life and times
hiram who
birth of the auto
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No Playing on Sundays in Walkerville

I am one who can say they were born in Walkerville.
I was born in 1928. When I was three months old my house was moved. Hiram Walker’s needed the land it sat on in order to build a new rack warehouse. Our house, which was located at 1 Argyle opposite “The Hut” (Legion Branch 12) was moved to the southeast corner of St. Luke at Richmond towards Ford City. We moved to 178 Monmouth (now 976 Monmouth), which my dad purchased for $1200 in the late 1940s after the Walkerville Land and Building Co. made the Monmouth row houses available for sale.

Some of my memories of growing up in Walkerville include the Percheron horses that would clear the sidewalks of snow. I also remember that on Sundays we were not allowed to play. The police would go around and if they caught any kids playing baseball, they would take your bat and ball away and then you had to walk over to the station on Monday to pick it up.

After “crucifixion” [Walkerville’s amalgamation with Windsor] in 1935, former Walkerville Mayor Bennet, who I think lived on Chilver, would not accept mail if it said Windsor. He would give it right back to the postman.
William (Billy) Meek, South Windsor

According to William Meek, the house at 1 Argyle was moved to s.e. corner of St. Luke at Richmond. We think the house on n.e. corner looks more like Argyle cottages.

Follow the Bouncing Ball

I saw your Bob-Lo piece in a Walkerville Times issue (Feb 2002) I picked up at the Windsor Art Museum. I was surprised to learn that the St. Claire was built in Toledo. I’d thought that the Bob-Lo boats were made in the Wyandotte boatyards.

Whenever I find souvenirs or street light pole flags relating to the amusement park I usually take them to Shawn San who runs Pure Detroit, “the store of all things Detroit.” This shop has all sorts of neat stuff including a billboard-sized porcelain sign of the Vernor’s Ginger Ale troll mascot.

In 1976, I even acquired a 16-mm print of the Faygo Red Pop TV promo spot featuring one of the Bob-Lo boats and a “follow the bouncing ball” sing-a-long.
Tim Caldwell, Michigan

“Bride of Frankenstein” at Tivoli

Obviously, since I have enclosed my cheque for a subscription to the Walkerville Times, I think you’re doing a great job. Each edition brings back so many memories of my life in Walkerville and Windsor.

I had forgotten that I had indeed spent my first years on the 200 block of Gladstone Avenue, where my parents, who had arrived from Scotland sometime earlier, shared a basement apartment in a house with another couple. It was the time of the Great Depression and everyone was employed whenever and wherever they could, and the sharing of limited resources was important.

I’m told that one day I managed to wander away from the house and was picked up by the Walkerville Police somewhere along Wyandotte Street (since I was so young at the time, I can’t imagine it being much further than the Tivoli Theatre) and was taken to the station while they located one of my parents. I had an uncle who had a part-time job at the Tivoli and I can remember sitting on the balcony watching my first movie – “The Bride of Frankenstein.” I don’t remember much of the film except for the bride’s hair. My mother found employment as a maid in South Walkerville, and as a child I can remember the occasional visit to Willistead Park and climbing up what I imagined was the biggest hill ever (perhaps it was a lot larger in those days).

Part of my job with the Windsor Chamber of Commerce was to provide certain services to the Essex County Tourist Association. One of these services required me to work with Dr. Neil F. Morrison in coordinating 15-minute historical broadcasts over CKLW Radio, on Saturday evenings during the summer months. The scripts were primarily educational with a view to encouraging listeners to visit Windsor and Essex County. A wide range of persons interested in the history of the region, from our own area, as well as Michigan, participated in writing scripts and doing the broadcasts. I had about 60 or 70 scripts in my possession when I left Windsor in 1963. Unfortunately, they disappeared from my parent’s home in later years (my mother’s compulsion to clear everything out of her house every so often).
Mac Dunbar, Guelph

Ed. Interesting coincidence! Just the day before receipt of your letter, Phil Chauvin walked in with a copy of “Radio Sketches 1945-1962 Essex County Historical Association.” We are hoping to run some fascinating vignettes in future issues.

J.C. Moons aka The Metropole

I recently discovered the Walkerville Times website, and I must say, it is excellent and I have learned a lot. I was wondering if you could give me to the best of your knowledge, or at least point me in the right direction to help me find, the history of 911 Walker Road. (The south-west corner of Walker and Niagara). Currently it is J.C. Moons. I hear there was a big fire there last week.
Rob Shepley

Ed. At this point, we don’t know a great deal about this building other than the name of a couple of its previous incarnations, ie., California’s, and The Metropole. Apparently, it was once known as “Farmer’s Rest” because farmers would stop there on their way in to Hiram Walker’s with grain, etc. The original part of the building (if it is still there) would be over 130 years old. The fire was confined to one end of the building.

Anyone Seen Cecil?

My brother, sisters and I (Patti, Mike and Sue – students at WCI in the 70s and 80s), were chatting the other day and we remembered an older fellow who was always at the various WCI sporting events. I believe he walked with a limp and his name may have been Cecil. We remembered that we used to see him at the football, hockey and basketball games, but I don’t think we ever knew the story behind him. If anybody has any information, it would help the four of us.
Steve Hodges

Scandal Needed Addressing

Thank you Elaine Weeks for your very insightful editorial regarding the MFP scandal in the Feb. issue of The Walkerville Times. Your journalistic efforts proved very effective in putting Windsor’s current financial problems into a historical perspective. While local business publications seem to pander only to those who advertise in their periodicals, The Walkerville Times (which is mostly a neighbourhood magazine), still finds the time to tackle the tough issues personally affecting the taxpayers of Windsor. Keep up the good work!
J.B.W., Walkerville

Cavell and Peabody Connection

On picking up my copy of your great paper, I realized I’d missed the October 2001 issue, containing an article about my school, Edith Cavell!

So I picked it up at your office. (Thanks for the great service.) I never lived in Walkerville, but it played a large part in my growing up – Willistead Library for one. My parents came to this area in 1918-19. They had an apartment on Riverside Drive near Gladstone, within walking distance of Ford Power Plant where my dad worked. My mother had taught school in the north but had to update her certificate for city teaching. Instead she went to work in the Peabody building – sewing overalls for Peabody Overall Co.

My parents bought three lots on Jefferson, south of Ottawa St. (now Wyandotte) at Ontario, and built the first house on Jefferson at 153. My mother did substitute teaching at Edith Cavell after I started school in 1929 as we were within a block of the school, and Mr. Kelly, the principal could call on her at short notice. Keep up the good work.
Marianne (Smith) Mayberry, Windsor

Ed. Subscribe and you won’t miss a copy of The Times!

R.J. Cyr & Bob-Lo Connection

I read David Newman’s article with great interest as I have many fond memories of the island.

By way of correction, however, the Log Flume was installed in 1972 followed by the Thunder Bolt roller coaster in 1974. The roller coaster was an innovative design for the time and one of the first all-steel rides in North America. It was designed and fabricated in Japan and when the amusement park closed, it was unbolted and shipped to Mexico.

Both rides were installed by R. J. Cyr Co. of Windsor. The rides were initially tested using sand bags, but when it came time to be the first human riders, Lorenzo (Red) Browning, owner of the island and my dad, Ray (R.J) Cyr took the front seats. After they had deemed it “safe” they consented to give my sister and I the second seats.

Thanks for a blast from the past that is eternally etched and will never be forgotten.
Randy Cyr

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