Ouellette & University – July, 1958

Another old newspaper photo. Today’s shot is Ouellette and University Avenue, from July, 1958.

It’s interesting to see how much this block has changed over the years. The two buildings between the bank and the Kresge’s are now home to Chanoso’s and Oishii, and the Kresge Store has been replaced with a soulless, lifeless glass box Royal Bank building. Look at all the people out milling about, and shopping at stores where you can buy things…


39 Comments on Ouellette & University – July, 1958

  1. My mom used to buy us lunch at the Kresge lunch counter. Terrible food served by women all wearing pale green maid’s uniforms. Kresge’s also had a hardwood floor, which you don’t see anywhere anymore.

  2. Good Photo Andrew !!!!!! That was my favorite store ever ! Love Kresges ! It’s where i bought my make-up for the first time as a teenager lol !! back in 1984 !! Miss it so much !! Your the best Andrew thank you so much for this photo !! I will show my grandma !!! I miss the old downtown where i went shopping only !!

  3. Keith remember that staircase in the back of the store facing Pellisser st? where the bathrooms were? I loved there hardwood floors !! FOOD was #1 !!!! 50’s style diners miss it !

  4. The bank was the Imperial bank of Canada, corner of Ouellette and London where I worked in the 50’s. Many a lunch at Kresge’s too – and bought many a dozen donuts there, the old fashioned kind – fried. Does anyone know what is in the bank building now?

  5. Until the seventies the success of the downtown was built around retail as is clearly evident in these pics. That would probably ring true today as well.

    To Keith W…You had to know what to order at Kresges. One thing that you could either order for consumption there or buy for home cooking were their meet pies. The absolute best. The eating counter was a serpentine design so you were aleays eating with friends and strangers. Too cool. Everybody ate there. Journalists, business people, hourly people, shoppers, tourists. It was always packed. The food and dishes were transported up and down via a dumbwaiter and soda jerks were positioned at each turn of the counter.

    With today’s urban plazas being built around open air access it may not be a stretch to bring downtown’s popularity back on track. Retail and institutional are the key for sure. Proof is in the pics.

  6. The business signs are the best- somehow we lost our way- giving in to strip malls and moving the retail sector out to the cities’ extremities-how about those business signs- probably be deemed against a bylaw today!

  7. You are likely right about the signs, Chris. I remember reading that Million Dollar Saloon is keeping their big sign – even though they are/have completed major changes to the rest of the building – because they would never get permission for such a sign with the current by-laws.

  8. Andrew – you’ve gotta stop posting these pics of “the goold ole days”! It makes people long for something they can’t have, therefore creating feelings of abandonment and apathy. If the suicide rate spikes after posting pics like this, there’s nobody to blame but IM!

  9. Andrew, great stuff! Btw, CHWI used your postcard pictures from 1959 last night that showed the buildings that no longer stand…nice shout out to International Metropolis!

  10. I wish Kresge was still there. Nice place to have lunch at the counter when I lived downtown in the 80s. I think it could still do good business downtown if it was here. It’s where I always went to buy Kodachrome 64 film and blank tapes to record CJAM on in the mid 80s.

  11. Before the Red Maple Leaf flag an O CANADA, the Union Jack was also Canadas flag, the national athem was God Save the Queen. The Red Ensign was then and still is Ontarios flag.
    In 1958 people in the car plants where recovering from the Ford move to Oakville, and a slow down at Chrysler.
    The downtown was busy, as was Ottawa Street and Tecumseh Rd. east, because all the competition was Borwin Plaza with its Kressge store and Dominion store in Sandwitch West township.
    Also Kressge no longer exists and K-Mart,may soon follow.

  12. i was at the mall the other day, and with the amount of traffic there for a wednesday, i was thinking about what downtown would look like if all those people were there instead of the mall.

  13. Along with Keith and Lilly, I cherished Kresge’s hardwood flooring and the wonderful creaks it made when you were walking on it. With many layers of polish, it was a cantankerously noisey and lively floor; it enhanced the bustle of the place. It was fun to be in there.
    In the 80s, the front lunch counter had a congenial red-head (Julie?) who efficiently served up my cheeseburger deluxe for $2.50. It was a perfect meal for a university student. ~:-)

    And it’s great to see the way film holds up to the rigors of being blown-up in providing such great detail. Thank you, Andrew.

