.
Clark: Anybody go to the church in the early stages?
Clark: Early in your life maybe?
George: Oh, I was going to say (laughter) early… oh I'm a hundred eighty I've been into the church it's remarkable, because it almost has a feeling like you're going back in time because everything is kind of the same as it was I'm sure many, many, years ago and there were certain reverence that I find when I went into the building anyway…
Patrick: Was that area uptown at any time called the Pollytown?
Deborah: Yes, it was.
Unknown speaker (off camera): This area not the previous area.
Clark: That Peer Street was Pollytown…
Everyone: What, Pollytown? I wonder how it got that name? Where?
Patrick: Ya, Pollytown, it was nicknamed after uh, it was a man of colour who I think fought in the War of 1812 and was granted a lot of that property and he kind of distributed it to the people who were coming in which would include the Plato’s and it ran from Stanley Avenue up in behind Peer Street and that area It was a large chunk of land and he distributed it to the black people coming in some of them who were freshly freed slaves as it were.
Unknown speaker (off camera): And it was Polly was his last name? Sorry I didn’t hear you.
Patrick: I don't know if it was his Polly or if it was they called him a nickname but they called it Polly town.
George: It's where the first black mayor I think in the city of Niagara Falls came from.
Patrick: Ya he was an Aldemand wasn’t he?
Patrick: Yup, Aldemand.
Clark: So okay focusing back on maybe the building itself does anybody remember what it looked like?
George: Now is that building moved there or is that the original one?
Clark: It was move there but well before your time (laughter)
Patrick: He thinks your time.. (laughter)
George: Make me feel better now (laughter)
Clark: Um, sights or sound like if you walked up and down Peer Street you know back when you were a kid did you walk up or down Peer Street?
Patrick: Yes, I have.
Clark: When you were a kid?
Patrick: mmhmm. My uncle lived on Main just on the other side of Ferry had a big house and so I would spend the day with my cousins and we go all through the area, but you know as a kid who pays any attention to churches I mean you walked by your heading for the Jolly cut or the Skylon Tower or something you know?
Clark: Ok so getting back to the name Bob Plummer, does that ring any bells to anybody the individual in the photo?
George: He does a television show, used to do a. not the same Bob (laughter)
Clark: Not the same Bob (laughter) You’re just getting funny.
Deborah: He was a member of the community … he that's his grandfather by the way. He was an interesting guy.
Deborah: Go ahead…
Patrick: There was a man by the name of Reverend Clark, who lived in Windsor who was quite elderly and apparently he knew a lot of people in this Pollytown area and when my mother-in-law died, it was requested that Reverend Clark come in to speak, so I drove to Windsor to pick him up he was quite elderly then - he did not let me take him back to Windsor he insisted that I drop him off at the train station - which I did and several years later when I was driving bus I was in St Catharine’s and who comes over to get on the bus Reverend Clark I just couldn't believe it he had to be 75, 80… 10 years previous to that, and he was still in good health he was actually coming to the Drummondville area for another funeral, I think he was actually possibly at one time the minister for this church.
George: And he didn't like you're driving or what…
Patrick: (laughter) I never thought of that.
George: They turned around to go to a train.
Patrick: He got on the bus…
Clark: Alright moving on, there’s one that will get people going. Here’s the Lundy house. So, there's the Lundy house as it stood. Most people know it was built 1790 by the Lundy family and was redeveloped in ‘97 by the Canada One brand name Outlets. Certainly this has a lot of discussion about what was lost at this point… does anybody remember sort of going up the lane and what happened around there?
George: They had a water slide there after it sold.
George: Of course the Lundy's were still around was a great building I remember lots of open land on Lundy’s Lane.
Clark: So, the Lundy house before it was torn down does anybody remember visiting the house going into the house?
Patrick: I’ve never been in there.
Roxanne: Yes. My Grandmother lived in that house and I have a picture here of my mother and me and my two younger siblings and a cousin in front of the house we go there and play, and … yeah.
Clark: So, what do you remember about the house?
Roxanne: I was young then.
Roxanne: I was quite young so I know there were I know there was hardwood floors the hardwood floors I remember that there was a lot of wood and it was in an apartment so it was in one of the apartments and the last Lundy that owned it I think was June… June Lundy and she was pretty well she pretty well didn't really want anybody else involved in it and I understand that they tore it down because it was infested with termites or something and it couldn't really have been saved for historical reasons which would have been great um, but I understand that she hadn't really asked for any of the Lundy's to help maintain the home but there was there was in the front of it just because it was far back from the road and in front there was a, a, china shop that was run by the Lundy's not June it wasn't June, June was Jean Lundy was the last one in the house but I don't know how long that was there for but …
George: I remember there was people upset that the house is being demolished.
Roxanne: What's that?
George: There were people upset when the house was being demolished.
Roxanne: Oh yeah.
George: But, again you're right about the infestation as far as I can remember reading.
Roxanne: But again, why wouldn’t she have gotten anybody to maintain it? but apparently, she didn't ask she was a little bit upset but nobody was helping her she didn't really ask so there was a lot of auction and my brother actually got some of the wood and made a trunk out of it which I have It was my mother's and I got it it's a pretty big trunk made out of wood from the floor yeah, I have a lot of good memories there playing.
Clark: What was around the gardens or was it forested in or what was?
