Old CPR Station: Gone and Almost Forgotten
past summer, my friend Elaine Weeks (Managing Editor of the Walkerville
Times) and I were running along the riverfront path that links Walkerville
to my old neighbourhood.
once again in Elaine's wake I took a 'breather' by the railroad
bridge, at the foot of Caron Avenue. While admiring the brickwork,
I noticed the eastern portion of the bridge contained a convex arc
which appeared to be the foundation of a building. I could also
see a bricked up door and window. When Elaine returned, we decided
it must be what's left of the old CPR station. But what happened
to it, we wondered?
"The Westender" I knew I had to find out the whole story.
I thought this would be a pretty "cut and dried" tale. Not so. I
was disappointed by the lack of information available in our local
public archives and the history section of the Windsor Public Library.
called local rail and bus historian Bernie Drouillard hoping he
would know something about this building˛ to no avail. A call to
the archives at Canadian Pacific Railway in Montreal revealed only
that it was built in 1890.
Windsor was an integral link to the United States and all points
east, it would make sense that ours would be one of the first stations
built. CPR built 70 stations between 1886 and 1896.
this early phase, an eighteen year construction blitz lead to more
than 700 stations being built or replaced on their lines. The bulk
of these stations were similar in style to the ones that existed
in the town of Walkerville and downtown Windsor.
kept architectural embellishments to a minimum. Our CPR station
was unique in that it featured a turret (only one other similar
station was built in Smithville, Ontario).
Salt commenced business in 1892 and housed their first offices in
the tower of the CPR station, though their main business site was
on the south side of Sandwich (now Riverside Drive).
major salt deposit was discovered right below where CBC Place now
sits, on Riverside Drive West at Crawford. The only evidence today
of this is that on occasion, sink holes have been known to appear
in CBC's front lawn˛ hence the wrought iron fence erected last year,
for insurance purposes.
CPR station was abandoned in the 1920's when a new one was built
at the foot of Pelletier Street to accommodate train passengers
coming through the (now electrically lit) train tunnel from the
Windsor's turreted station was demolished some time during the 1930's.
All that remains is a small portion of its foundation and two photographs.
brief existence has not been well documented˛ another example of
a piece of our history gone in the blink of an eye.
Visit Sherrill Tucker's
Web Site - sherrilltucker.com
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