  14. I was quite young when my mom took me there for lunch. I do remember the soda jerks, I forgot about those, and Lily, I do remember the stairs, just one of the things that made that place memorable. Reading these comments though, it seems as if Kresge’s wasn’t really known for their wares, just the food counter and the ambiance of the place!

  15. I think M.O.M. is on the right track. There is a new development near Patillo Rd that I always yap about. The archtitecture is turn of the 20th century and the parking held down to a minimum (not a sea of asphalt like at the mall). If only we could do that in some of the vacant land downtown.

  16. Ahhh… Kresges…One could always find a gift for every occasion & for every budget !
    After classes in the afternoons (early to mid 60`s) , a bunch of us (St Mary`s high school students… decked out in our plaids & beanies !) head down to Kresges to share a cherrie coke & fries. The floats were the best !
    Carole Anne

  17. i look at all those old images of the downtown with kreesge’s and all the other cool old stores that i remeber shopping at with my mother and i get a warm feeling than i laugh because city council will never have the downtown of the 50’s by the way whats up with all the shawarma joints it’s getting rediculous now there next door to each other talk about saturation

  18. i can’t believe the 2nd photo of university and ouellette in the north bound lane 3 cars abreast of each other now!! that same corner today one lane and one turning lane so much for progress another thing you don’t see crowds on the streets downtown today most days you could fire a canon down ouellette and not hit anyone

  19. what i remember most about Kresge’s is the smell of the store both from the lunch counter and the section where you could buy things like macaroni and potatoe salad and other things to take home in the white boxs tired with string and the old wooden floors boy if i could be 7 years old again

  20. i don’t like the downtown that we are left with today it will never be the downtown we had in the 50s and 60’s i think city council is hoping we might have it like it was years ago but theier only pipe dreams

  21. I do not think any city council in the last forty years wanted the downtown we have today. When did the city tell buisnes to move out? The end of major retail was economics, the people followed the retailers to Dorwin, then Devonshire, Tecumsh, and Ambasador malls.The death of retail is caused by the consumer not the city council.

  22. There was nothing nicer than going to Kresge’s on a Saturday morning in the ’60’s when the cream puffs were fresh. The smell was heavenly and they were only 25 cents. I agree with the taste of the cherry cola, too. That could never be duplicated with today’s standards.
    I also remember the hardwood floors always being fairly clean even in the winter.
    My favorite part of the store was the trinket section where you could always buy a nice affordable gift for mom or dad especially when your allowance wasn’t more than a dollar.
    I have been away from Windsor for 15 years. When I went home a couple of years ago, it was so sad to see the downtown core in such sad shape.
    And when I do go home, I do not want to see a generic mall. And no matter how you design the stores, a mall is a mall everywhere you go.
    Carole Anne, BTW, I am St Mary’s Alumni too,so I can visualize everything you said.
    It’s a shame that there is nothing of the ecclectic businesses downtown to attract the people any more.

  23. Richard i understand what your saying but at the same time council has the power to say what business they would prefer to have in the core but if all you have is bar after bar and fast food after fast food joints people want to walk downtown on a friday or saturday night without feeling like their at a party alot of the problems windsor has with it’s core these days are a result of their own doing i remember 30 years ago i could walk down ouellette ave and window shop with out having to witness a couple kids beating each others brains out or vomiting from drinking too much

  24. Kari i’m not familiar with either of the two diners you mentioned and although the idea of a 50’s era diner is good the atmosphere Kresge’s had would be very dificult to dupicate also back then people were different than they are now

  25. I loved Kresges and went there all the time in the late 70’s &80’s. Does anyone have any pics of Kresges in the 70’s &80’s and pics inside the building too?

  26. The Metropoliton storeat Ouellette and Wyandotte st had a lunch counter similar to the one at Kresges but it never had the charm of Kresges

  27. I recall when Ouellette went from all the lanes as in the picture, to being narrowed, major malls like Devonshire had opened. At the time they were trying to create a sort of ‘mall like’ feel making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. They widened the sidewalks from the extra ‘driving lanes’. But I agree, I remember going shopping downtown with my mom in the 50s on a Saturday, and downtown Windsor looked a lot better in these pictures than it does now. But I think a lot of cities experimented with this idea too.

  28. last year just before christmas my neighbour gave me a few boxs of old tree oranments from the 50’s or 60’s and the price sticker on each box says Kresges talk bout feeling nostalgic

  29. Downtown has lost it’s special appeal since all of the good stores have been gone. It’s so sad. I haven’t gone there in years.

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