Roxanne: Yeah there was a big behind was a lot of forest area we weren't allowed to run around in there but there was there was a lot of forest area around behind it in fact I think there was, was, it this house no sorry that was something else…
Clark: But, then you played around not in the forest area so what was around the grounds and the areas that you played do you remember?
Roxanne: Yeah, the house was I took that from the research area and I just took this that was all covered in vines.
Clark: Out the back?
Roxanne: No it would have been in the front yard it was probably this window no this window, yeah because there's that vine.
George: That tree outside I can remember that tree it's kind of creepy looking (laughter)
Clark: It's winter most trees look kind of creepy in winter.
Unknown speaker (off camera): Did Gene and June …. have an awareness or a pride about being a Lundy and the significance of the house and this road named after them you know what it you know how certain Generations maybe wouldn’t care about all of that and we are like what are you doing it was...1812…
Roxanne: It was an interesting story it was between the Lundy's and the Green’s and I'm a descendant of the Green’s, so I can someone from the Lundy's will say something and if the Green’s will say something I whatever, I don't really care. But, apparently the Green’s had the property on the corner where the old police thing was and over there green Avenue and so…
Patrick: Green’s corners, ya.
Roxanne: So, when they decided to name the street they were actually arguing over Green’s Lane, but Lundy's Lane was alliterative and it was a Portage a trail that used to open it up and so to compensate the greens they were given some property because they took some of the property that's why they wanted that name back so there was this thing between the greens and the Lundy's we're like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.. (laughter)
George: So, Roxanne you are a UEL? Good for you.
Roxanne: Ya, a lot of the stuff I have it’s up in the research room, all the binders, I don’t know how many binders there are there lots of stuff it's fascinating history. I'm sorry to answer your question it didn't really mean much although my grandmother my paternal grandmother she was Grace Lundy Bigger and she, she married a Bigger and um, but she wanted to be known as Grace Lundy because you wanted to be a Lundy and they were proper and they use plastic table cloths and just really so the Lundy's just really didn't make any difference to my generation until I started doing the research and I found out, but I think my mother was because I think her mother was the one that lived in the house yeah…
Clark: Ok. What was the dialogue around the destruction of the house was it mostly just that it was lost… a lost…
George: It fizzled out, it really didn't amount to much but there are people that are interested in history I don't think there was any great Rebellion after they tore it down people protested it but it wasn't like some of the protests we have today.
Roxanne: By the way William Lundy was not a UEL.
George: He wasn’t?
George: Was he from the Green side then?
Roxanne: Well, actually William Lundy married Nancy Silverhorn and her father was a UEL and that's how the Lundy's, but I actually told that I think, to a Lundy and they were upset.
George: So how did you become a UEL?
Roxanne: Well, William Lundy is my... and Nancy Silverthorn was his wife and she was the UEL. So it comes down from there that side from the maternal side.
George: That's something to be really proud of …
Roxanne: Oh, definitely. He was a Quaker and he wouldn't fight, but I'm sure that we know that the house was used for a hospital and a WWII or something and Elisabeth Pearson Lundy was knitting all kinds of things and blah there’s lots of stuff.
Clark: And what we're not, what we’re here for I probably should have start off from the top is really were looking for again some of that material can be researched and all that it's really back to the flavour what you yourselves experienced on these properties or saw there and all those types of things, so it's fine to digress once in a while but will try and bring it back once in a while so this is the next one we're start of going in the opposite direction down the lane… So, that was at the corner of Robinson and I wrote it down just to remember Robinson and Fallsview wire weaving factory now this section has been removed.
George: Pyramid Place.
Clark: Pyramid Place Founded in 1919, a wire weaving Factory was founded a large manufacturer right close to the falls the picture shows the photo, or the drawing, the plant closed in 1978 and of course became pyramid place which was a complex of shops and restaurants and the IMAX theater opened up so you know there's a couple different directions we can go in this one first off let start with a factory itself does anybody know anybody who worked at the factory or …
Patrick: My dad worked there. From I think the late 40s until the early 60s, and then apparently there was some kind of a layoff on the last time, I remember him working there would have been right around 1961 because they held the annual Christmas party at the Brock Hotel and I attended shortly after that I think he got laid off and he ended up going to Springfield Massachusetts because somebody was looking for a wire Weaver and he got a job down there and he spent 10 or 12 years down there in the Springfield area.
Clark: Okay, let me unpack that for a second. So, first off, he's a wire Weaver working there what does a wire Weaver do?
Patrick: I have no idea
Clark: Ok (laughter)
Patrick: That’s just what I’ve been told. I bet he operates a big machine and weaves wire. (laughter)
Unknown speaker (off camera): Hangers? … Hangers??
Deborah: What’s the wire used for then?
Unknown speaker (off camera): Fences or hangers?
Clark: Do you know what they made?
Patrick: No, no idea. Yeah, I just remember him working I never questioned him ... he never really got the chance to talk about it.
Clark: Did you go ever go in the factory?
Patrick: I don’t even remember him talking about it not until it was Pyramid Place…
George: It moved to Thorold Stone Road…wire weaving... You know where …
Patrick: The old brass place …
George: Was that the Wire Weaving at one time, I don’t know I just I’m intrigued by the building itself I don't know are they windows I wonder or …?
Clark: Yup. Those are windows.
