Pere Marquette Engine 801 – 1919

A neat old photo postcard of Engine 801. One the backside of the card is a ton of info about the engine.

It was built in 1904 by the Kingston Locomotive Company, it was construction number 401, and was originally owned by the Lake Erie and Detroit River Railway. That was Hiram Walker’s railroad that ran throughout Essex County.

The photo was taken at Walkerville, May 21, 1919 at the station looking north.

Interesting to see the Walker Power Building in the background. The City Inventory has the date of construction on that building as 1911-1913.

So either the date on the postcard is wrong, as the 4th floor is clearly under construction and being added to the building… Or the top floor was added later than originally though…

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** Please note with the Holiday tomorrow, International Metropolis is taking Friday off… Some people have Thursday off, some have Friday, whatever you get have a safe long weekend, and we’ll see you back here Monday. **

St. Anthony Of Padua

Today we scoot down to the corner of Parent and Shepherd, to St. Anthony of Pauda Hungarian Catholic Church.

The cornerstone of the church dates to 1931, and features, Latin, English and Hungarian.

Sadly this piece of Windsor’s ethnic past, isn’t long for this world…

The building underwent an engineering evaluation on November 30, 2009, and an emergency report was filed from the engineers on December 1, 2009…

The report read as follows:

    December 1, 2009

    Dear Sir:


    Further to your request, we attended the Church on November 30, 2009 to undertake a cursory structural
    review. It is our understanding that this request originated from concern for structural integrity based on
    the notable sagging and distortions in the roof plane and distress and cracking in the brick masonry walls.

    Our complete report will follow under separate cover. However, we would note that our examinations indicate
    that the source of the significant cracking of the masonry, the tilting outward of the side walls and the
    sagging of the roof (with the associated leaning of the cupola) is overstressed roof mainhames supporting
    the roof purlins which in turn support the roof rafters.

    In all cases, the mainframes are bent in the order of 4 inches. In one case, the mainframe nearest the
    cupola has rotated out of plane and the purlin brackets are bent and failing. In one case, the mainframe
    has failed in 2 locations with pulling through of the purlin bracket and fracturing of the top chord of the

    In short, we would indicate that two mainframes have failed and are no longer capable of assuming any further load.
    In all other cases, the frames have bent beyond serviceable limits and we would assess that these frames are
    no longer viable to support the loads to which the roof may be subjected.

    It is our opinion that the structural integrity has been significantly reduced in general and failure
    has occurred in 2 locations. A significant danger to public safety exists both from occupancy and
    catastrophic collapse which might affect persons in general proximity on the exterior.

    Except for shoring of the roof structure on the interior through to the basement which will prevent useful
    occupancy, we see no economical or “quick” fix with local reinforcings.

    In the meantime, should you require fuither discussion in the above regard, please do not hesitate to
    contact our office.

Following this report, the church was immediately closed, and the parishioners moved to another church.

It’s kind of hard to see here, but the cupola is leaning back towards the church roof ever so slightly…

The building is listed on the Heritage Register, giving a 60 day freeze on demolition permits. On May 18, 2010 a request was made for a demolition permit. The request came before the Windsor Heritage Committee on June 9, 2010. At that meeting it was decided to take no action to designate the property.

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So expect to see the bulldozers on site about July 16, 2010 as the 60 day period expires.


Windsor Waterfront – 1939

Up today is a panoramic photo of the Windsor Waterfront, from 1939. At the left is the old Station, to the right are the tracks…

Here’s a close up of the old CN station…

As always there are always some interesting details in these old photos…. Looks like some repairs are being made to the tracks.

Note the planking to cross the tracks… Also interesting to note the D.T. & I. railroad car. That railway was owned by Henry Ford from 1920 – 1929, and at one time the stretch from Detroit to Toledo was electrified.

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While the electrified line failed, to this day, some of the arches that carried the power lines are still standing, this shot above is just off of I-94 in Allen Park, MI.

Crawford Roundhouse Demolition

A big thank you goes out to Ian Deck, a regular reader and commenter on this site, for passing along these photos and allowing me to post them.

He took these photos the evening of June 15, 2010, as demolition started on the remains of Crawford Yard roundhouse.

Sad to see more of Windsor’s rail history disappear….

Photo from the John Stefani Collection

Above is a picture of the Crawford Roundhouse, date unknown.

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Here’s the location of the roundhouse. It’s kind of tucked out of the way, off Crawford.


The Commodore Supper Club

A recent addition to the collection… This postcard is one I hadn’t seen before…

From the back of the card:


    25 Chatham St., East
    Downtown Windsor, Canada
    Tel. CL 3-0427

    Famous for Steaks, Chops & Sea Food
    Featuring Dancing and Top Flight Entertain-
    ment Nightly. Business men’s luncheon served
    from noon daily.

