Paulin Memorial

At my opening reception, I was speaking with Architect Doug Johnson, of Johnson-McWhinnie. He told me that of all the buildings in the show, I missed the one his was most proud of designing. He told me it was a chuch right off of Norfolk, between Dominion and Dougall, and that I couldn’t miss it.

Apparently I some how overlooked what is perhap the most striking Mid-Century Structure in the City of Windsor.

There is nothing else like this Church in Windsor that’s for sure. My apologies to Mr. Johnson, for failing to include it in the exhibition (and the book).

Paulin Memorial Presbyterian Church, built 1963 – Johnson & McWhinnie Architects:

Christ The King

Add Christ the King at the corner of Dominion & Grand Marais to the list of vacant Catholic Churches. This place was built in a very traditional style in 1954.

It’s really a shame that the RC Church doesn’t realize that its greatest assets are its historic buildings. The mid 1950’s really marked an end of traditional church architectural design. The modern style influenced the next decade before non-traditional boxy styles took over through the 1970’s.

Hopefully a use is found for the building, without requiring demolition.

Turkish Scrap

A long time fixture on the Great Lakes, and even longer as a tied up hulk on Windsor’s West Side, the S.S. Aquarama, is nearing the end of her days, and is awaiting the end in a Turkish Scrapyard.

The postcard above was postmarked 1957 and the caption on the back read as follows:

“AQUARAMA”, new luxurious passenger cruiser on the Great Lakes.


News of her demise was carried in the Muskegon Chronicle
. As I’m not sure how long their archives stay, up, there’s a copy below:

Former cruise ship Aquarama to be scrapped
Posted by Robert C. Burns September 21, 2007 22:49PM

The SS Aquarama in 1962 – Chronicle file photo

Anointed as “Queen of the Great Lakes” — nearly a city block long and seven stories high — the SS Aquarama is now in a Turkish shipbreaking yard on the verge of becoming a pile of razor blades.

With its stern pointed toward downtown Muskegon, The SS Aquarama was a fixture of the city’s lakefront, if only in the sense that it never once moved from its mooring at the foot of Third Street for 25 years, until a new owner towed it away in 1988.

Jim Plant, for one, was sorry to see it leave.

“I couldn’t believe the turnout when they towed the Aquarama out of here,” says Plant, who serves on the Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Association board.

“It was born here and it spent a lot of its life here. It’s a big part of our history.”

Although most of its life was spent on Lake Erie, sailing between Detroit and Cleveland, many lined up to tour the 520-foot Aquarama during its last week in Muskegon, marveling at its restaurants, bars, lounges, movie theaters and recreation areas, and wishing, perhaps, that things had turned out differently.

Plans by the new owner, Canadian James Everatt, to convert the former cruise ship into a floating hotel and convention center in Port Stanley, Ont., never materialized. Another plan, floated in the mid-1990s, to turn the ship into a huge casino in Buffalo, N.Y., also went bust.

The ship’s final chapter began last July 15 when the rusting behemoth was towed from Buffalo to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, for a two-week layover.

Muskegon community leaders and members of the media board the Great Lakes Cruise Ship Aquarama. Circa 1988. – Chronicle file photo

The SS Aquarama passes through the channel with other boats trailing in her wake. – Chronicle file photo

On Aug. 4, according to a blog at, it was hooked to the Greek tug Aetos Z and towed to the Aegean seaport of Aliaga, Turkey, to be whittled away into scrap.

The ship, worth a reported $1 million as scrap steel, arrived there Aug. 10 and awaits its demise.

Originally built in 1944 as a C-4 military transport called the Marine Star, it was purchased by Sand Products Co. of Detroit in 1953 and towed to Muskegon, where it was retrofitted at a cost of $5 million.

The job was completed in 1955. With its new superstructure, built by Muskegon’s Steel Fabricating Co., the newly rechristened Aquarama was the largest cruise ship on the Great Lakes.

Within three years after the Aquarama was refurbished, the city of Muskegon adopted a “Port City” logo featuring a ship that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Aquarama.

Following shakedown cruises and a series of “goodwill” visits to Great Lakes ports, the Aquarama was put to work as an excursion vessel running between Detroit and Cleveland from 1957-62. However, it proved ill-suited for that use.

For the complete story, return to on Saturday, or pick up a copy of Saturday’s Muskegon Chronicle.

The SS Aquarama – Chronicle file photo


Thanks to reader Rich B – Who sent along thoses old Windsor Star scans from his collection:


Here’s a few more. Thanks to regular reader Shawn Micallef for sending these shots of the Aquarama tied up in Bufflao from November 2006.