George: That’s kind of interesting because of course the Nabisco plant across the way in Niagara Falls New York had Windows like that and they called it the Light Palace because that was very unusual to have Windows in a factory but it improved and they also introduced the break which was something new in North America.
Clark: Ok, before, I want to get back to Patrick for a minute - Christmas Party, what do you remember of the Christmas Party?
Patrick: In the Sheraton Brock Hotel, in the ballroom I was about 4 and they got me and my three brothers up on stage and together we sang Jingle Bells …
Patrick: And then I remember everybody laughing because it came to the part saying .. HO HO HO and I was really loud into the microphone (laughter) and that's all I remember!
Roxanne: What would they use that for the wire weaving, what would it be used for?
Clark: I don't think anybody knows (laughter)
Unknown speaker (off camera): Baskets, there were baskets?
Patrick: I don’t really know all I know is that my dad weaved wire there.
Clark: Well again, might be totally off topic, but I know I was once at T R… not T R W in St. Catharine’s, I think you were there too at one point, the Tyler Factory and they were weaving wire making benches now again this is only 5 years ago versus 80 years ago.
Patrick: Les Hill also worked there and when I found that out. I remember a story my mother told me about Red Junior wanting to go to the falls and those inner tubes and uh, she kind of let me to the impression that it was the big gossip around the plant that he was going to do this and everybody was booking off work to go see (laughter) including my dad with my mother.
George: The buildings in the distance are kind of interesting to there's the old Table Rock of 1827 …and you can see it on a lot more water first going over the falls.
Clark: And again this is a drawing too, so there's a little bit of fantasful as well, if think there is too. Was this if you went past this factory a was it, was it smelly, was it not, there was obviously a chimney going a water tower?
George: I don’t remember the chimney, but I do remember the water tower.
Patrick: I don’t remember the water tower, and I don’t remember the place smelling.
George: The guy who managed it lived on the Niagara Parkway I remember and he employed a lot of people in the Niagara area. I think this was also was at one time - I could be corrected, but Marineland the original Marineland maybe that's where it went but it was a prisoner of war camp I think this was a prisoner of war camp…
Patrick: No that was closer up, to Harry Wilson’s place.
George: Ya, but there was one, but I think this also was one.
Patrick: Oh and other one yeah maybe?
George: World War I prisoner camp was the armory, but I could be corrected, but I think I'll tell you a cute little story - it's a little off topic, but I'll be fast. I work for the Parks Commission a while back and my building that I worked in in my area I was responsibility was marketing and public relations, but I remember an older gentleman coming in and wanting to talk to somebody in charge so we got me and said I used to live across the road and he had this long German name and I said our a prisoner-of-war camp he said yeah I said - you Canadians treated me better than the Germans I wanted to stay here show about a couple years later the same experience so I know there was definitely a prisoner of war camp over there.
Patrick: Great story George!
Clark: Um, ok so let's move on Beyond sort of the factory aspect of it and of pyramid place and it opens in 1978 what's in there did you guys go what did you experience?
George: Canada A, was there one of the original tenants I can't think of anything else of course the tourist Association was there for many years.
Patrick: They invited all the tour bus drivers there I remember for the grand opening at the time and I went and all I really remember is that Canada A …
George: And they had the glass...
Patrick: And they had a show with those like mechanical puppets what was that?
George: I can’t remember.
Patrick: It was a musical presentation anyway.
George: You know why it was built as the pyramid place is because of the, the, good luck from the pyramid.
Patrick: Yeah at the time that was all the rage.
George: Yeah if you were in the pyramid you were going to get good luck.
Unknown speaker (off camera): See the pyramid under your bed remember that?
Patrick: Put a razor blade under a small pyramid and it would sharpen by itself.
George: I know they owned the parking lot and the other family…these buildings ...I know they own the parking lot and they own the Skylon and I think they own that building as well.
Clark: Any other uh, memories of going into the pyramid place what was there anybody else?
Patrick: There were a couple eateries in there too …
George: Here's a little trivia for you when I was with the park, no when I was with the Skylon, I was a marketing director of the Skylon, in the parking area where the Pyramid Place was there was this guy from Quebec that came that wanted to rent that area and host some type of show under a big tent - so we rented it out to him any put up this monstrous tent and they had acts where people were in hoops and Jumped around doing all that it was the first Canadian appearance of Cirque du Soleil!
George: But, they didn't have it called that at the time but I remember it was half full so what we had to do they gave us in the business of entertainment they wanted us to paper it that means it meant give out free tickets to everybody so you can so you’ve have an audience in there but when the performers were there they wouldn't be upset because there be people there so I remember this lot of tickets and handed it out to everybody and they said what is this will I'm not sure you know they jump around inside there (laughter) It's funny how pictures evoke memories of the past… but, there's a lot of trivia’s that first where Niagara Falls there's a multitude of them...ALCOA.. I'm off base, but…
Clark: I'll cut you off when I need to.
George: ALCOA or whatever it was it started here in Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, New York it was called the Pittsburgh Reduction Company and I write the blog for the Tourist Association and I just wrote this and it was called the Pittsburgh Reduction Company came from Pittsburgh to produce aluminum and why they came here was because we have a lot of clay. If you're a gardener you know we have all kinds of clay here and at that time we had cheap electricity, so this is early 1900s, so those are two factors you need to have to produce aluminum and when they moved here the price of aluminum went from $8 a pound to $2 a pound and then they were so successful that they went on to become Aluminum Company of America so ALCOA started here in the Falls.
