Survey of the Town of Walkerville, 1858-1922
(Ron Hoskins' Masters Thesis, 1964, University of Windsor)
early as 1893, the Walkerville Council lamented that the town did
not possess a fountain. The matter was repeatedly deferred until
1897, when it was decided that the erection of a suitable commemorative
fountain should be the focal point of the town's proposed celebration
of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Hiram Walker & Sons felt
that the $300 budget for the proposed fountain was inadequate and
promised to finance a first-rate fountain as a gift to the people
Roach, April 4, 1984
date is June 22, 1897 and loyal British subjects everywhere are
celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, who ascended
to the throne in 1837 at 18.
Windsor, Sandwich, and Walkerville, stores and schools are closed.
Union Jacks fly proudly in the June breezes and strips of red, white,
and blue cloth decorate the public buildings.
Walkerville there are preparations to lay the cornerstone of the
beautiful Diamond Jubilee Fountain, designed by Detroit architect
Albert Kahn [Kahn, who had joined the Detroit firm of Mason and
Rice in 1885, left from 1896 until 1900 when he returned to Mason's
office for two more years. Did he design the fountain prior to his
departure, or did George D. Mason produce the design himself?].
will stand on the west side of Second Street (Devonshire Road),
just south of the ornate station of the Lake Erie and Detroit River
Railway and just across the street from the new Crown Inn.
gala parade is gathering on Sandwich Street (Riverside Drive). The
beginning of it is at the intersection of Fifth Street (Walker Road),
while the rear is far to the west at the Grand Trunk (Peabody) Bridge.
At 10:15 a.m. the chief marshal, Alex Leavitt, gives the signal
and the parade moves off.
the leading carriage is the mayor of Walkerville, Thomas Reid. Immediately
following in their carriages are the members of council and several
important visitors from the neighbouring city of Windsor. Next comes
the Walkerville Band, followed by the Essex Fusiliers and the celebration
children from the Walkerville Public School, located on the southwest
corner of Second (Devonshire) and Wyandotte Streets, are followed
by the teachers and school trustees. Bringing up the rear are the
Walkerville Bicycle club ($5 prize for the best decorated bicycle)
and the members of the Walkerville Fire Department.
Chandler Walker, eldest surviving son of Hiram Walker, makes the
formal presentation of the fountain to the people of the town. Besides
Edward sits Hiram Walker himself. Born on July 4, 1816, in East
Douglas, Mass., he is now approaching his 81st birthday and is in
ill health (he died a year and a half later). But illness does not
prevent him from coming from his Detroit residence to attend this
Reid invites Edward's wife to step forward and, silver trowel in
hand, lay the cornerstone for the fountain-to-be.
the ceremonies are over, those of status gather across the street
for a luncheon at the Crown Inn, while the rank and file people
stroll over to the Farmers' Rest at Fifth Street (Walker) and Niagara.
lunch, activities are transferred to Walkerville Grove (the site
of Walkerville Collegiate). There are military displays and a baseball
match, in which the Walkerville club defeats the visiting Harrow
team 19 to 7. The Page Wire team then beats the Globe Furniture
Co. in a tug o'-war.
the evening, a twenty-foot (6-metre) bonfire blazes at the head
of Second Street (Devonshire) where Willistead now stands. Its glow
was reportedly seen halfway across Essex County.
completion, the fountain, probably crafted from Amherstburg limestone,
was beautiful. It had a copper roof topped with an imperial crown.
Within the four stone columns was an iron centrepiece with four
gargoyles spouting water to the four points of the compass. Tin
cups were provided so passers-by could quench their thirst. And
out at the curb stood an oval stone horse trough filled with cool
around all four sides of the fountain near the top was inscribed:
court was pure, her life serene
gave her peace, her Land reposed
thousand claims to reverence closed
her mother, wife and Queen
the front of the fountain was inscribed:
commemorate the completion of the sixtieth year of the glorious
reign of her most gracious majesty, Queen Victoria. The gift of
Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. to the people of Walkerville. MDCCCXCVII
the decades, the fountain served its dual purpose: it was a thing
of beauty and also provided a cool drink for people and the animal
the 1930's, the horse trough was gone. Three of the fountain's spouts
had been stopped up. A regular tap-type drinking fountain had been
attached to the remaining gargoyle.
Walkerville was amalgamated with Windsor in 1935, the City of Windsor
saw no reason to protect and maintain this part of our heritage.
Neglect and vandalism took their toll. The crown disappeared from
the top of the fountain. The copper roof began to crumble, piece
1958, someone decided to replace the fountain and park with a parking
lot, and the fountain; or what was left of it was hauled off
to Willistead. A pretence at restoration was effected and then the
once-beautiful Victoria Memorial was hidden behind Willistead Manor
where vandals could get a better crack at it.
there it stands today. Wouldn't it be nice if the fountain could
be restored crown and all and be made the centrepiece it once was?
forward to 1990; With the exception of the crown from the peak of
the pyramidal copper roof, the fountain was restored, and we look
forward each spring to its emergence from the plywood cocoon that
protects it from Windsor's notorious freeze-thaw cycles.
here to see Victoria Fountain Photos
Crown Inn: First Hotel in Walkerville