Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Niagara Falls, Then and Now: Buildings lost, buildings found (PART SEVEN)

below: Sept.20, 1927 - looking north along the curve of River Rd. towards the Michigan Central bridge in the distance (the bridge was opened in 1925, so it was only two years old in this photo); Park St. would be just behind the log cabin seen at the left. Just past the bridge, in the centre-bottom of the photo, can be seen the International Great Gorge route streetcar station.
above: same view, Sept 16, 2009 - almost 82 years later; now a motel is at the left, on the south west corner of River Rd. and Park St., where the log cabin had once stood. In the distance, a large, razor-wired border wall now sits on top of the now-abandoned old Michigan Central bridge.
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Click on any photo to enlarge!
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below: 1939 - looking at a steam locomotive which has just entered into Canada from the States over the Michigan Central bridge. The engine is photographed as it approaches the bridge over then-Clifton Ave. (known as Zimmerman Ave. today), seen along the bottom. This photo looks at the bridge from its north side, standing on Clifton Ave., just east of Park St. At the left of photo is the corner of a building which stood on the south-east corner of Park St. and Clifton Ave.; this building once housed the Niagara Record newspaper (see also here)

The train below was literally seconds from entering the Michigan Central station, which stood just a block away from this bridge (at the south-east corner of Queen St. and Erie Ave.) At the time of this photo, the Michigan Central railroad station was still in use; it would be demolished two years later, in 1941.

above: same view, Sept 2009. The building once seen at the left is gone. The track right of way above is now abandoned and overgrown, with the rails removed, but the bridge still stands and is open for traffic below. It is a very low bridge; when walking on the sidewalk under it, you almost have to stoop!
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below: Feb. 1978, looking at Magistrate Hill's house on the north west corner of Queen St. and Cataract Ave. Note another house along Queen St. to the left, and note a part of a motel balcony in the right distance.

above: same view, Sept 2009 - this intersection has all changed; the houses along Queen St. (which were to the left) have all been torn down on this block, and Cataract Ave. has been dead-ended north of Queen St., so that there is no longer a corner known as "Queen and Cataract". Now, Queen St. has been widened (where Cataract and Queen and River Rd. had once met at a triangle) so that today, only Queen St. and River Rd. meet.
Cataract Ave. is still there, but now ends in the centre-right background of above photo. (see map here)
The same motel from earlier is still seen in the rear. The magistrate's house would have been where the now-grassed area now is, just past the red fire hydrant, seen in the centre-right of photo. The red hydrant is seen in both above shots, and its location has likely not changed, thereby giving a good idea of where the house had stood in relation to it.
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below: looking at the Whirlpool Bridge from the Canadian side, date not known.
above: Sept. 2009, same view. This bridge still carries rail traffic over the Niagara River on the top deck, the lower deck is a Nexus-only passage for cars. Note bridge piers are in the process of receiving a bit of maintenance work.
above: Oct.2, 2009 - same view. The distinctive lattice-webbed steel support columns, so familiar all these years under the Whirlpool Bridge, have now been imbedded in concrete, including at the base, where previously the steel columns curved out to a riveted footplate, as seen in both earlier photos.
above: Oct.5, 2009, same view - the Whirlpool Bridge's newly-concreted steel piers, are now being faced with stone-type veneer blocks.
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below: Sept.10, 1932 - looking from the north at the wooden Whirlpool Rapids Incline shed on River Rd.
below: ca.1930, looking at the Incline from the south. Note the streetcar of the Great Gorge route stopped beside the building.

above: 1936 - looking at the new stone Whirlpool Rapids Elevator building: the days of the incline were over.
above: same view, Aug.7, 2009.
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below: Jul.12, 1960 - a work crew breaking rocks in the hot July Niagara sun, at the north-west corner of Bridge St. and River Rd.
The Whirlpool Bridge abutment is seen at the far right. Note the Royal Hotel (second building from the left, on the south side of Bridge St.) Note the Imperial Bank building in the distance. As commenter Millstone noted, there is a signpost at the centre-right (click on photo to get a better view) with the old Hwy. 8 shield on it.

above: Sept.9, 2009 - the same view where the men were seen working earlier; the same Whirlpool bridge abutment carrying trains and cars between the United States to Canada is still seen at the right; the Royal Inn Hotel is gone; the building with the green flat roofline is the same one, with its crenelated facade seen earlier above at the far left, now covered. The former Imperial Bank still stands in the distance, but the building which was seen standing just in front of it, is now gone.
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below: Oct. 1975 - closer view of the Royal Inn Hotel, which was on the south side of Bridge St., just west of Cataract Ave. The building with the crenelated roofline stood on the corner, at the left.

above: Sept.9, 2009 - the Royal Inn's site is now vacant. The same building still stands on the corner at left, with its crenelated brick covered in a green metal facade. The blue building in the distance is also seen in the earlier photo.
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below: Sept.20, 1927 - looking north along River Rd., standing under the Michigan Central railroad bridge. The Whirlpool Bridge is in the distance, just north of Bridge St. Note the International Railway Co.'s Great Gorge route streetcar station in the centre. Note three-storey brick building at the south west corner of Bridge St. and River Rd.