Clark: All right, back into this neighborhood – So, the corner of Main and Ferry this is a picture from 1963. Um, HG Acres was in the office of in the upper floors the bank then merged the Bank of Commerce and this building was built so this is a was replaced by what was there today and now we have Cash Money in that location, so we're back sort of on Main Street did anybody step foot in that bank on the corner there?
Patrick: I don’t think I’ve ever been in there.
George: I love how ornate it is you don't see that today.
Patrick: Oh wait a minute, I guess I did when I worked for Al at the flower shop down by the hospital we take a deposit back there and they'd make deposits.
Clark: Okay ok, so we know where the bank is do we remember any of these shops down the street.
Patrick: Is that Niagara Farms down pass a light to the right there was a Niagara farm store down a little further in there good Niagara Farm Store there in the 60’s?
Deborah: What's there now, I can't get my orientation?
Clark: This whole block is a new building I think at least probably.
Unknown speaker (off camera): Is that where they used to have the night club?
Clark: The night club.
Unknown speaker (off camera): And then the Ferris wheels on top is that right?
Clark: It's that part yeah.
George: Every building had a nightclub in it.
Patrick: Jimmy Gordon’s I can see the sign, Jimmy Gordons.
Clark: Down here?
George: That’s where everybody went to buy their Irish sweep tickets?
Patrick: That's right too I forgot about that that was illegal
George: That’s because it was illegal.
Clark: You don't know Irish sweeps I even know Irish sweeps. okay explain what Irish sweeps are
George: It was very clandescent you know I'm going to get one.
Patrick: It was a horse race.
George: The funny part about that was you never found out if you won (laughter) where do you go to find out because really did come from Ireland I might still have one of those tickets.
Patrick: And then for weeks would be walking around wondering if they won!
Unknown speaker (off camera): Well they didn't advertise it right you walked in and whispered that…
Clark: Three knocks and a dance...(laughter)
George: They didn't up tickets like they have today…
Clark: All right so that was in this store here so who's store was that did you say.
George: Jimmy Gordon’s it was called Gordon’s.
Clark: So, what was Jimmy like.
George: Didn't he have a Cigar all the time.
Patrick: Yeah, he was always smoking a cigar short little man.
George: Ya and he’s no short of any of the store operators today…
Patrick: And he had a hairdo like George’s…
George: Ya, that’s right… he never said much eh?
Patrick: He never said much but he was always friendly to me you know, I was just a kid.
Clark: So what did he sell was it a smoke shop?
Patrick: Yeah you can get confectionery anything pop… ice cream.
Clark: All the candies you want as a kid!
Patrick: The competition was at Bordon’s.
Clark: Ya, we’ll get to that. Love the Pepsi sign!
George: Yeah Pepsi was much more prominent in Niagara Falls than Coca-Cola for some reason…
Patrick: Because of the factories, but then … oh yeah Coke was here too wasn’t it?
Roxanne: There was a Coke factory.
George: Coke was here as well, you see it like even downtown even the Pepsi signs.
Roxanne: Niagara Falls has two downtowns.
George: Ya that’s true. Where you are talking about Clifton Hill being one downtown.
Roxanne: No, Main Street and Queen Street.
George: A lot of people visiting think in Clifton Hills are downtown …
George: Oh ya. It’s true.
Patrick: But we all grew up with downtown was downtown Queen Street but, but, uptown that was Main and Ferry?
George: Yeah, you're right.
Clark: Um, the reason why I’m pointing this out because there's actually a corner revealed actually its still there of the Pepsi sign actually walk by.
Roxanne: There's apartments above that Jimmy Gordon's and I remember my aunt no my cousin told me across the street above the stores or whatever the apartment they had the Pew house and the parents did or something but she said there was a woman that lived above there that never came out when anywhere and she just would be in that apartment all the time there's a lot of Apartments along there.
George: What year is this?
Clark: Ok I’ve got everything there so let's move up the hill a little bit who's got the church here obviously the, the, church built in ‘37, the current church built in 1886 and, and, this photo of this is a from a postcard from 1907 I guess maybe I just I wanted a little bit about the church itself and if anybody was in the congregation there remember any of the reverends went to any events christenings baptisms weddings.
George: Again, what year was this?
Clark: This is 1907, but it doesn't have to be 1907, it could be a wedding from…
George: Is that church still there is that the same one that's at the new entrance?
Clark: New entrance.
Roxanne: What is that right there?
Clark: That's the Lundy's Lane Memorial.
George: It looks different though than…
Roxanne: Yeah it does.
George: It's got a canopy at the bottom which I don't recall.
Roxanne: And there's stairs on it.
Clark: Stairs are there, I think stairs are there this is a postcard and you can see the pixilation the dots and, the fine details don't quite…
Patrick: From where this photo was taken was there not several wooden towers built in that area
Clark: In 1907 would they be gone, Deb.
Deborah: No the last one is still there
Clark: Still there…
George: They were there before the towers in the Falls there because they were there to overlook the Battle of 1814, I guess.
Patrick: And quite the popular place to go because this was before the American Civil War.
George: The first superintendent of the American Parks Commission - he built one of them and he was the superintendent of the park and he also he built and he was married there.
Clark: Okay, so growing up in Niagara Falls did anybody visit the battlefield itself or???
George: Still do.