The building still stands, and is today better known as the former home of Jason’s, currently home to Danny’s strip club. The building has a long history as an entertainment venue. Some history can be found here in this post from July, 2007.

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Looking at the current photos of the place, it looks like the frame around the “Commodore” sign in the 1950’s postcard is still there today, as the frame around the giant ugly awning.

It’s a shame that the 1950’s design didn’t survive, with the window and planter on the main floor tavern space… today the building is just an ugly mishmash of crap.In my opinion it is tired looking and a bit of an eyesore. There’s not must much that is visually pleasing on the Chatham St. facade.

Downtown Windsor – 1987

Up today is another old press photo, this one newer and the first one in colour. This shot taken Jan. 3, 1987 is looking north towards Detroit.

A nice view of the old Epps Facade…

The Bank at Ouellette and University was still open, and sporting the Bank of Commerce Sign.

On the side of the Security Building, check out the old 3 story neon CBC Radio sign (the studios used to be in the Security Building).

Have a safe weekend everyone, see you back here Monday.

Men Who Designed Windsor – John R. Boyde

John Boyde, 1929, from the Border Cities Star, during his time in partnership with J.C. Pennington.

From the Windsor Star – June 20, 1955


    A prominent Windsor architect, John R. Boyde, 156 McEwen, died at his residence Sunday after a short illness.

    Mr. Boyde was born in Buffalo, NY and came to Windsor 45 years ago from Hamilton. He was active in the Windsor Council of the Knights of Columbus, being a chartered member of the 3rd and 4th degree and a former grand knight. He was also a member of the Holy Name Society, Holy Name of Mary Church. He was retired.

    Mr. Boyde designed many of the beautiful Catholic churches and grad schools in the district. He was the architect for two Gothic structures, St. Peter’s Seminary and Bresica Hall, in London, Ontario. He began to design schools in outlying districts previous to his retirement.

    Besides several monuments in the district, he designed his own parish church.

    Mr. Boyde is survived by his widow, Julia nee Gleeson, one son, Rev. John P. Boyde, St. Peter’s Cathedral, London, two daughters, Rev. Sister John Julia, St. Joseph’s Convent, Windsor, and Mar-Jo, at home, one sister, Miss Mary Boyde, Hamilton.

    Funeral services will be from Janisse Brother Funeral Home, 1139 Ouellette, Wednesday at 9:30 am to Holy Name of Mary Church at 10.

    Burial will be in Heavenly Rest Cemetery.


Men Who Designed Windsor – Albert McPhail

From the Windsor Star, December 13, 1961:


    Albert Harold (Bert) McPhail, 73, architect for several of Windsor’s most prominent downtown business and office buildings and a resident of this city for the past 46 years, died Tuesday at Metropolitan General Hospital following an illness of several months.

    Mr. McPhail was born in Bruce Mines, Ontario, but from the age of eight, was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, where his father, the late Alexander McPhail, was the chief engineer on the Sault Locks.

    He received his elementary and secondary education at the Sault and at the age of 14 entered and architectural office in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where he remained until he was 19.

    At that time he became a partner in an architectural firm in Haileybury, with Stuart Moran. He remained there until 1912 when he returned to the Canadian Sault to open his own architectural office, staying there until 1915, when he moved to Windsor.

    C.H. Smith, prominent Windsor businessman, did much to encourage Mr. McPhail to come to Windsor and establish in the architectural field with Irving Walker.

    For a period in 1923 Mr. McPhail was suspended from the Ontario Architectural Association because he entered a competition for design of Assumption Street School. The competition, however, had not been approved by the association because it failed to meet standards.

    Mr. McPhail’s design won the competition and he was awarded the contract for the building design.

    He was responsible for the architecture and design of a number of Windsor’s best known downtown buildings. He designed the original Windsor Star building on Ferry Street and later designed the new building for The Star at Ferry & Pitt Sts.

    He also designed and supervised construction of the Canada Building, addition for the C.H. Smith department store, Prince Edward & Victoria Public Schools and the residence of Mrs. W. F. Herman on Riverside Dr. East.

    When his partner Mr. Walker, moved from the city, Mr. McPhail continued to maintain his own architectural office in the Canada Building.

    He was married in Sault Ste. Marie in 1912 to the former Louise Fawcett who resides at 2160 Lincoln Rd. A son Donald Burton, was killed while serving as a warrant officer pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. A daughter Helen Lousie Crawford, resides in Detroit.

    Funeral services will be at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home, 937 Ouellette Ave. at 1:30 pm Friday.


Downtown From Above – 1982

Another Friday, another old Press Photo… again today from the archives of the Detroit News, shot by staff photographer “Porter” July 20, 1982, a nice aerial photo of the two downtowns of Windsor and Detroit.

Interesting to note the area visible in this corner of Windsor was wiped out in the mid 1990’s with the preparations for Casino Windsor.