above: same view, Sept.9, 2009 - the streetcar station is long gone, now cars travel where the tracks were. The brick building at the left is gone; now a small kiosk stands on the corner site. The Michigan Central Bridge is closed and razor wired; the Whirlpool Bridge in the distance is still open for cars and trains.
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below: c.1910 - looking at the same view as above: the Whirlpool Bridge is still in the distance; the streetcar station is seen at the right, just north of the Michigan Central bridge.
The NFLA notes this station, erroneously, as being an Erie and Ontario station, but, by 1910, this would have been an International Railway Company (IRC) station, which had bought the former Niagara Falls Park and River Railway in 1901. This was not an Erie and Ontario station.
In 1892 the NFPRR built tracks (which opened for business on May 24, 1893) from the ferry docks in Queenston (on the lower Niagara River) to Niagara Falls; and later in 1895, to the ferry dock (Slater's dock) in Chippawa, on the Upper Niagara River.
This scenic route ran along the top of the escarpment on the Canadian side, on Niagara Parks Commission lands (along where River Rd. and the parkway run today); part of this route would later become the Canadian side of the famous Great Gorge streetcar route, which itself was discontinued in 1932.
The NFLA also claims that the wooden-frame building at left is the Elgin Hotel at Clifton Hill, but, this photo was certainly taken at Bridge St., nowhere near Clifton Hill!
The hotel being named Elgin is natural, for this area was first known as the Village of Elgin (after Lord Elgin) which sprouted here when the first Suspension Bridge was opened in 1848, on the same spot where the Whirlpool Bridge still is today.

above: Aug.12, 2009 - same view, taken from under the Michigan Central bridge. The Whirlpool Bridge is still seen in the distance in both above shots. The site where small kiosk building now sits (along the left, on the south-west corner of Bridge St. and River Rd.), is where the wooden-framed Elgin hotel (seen in the 1910 shot above), and later the three-storey brick building (seen in the 1927 shot above) once stood.
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below: a photo from the Jan.21, 2009 Niagara This Week showing a snowplow which tipped over just barely on the south side of the abandoned Michigan Central bridge.

above: same view, Jul.9, 2009. Depending on the circumstances, that snowplow could have gone off the road to the right and into the gorge! The streetcars which once ran here used the bridge bays seen in the far right and in the foreground. The third bay, out of frame at the left, was used for cars and horses travelling on River Rd.
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below: 1930 - looking at the Michigan Central bridge from the north - all three bays can be seen under the bridge. The International Railway Co. streetcar station is seen again in the foreground, with three streetcars of the Great Gorge Route seen at the left. At the far right is seen a bit of the brick building seen earlier above, which stood on the south east corner of Bridge St. and River Rd. By 1932, this route was to be no more.

above: same view, Sept.9, 2009. The bridge bay at the left now carries a sidewalk and some lawn. The road heading to the bottom left is the NEXUS - only entrance leading to the Whirlpool Bridge crossing to the U.S.
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below: Cars lined up at the Shell Station on the north side of Bridge St., (just opposite Crysler Ave.) with Cataract Auto in the background, date of photo unknown, pos. mid-70's.

above: same view, Aug.2009, the pumps are gone, and the garage has a third bay added. The sign in the distance (with the wrapped, pointing arrow) is seen in both above photos.
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below: Another Shell Station photo, described in the NFLA notes as taken in June, 1967, of Porter's White Rose on 1201 Bridge St. However, I soon found that the notes were wrong, at least as far as the location goes; not sure of the date or name of owner, either. I found that in 1967, at 1201 Drummond Rd., there had been a Kennington's Shell.
above: Sept.21, 2009 - eventually, I found it - this is the same view of the former Shell station. This station is located on the west side of Drummond Rd. opposite Sidney St. Some of the same houses, and the same field, are still seen in the distance. Note the same floodlight at the left side.
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below: Aug.19, 2009 - looking west along the north side of Park St., at the block between Zimmerman Ave. and Erie Ave. (in the distance)

above: ca. Oct 1975, same view - there was a Lion's office in the building at the right; further up in the green-trimmed building was Lococco's Fruit market; with a laundromat located further to its left (west) side (seen with the white front in the far left distance). A Michigan Central railroad track had once crossed Park St., between the laundry and the farther brick building seen in the far upper left. (That white little building on Park St.was demolished around the first week of November, 2011)  
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below: May, 1979, looking at the north-east corner of Morrison St. and Crysler Ave. at a home on the corner after a fire.

above: Sept, 2009 , same view, the site where the home had stood is a parking lot.
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The older historical photos of Niagara Falls in this study are from the NFLA, Niagara Falls, Ontario Library archives Recent photos are by R. Bobak. Hope you enjoyed them!
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See the next part of this series at Niagara Falls Then and Now, Buildings Lost and Found, PART EIGHT
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Thanks for visiting Right In Niagara!
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1 comment:

Millstone said...

You missed the best part of the Jul 12 1960 photograph at Bridge/River Rd -- the King's Highway 8 shield in the distance.