Clark: Ok, so back when you were visiting as a kid what was it like was it much different were there?
Patrick: Not so much when I was a kid I remember it being pretty much what it is now it was a quiet place.
George: It is.
Roxanne: More gravestones.
George: There's a fellow that stands there I don't know how many days a week but the guy with a British flag and he just stands there it's kind of interesting that's a great story I don't know what it is but, but, he stands there with these flags and he, he, doesn't talk to you he just …
Roxanne: All the time like now?
George: Yeah, he's there I don't know how often, but …
Deborah: He is there today.
George: Every time we go up there.
Clark: Thursday is his day.
George: Is it so he has certain days?
Clark: Yep he's one of our members here.
George: What's that all about?
Clark: Let’s ask another time (laughter)
George: Oh, ok.
Patrick: Well, you know what it would be a sin to go past this photograph without mentioning um, Dalton, William Dalton he just totally fascinated me with the book he wrote. I had a copy of it and he kept track of everybody who is buried there between the years of 1870 something right up until about 1913 and like he not only kept record of their names but if he knew them he would tell you a story about them one fellow was buried and he said oh the weather was really cold the snow was deep we charged $2. Mr. Morse had to pull the body out of the gorge stuff like that and had a beautiful casket and I guess they left little windows in caskets so you could see their faces and, and, he would mention all you could see very nice and at peace and stuff.
George: Of course the first Burial at Niagara Falls the Bigger child was buried here
Patrick: And then he would tell you all kinds of things that he knew about the person who actually attended the funeral.
George: Is that book at the library Carrie?
Carrie: What’s that? I believe so.
George: It's fascinating reading about that.
Patrick: Anyway I bought a copy of the book online William Dalton and I cherish it because whenever I'm researching something if I hit a name and I even suspect they may be buried there, I'll look it up and find out.
George: (mumbles) …. buried there and original descendants of Niagara it's fascinating place to visit.
Patrick: Karl Soucek too eh?
George: Yeah, he was his plot was given by Kenny Sluggett.
Clark: So Roxanne you recognize that right away?
Roxanne: It seems.
Clark: Okay I thought you recognized that right away. So, this is at this point Grandview camp it was operated by Clara Holmes and offered small cool and restful cabins as well as access to the kitchen. 53 of the properties were purchased by John Naggy.
Clark: Added a modern motel and the Falls Manor restaurant.
George: John Naggy.
Patrick: And where was this located?
Clark: I thought it was Naggy but ok, no problem.
George: Yeah some of them are there I don't know if they're the original ones?
Roxanne: That one in the far right.
George: Yeah that's the office isn't it he still has cabins that he has in the back that he rents out year round, to people I know at least one person that's been there about 15 years he's the dishwasher and he lives there.
Clark: So, this opens up on Lundy’s lane certainly we had cabins does anybody going past this one or other ones was it filled with tourists and what is this maybe let's start with Grandview itself and have any memories of what the set up was like, and ...
George: And what year was this?
Clark: This well this I don't have a date on it but this was at least past 1953.
George: Oh. is that I wouldn't have dated that.
Patrick: Falls Manor was a very popular restaurant among the locals.
Clark: So, how long has it been a popular restaurant?
Patrick: They used to have roasted chicken in there at one point.
Roxanne: I remember in the Falls Manor Restaurant - it was when you walk into the right there was kind of like a coffee bar or something and they had all the mugs on the wall …
George: Oh, all the mugs, I had one there!
Roxanne: My father had one they called him Jeep because during the war he drove a Jeep.
George: Yeah that was a coffee club, they don't have it anymore.
Unknown speaker (off camera): They still do.
Patrick: And it didn't serve you a cup of coffee - they would bring you over a big silver pot full of it!
Clark: Okay so you walk in here, um,
George: I don’t think… anybody walk in that building I don’t think?
Roxanne: Something … I don’t know.
Clark: So what's the place smell like you know who was working there who is serving you any names or
George: I don’t think anybody ...um.
Clark: No I meant when it became Fallsview Restaurant.
Roxanne: Falls Manor
Clark: or Falls Manor, so if you're in Falls Manor who's serving you?
George: The long-term servers and waitresses I guess it's okay to call them that they were ladies and always seem to be older ladies.
George: Just like Hope’s Restaurant which is at the other end one of the things I can visualize is at Queenston Heights restaurant - older ladies in little outfits with the aprons very proper and it was kind of nice.
Patrick: When I think of Hopes I always think of that cat in the window ...
George: Ya (laughter)
Patrick: Its tail would swing and its eyes would go back and forth.
Roxanne: Was that a restaurant? That?
Clark: This itself wouldn't have been then, it was just part of the campground this was built and then Falls Manor Restaurant was put into this building so …
George: Now this end of the town was developed later in downtown Niagara Falls or Clifton Hill area the campground started in the 1920s and then that's when the motel the motels started appearing in the 1950s and so this would have been part of that development,
Roxanne: Look how solid that’s built.
Patrick: Our family had a tourist home on river Road in the early sixties and my aunt sold it in the early ‘65 because of all the motels going in on Lundy's Lane and there was no need for it, but I can remember her filling the place every night all summer long, so there was definitely the need at the time.
Unknown speaker (off camera): You said, um, Clark..it's interesting to me and I don't know if this is a true story when I was um researching the canneries in Niagara I was told that these blocks they look the same the person that was creating the mold I assume was a man and he wanted a design in it and had his wife put her foot into.