Bye-Bye Cat House

Not sure if you remember last year there was an article about a house that had been abandoned, and was full of cats? The Humane Society came in and removed a double digit number of cats. The house at 1040 Windermere Rd. has been empty ever since and was eventually condemned.

The Building Eater is in the back yard ready to go to work.

Looks like they are trying to do some salvage before demolition. It will likely be a tricky one to remove based on its close proximity to its neighbours.

I was over at my parents yesterday who live nearby, and the putrid smell of cat urine a feces is eye wateringly prevalent even curbside of this house.

It’s a shame, and will leave a big hole in the tight residential streetscape. The house is a two story brick house with a real stucco covering on the second floor. There is also some nice green tiles inset on the front porch.

Hopefully, some thought and planning will go into whatever replaces this vacant lot.

Shouldn’t be too long till it’s gone, so go take a last look at this Walkerville house before it’s in the landfill.

RIP Slumpy – 1893 -2007

As I posted the last weekend, Ol’ Slumpy over in Detroit, finally met the bulldozer. It’s sad that there is such a general disregard for built heritage in North America. Something like this would never happen in Europe, where culture seems to be of higher importance.

I have recently discovered that this house was the first building designed by a young architect working for the Detroit firm of Mason & Rice. That young architect’s name? Albert Kahn. The house was designed for William Livingston, who was born in Dundas, Ontario just outside of Hamilton. The Livingston shipping channel in the Detroit River is named for him.

Here’s a look back a Slumpy through the years.




Feb. 2007

April 2007

Sept. 2007

839 Assumption

The four pictures in today’s post to me sum up everything that’s wrong with this city.

When I see moronic renovations like this it makes me think there is no hope.

One of my readers sent me an email this spring, saying the house at 839 Assumption was up for sale. I drove by to check it out, only to see the “SOLD” signs already on the lawn. I came home a punched it up on the MLS site, and saw it had been listed for $49,000. Yowsers, that’s cheap!

I drove by a month or two ago, and there was nothing new going on. For some reason, I drove by yesterday afternoon, and noticed that it’s been…. uh,”renovated”.






According to my research the house was built around 1906. It’s sad how a century of history can be bashed away and covered with vinyl siding. All the trim and the fan from the front peak? Gone! The century old porch details and columns? Gone!

There are a million houses in the core that look like the “now” shot, but very few “before”‘ houses. Most people however, just don’t care.


BTW – Great job picking those narrow windows that don’t open. Just what everyone wants, windows that don’t open.

801 & 819 Ouellette

Recently news came out that the two properties at 801 and 819 Ouellette were sold, and are being prepared for demolition.

I went out and shot them the other day, the buildings are probably best remeberd as Joker’s Bar and Mother’s Pizza. I figured the Joker’s building was from the 1930’s with the Mother’s building a fair bit older…

Needless to say, I was shocked to discover that neither were present on the last fire insurance map, meaning they both came later than 1937.

So off to the Library I went to go digging through old directories.

The former Mother’s Pizza building at 819 Ouellette was built in 1939.

It was home to an A&P Grocery Store from 1940 – 1975. The building is shown as vacant in 1976, and as Mother’s from 1977 – 1992. The 1993 directory shows the buiding as vacant, which it has been ever since. As for A & P closing, I think the A & P on Goyeau opened around 1975, so the store likely moved to a new space on the former Patterson Secondary Site, rather than closing. Today it is a Food Basics.

  • A & P 1940 – 1975
  • Vacant – 1976
  • Mother’s – 1977 – 1992
  • Vacant – 1993 – 2007
  • The building at 801 Ouellette was built sometime between 1953-1957. When I was at the library the directories from 53-57 were missing. There was nothing in the 52 directory and the building was listed in the 58 guide.

    It was built as the Archibald Rose Furniture Company. They moved from a location on Sandwich St. This might have been when building were being cleared on the north side of Ouellette Ave. for Dieppe Park. c. 1954-55. In the mid 60’s (more missing directories) it became a Leon’s Furniture store (maybe Rose was bough out?), Then a Mac’s before becoming Jokers.

  • A. Rose Furniture – c. 1955 – c 1966
  • Leon’s Furniture – c. 1966 – 1984
  • Mac’s Convienience 1984 – 1991
  • Vacant – 1992
  • Joker’s 1993 – 2005 ?
  • Club 801 – 2006 – 2007

  • The pictures speak for themselves, but it’s a rather handsome structure. Great brickwork too. It will be a huge loss to the downtown streetscape. More loss of density.

    A HDR shot of the former A&P/Mother’s Building at 819 Ouellette.

    A HDR shot of the former Joker’s building at 801 Ouellette.