Clark: Each single block?
Unknown speaker (off camera): Well, to make the mold the mold for it and that was had to come up in the research so it looks like these are the same but then when I was researching all those canneries that's part of where these blocks I don't want to say Concrete because I don't know too much in concrete cement but whatever they're made from that was it could be true and that's one of those stories because and here they are I'm sure they were built in the same place.
Roxanne: Clark is that water right there right there where you just had that no just up by the trees no yeah there.
Unknown speaker (off camera): Ya it looks like it over by the tree…
Carrie: No, it’s a building.
Clark: Ya it’s another building it is the side of the building where the roof.
Roxanne: Oh, okay.
Unknown speaker (off camera): Isn't that another cabin in the back there because they had those cabins but it does have that illusion?
George: They're still there.
Roxanne: Yeah it looks like water, oh my.
Clark: All right back down…
Roxanne: Look at the electric car tracks...
George: Main Street and Ferry …
Clark: Main and Ferry, so it became Thorburn’s? 1898 AC Thorburn... purchased Smith's Farms and Main Street and Thorburn’s was born ... station Community Jail is seen here in 1898, so just before it became Thorburn’s, um …
Patrick: What is it?
Clark: Um, Percel and Company was the name above the door there and a pharmacy over here
George: What are they selling? I'm surprised at the word Pharmacy is there I thought that they would have called it a drug store I learned something today.
Clark: So memories of Thorburn’s? What was it like to walk into Thorburn’s?
George: I remember one of the things he actually delivered prescriptions which I think is somewhat rare I don't know if it would have been as early as this photograph.
Patrick: But not only was it a pharmacy they, they, also had a great collection of gifts to buy nothing too expensive but like if you needed a last-minute gift for somebody you could just duck into Thorburns and satisfy yourself and find something that you want I remember the store being pretty jammed up with stuff other than just Pharmaceuticals.
Clark: Okay so who worked at Thorburn’s?
George: Again I remember my mother referring to them as druggists when you worked at Thorburn’s and there was an actual Thorburn.
Clark: Okay any memories of him?
George: I have no memory because I really wouldn't…
Patrick: I know there was two of them because they had one on Queen Street too.
George: Ya the other one because I used to deliver on my bicycle prescriptions for them and a guy with the name of George Bailey and if you’ve seen that Christmas movie with Jimmy Stewart the kid that was delivering the drugs was called George Bailey and he saved the life of somebody but I'm way off course here (laughter)
Deborah: George Bailey?
Clark: I don’t remember which part I think he was saying that he… yeah ya ya.. don't worry about it.
Patrick: Now what this picture gives you a fine example of is the old Street Railway Earnest Green wrote about this. And like in the mud and snow it was just hell.
Clark: By the time you were a kid was it still there?
Patrick: Yeah, they would come up on the trolley and half the time it would slip off the rails and they had to put it back on and the horses weren't very well kept they could barely make it up the incline at Ferry Street and at times it was so bad a lot of the men that were riding it would just jump off and walk cuz they could get there faster (laughter) I think it was old Thomas Street was quoted saying no maybe not him, but farmers from the outlying areas will quote him as saying why would you pay a nickel to ride from Main and Ferry down to the center when you could walk on a good board plank for free they always thought it was such an extravagance yeah Ernest Green wrote that.
George: I'm Amazed by Pat's knowledge!
Patrick: And just down the End of the Street down a way but where it turned around at Cobb Street They put it around with some kind of mechanism by hand and it would seize up and all kind of problems but we're it did turn on Cobb Street they called it Lands End.
George: I think you were there I think you're in a different life now and previous, to that I think you were there (laughter)
Patrick: George I live half my life in days gone by (laughter)
George: That’s great…
Deborah: The pharmacy on Abe Land owned and owned the other pharmacy at the other end and that's why they called it Lands End.
Patrick: Oh ok.
Clark: Um, ok, so …
George: Of course, just down the road...
Clark: A little bit more contemporary. (laughter)
Patrick: Bada Bing Bada Boom, Bada Bing Bada Boom. (laughter)
Clark: (unclear) Um, what was here before this hotel complex? Does anybody um?
Patrick: Stevens Hotel, no?
Deborah: Steven’s it's still there.
George: Stevens is up the road a little bit.
Roxanne: Is that?
Clark: Right across the road from us.
Roxanne: Did they finish building that high-rise or whatever it is?
George: They stopped because of the money that was being used to build it was questionable.
Roxanne: Is it still unfinished?
Patrick: Never mind I won’t even go there.
George: No it's completed now but I remember you remember when it was?
Patrick: There were a few unsavory characters that used to hang out front the place and I'm not going to mention any names but I remember reading but they would actually hang on that parking meter and talk business and not realizing there was a bug in the parking meter that's how they all got caught that's a true story I don't know any names …
Clark: Over here
Roxanne: Looks like the Statue of Liberty (laughter)
Patrick: I remember reading that it was in the review.
Suzanne Moase: You know who might know I was just thinking because ____ Clarks husband was Officer and this be ...and I think he just as a side office just talking with Sarah just in conversation because it would be interesting to talk with him to see if any of this information and the stories he told her would be allowable, I don’t know if enough time has gone by had talked about the tea shack they had here their hut and he’s told me stories that I won’t say because I don’t know if I’m allowed to.
Clark: That’s right the statute of limitations or whatever…
George: But you know the library is such a great source of vertical files which I access on different occasions because you can research a topic for example if you're a well-known person in the city or something like this they'll have the vertical file on it right Carrie? and I told Wayne Thompson one time I said Wayne I know all about your life and he said what do you mean and I said there's a vertical file on you which there is I think and I can tell you the whole history and he's like it's all there and I said it's all there (laughter)
Clark: And moving up the street just a little bit again a building that you guys wouldn't recognize I bet, but this was actually just up it was actually just next to the maple leaf the crane brothers who are seen here the.
Clark: Flour and Feed store begin in 1904 and was owned by Steven and Darcy crane which I presume are the two in the photo. Um, torn down in 1910 to make room for a larger 2 story brick building um, and then that same building after this building became a winery of furniture store and currently home of the medical center up there so nobody will remember this building um, but what was put up afterwards - I'm just curious if anybody remembers the winery in there the furniture store or anything else before it became a medical building?
George: It was electronic building to wasn't it?
Deborah: Swaln’s electric
Clark: Swaln’s electric. Ok, so Swaln’s what do we remember about Swaln’s?
George: Well he's still around because he lives on the Parkway.
Carrie: It was Swalm’s.
George: S. W. A. L. M.
Carrie: I think I went in there twice.
Patrick: In the 1890s, do you remember Daniel Debt? He became a famous musical composer pianist and stop his brother with a couple of other friends built a home along here somewhere and it was Halloween Eve and they were up to some mischief and a man came out the door with a gun and fired a shot not meaning to hurt anybody but he hit young Arthur Debt and the young boy died the next day so the man's name was Crawley and he left real quick and the next day a local detective found him and his wife on the American side and he was getting ready to board a train to go somewhere so they did catch him but they did get a lenient sentence because it was kind of sort of accidental he didn't mean to hit the kid he just wanted to scare them and I think he ended up getting 7 years or something but he lived in a home right along here I don't know the exact property
Deborah: Well the Debt’s lived where the car wash is.
Clark: Okay um, I don't think I'm going to spend a lot of time on this one unless again this is the Victoria Fountain you know in front of the museum actually I want to skip on from this because I don't think again I'm looking for names and that type of things and I think we can spend a bit more time on this one potentially so just further along down on Main we're running a little bit tight on time I don't want to take up everybody's time too much so Reid's grocery store.
Clark: Food Mart sorry, um, this picture was in 1946 was constructed as before 1845 by John Evans and was formerly a hotel um, at one-point Stamford Township Council meetings were held in the hotel before this building that were in was built but Petrillo's is in here now so did anybody shop at Reid’s” was it still Reid’s’ by the time you guys were growing up it came up town.
George: Clark where again is this one I'm sorry I missed it?
Clark: Okay, so if it's to the it's, it's, about three stores over from Peer towards Stanley on Main.
George: I can't visualize it.
Clark: Petrillo's florist now.
Patrick: So, that would have been the Sicilian Bakery down there?
Deborah: No that’s this way.
Patrick: This way a bit…
Carrie: That’s on the same side as the theater was?
Roxanne: What theatre?
Carrie: The Princess.
Clark: The Princess… so the funeral home is just over here?
Carrie: Talking about Patterson’s?
Clark: Ya, Patterson’s.
George: So, this was beside the theatre?
Clark: The theatre was over here and Patterson's is over here Peer Street just over there.
Patrick: Near Davey Automotive building maybe?
George: That's what it is.
Patrick: Sure looks like it.
Carrie: But right now, it's Petrillo's.
Clark: So Davey Automotive was in there you think? So. I think I heard that too from someone else.
Patrick: It was a part store you'd go in and get parts.
Clark: Okay so Davey Automotive obviously Davey was a person so does anybody know Davey?
Patrick: Well, I don't know him but I …
George: I think it was his last name.
Patrick: Their families been around for a while for years and years.
Clark: Did anybody go in there?
Patrick: Oh I've been in there.
Clark: What was it like?
Patrick: Back in the 60’s they had the counter had about everything you needed back in the sixties for junk cars (laughter)
Clark: He part fit all the cars….what did it smell like in there was it a normal store was it?
Patrick: No it wasn't greasy like a garage or anything I didn’t pay much attention to any smells.
Clark: Okay last two are those ones I carry brought we thought that those were good ones where are they oh you got them there right, right, right, thanks so the fire hall I don't have pictures of these.
MAIN STREET FIRE HALL
George: I was a captain there in 1960 as a student you know how they have these contests have a pass for the day and I became the captain of the day and you know who was the real Captain there it was Wayne Thomson's father Stan, Stan Thompson he took me under his wing and I have a photo somewhere although I donated about 9 boxes painters boxes to the library I'm a lot of that stuff is there but that's my claim to fame I was the captain of the day,
Patrick: Stan Thompson he was the fire captain wasn't he and did he lived on First Avenue.
George: Yeah, he did no, no, he lived near the municipal pool and he has three houses that he built they're all the same.
Patrick: Oh okay.
Clark: Okay so when your captain for the day what did you do?
George: I don’t remember.
Clark: You don't remember (laughter) you got it you went down and you went home (laughter)
George: I don't know I got a picture taken but how I became the captain the day but my mother was very proud of the pictures.
Carrie: If you take a look at the website that's located on our own website the page rather it's got another photo that we acquired and it is many years after that it's in the 50s and it would have been maybe something George is talking about all school children in the front and they all have little fire hats on so I don't know if that's your honorary fire hat when you went there for a visit, but …
George: I was in grade 7 or so I was at Valley Way which is one of the oldest schools in …
Carrie: What year would that have been George?
George: Let's see back up …
Patrick: Count the years (laughter)
George: Around ’53.
Carrie: yes what might be even George the photo … (laughter)
George: Did it look like a captain? (laughter)
Carrie: I don't know I'm going to have to look at it a bit …
Patrick: Well when I was at St. Pat’s in October every year the fire department used to come around the school And used to have those fire safety things and then you would sit there and then give everybody a red fire chiefs hat and they would do a demonstration and show you all the smoke and fire would they put the ball in the glass tube and then boom that was the big climatic moment remember 3 weeks we have fire drills at the school and then they just ring the bell and everybody would have to get out of the School and that was always fine because you didn't have to go to class (laughter) but yeah I remember the red fire hats they used to give it.
Clark: James what were you going to say?
James: Well it's not that photo there but the Stamford fire call would have been my great grandfather he was a fire chief there Minroe is the last name then him and his brother were sort of in charge from what my grandpa told me
Patrick: That was a volunteer firefighter organization down there.
James: Ya, volunteer firemen's.
Patrick: I'm a member of that organization now but I'm not fighting fires (laughter)
Clark: But you're not fighting fires (laughter) it’s evolved, hasn’t it? Uh, the other one I was going to so, so, the other one Carrie brought was the Drummond Branch Library one of the old libraries on Main Street, um, had some lively discussion down at Chippawa about that Library I guess does anybody remember going in the old Drummond Library?
George: It was like today you know we go to Chippewa or to the Stanford Centre Branches well that was one of the branches we used to go to.
Clark: Before Victoria.
George: It was pretty small though you will the building is small.
Clark: So what was it like there when you went in?
George: Like a library?
Roxanne: It smelled, I remember the that it smelled like wood and I remember the um, the old smell of the wood remembers how you used to pull out the thing to find.
Patrick: Oh yeah, the little file boxes.
George: Very prim and proper all the Librarians just like they are here right Carrie?
Roxanne: It was small for sure.
Clark: Okay do we remember any of the librarians?
George: I remember Dorothy VanSlight but I don't think she was there was she at this point.
Patrick: No she was downtown.
George: No, she was downtown at this point.
Patrick: But she was the best.
George: There was a Miss Bessie I think does that name ring a bell .
Carrie: Um, yeah, I've heard of her but I didn't know her.
George: Everybody was a Miss (laughter)
Patrick: Didn't one of the Morris's donate that property to the library so they could build their I think yeah Morris is on the property.
Roxanne: They own it now.
Patrick: Well it was donated by Mrs. Morris to the city for a library branch.
Roxanne: Don't they own it now?
Patrick: Yeah, they own it now but I don't know if it was um a we’ll take it back later thing or we sold it and then they sold it back.
George: Prospect House was right beside it and the Prospect house at one time was located in the park the prospect house.
Clark: Further back.
Patrick: That’s right yep.
George: But it was moved from the park there were four more hotels in the park I think the prospect was in the park.
Clark: By the park you mean?
George: Queen Victoria property Queen Victoria Park.
Clark: Oh okay.
George: It was before the park took it over in 1885.
Roxanne: I had my um, grade 1 Royal Conservatory piano exam downstairs in that Library.
Clark: In that little theatre they had there.
Roxanne: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it was like a big theatre.
Patrick: In the 1890s there was a big fire at Morrison Sons and um, at the time a lot of people on the street we're pulling out what they could um, because at the time Morrison actually made coffins and they were pulling out a lot of these coffins and all kinds of furniture and everything and one old man who was standing across the street was quoted as stating I haven't seen that many coffins since the cholera outbreak of ’55.
George: (laughter) Good for you Pat, I’m amazed! What a memory! you should talk to him separately for a couple hours.
George: Years ago when I was with the park around and I did I think kind of what you're doing now and I talked to Old Folks because I joined the park in 1980 I believe and I talked with Old Timers and I put them on tape and I remember talking to a fellow By the name of John Slin who was the original gardener for Oaks Garden theater and all the I don't know if the part kept them but they were fascinating stories and he was sharp as a tack he lived over here on Main Street on the second floor Apartment and I went in and I said tell me about your life and he went on and on …
George: What do they call those oral histories?
Clark: Pardon? Yep.
George: But I mean that's a great project for somebody that gets some type of grant where you can just say …
Clark: We've interviewed about 6 people in the last 2 years.
George: But there's a lot of people that's for sure I mean this would be one.
Carrie: Can I make a pitch for the next one? so thank you everybody this has been great I just wanted to make that little plug for the next one for anybody who's from the Stanford area or just to want to I mean you don't have to be from there but if you remember things or you want to come and just listen Stamford library has another opportunity to come together like you guys did so it's the 17th of August at 2 in the afternoon it will be at the library in the room they have at the back, um, we'll get together and we'll do the same kind of thing and talk about the Stamford area.
Patrick: That was really good I really enjoyed that!
Carrie: Yep, yep, lots of reminiscing.
Clark: Thank you everyone, we hope you come out to the next one!
Carrie: Thank you!