Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Niagara Falls Then and Now: Erie Ave. at the Bus Terminal (Part THIRTEEN)

1 above: aerial view, date not known, pos. c.1975 (because the 'new' bus terminal has not been built yet). The Niagara Falls CN train station is the blue-looking building at the top left.
In this photo, Bridge St. runs east-west at the top, along the tracks.
Erie Ave. runs north-south at the left side of photo.
Queen St. runs east-west at the lower part of photo.
The block where the red dot is at the centre-left (which is along the west side of Erie Ave., between Bridge St. and Park St.) is how the area looked prior to the present Niagara Falls bus station being built there.
All the orange dots mark buildings which (as of Sept. 2009) are no longer here. The yellow dots mark railway tracks that are now gone.
The building with the red mark (near the upper left) is also seen in photo 12 below.
Note that a portion of the CN Niagara falls roundhouse (now demolished) is seen at the very top.
The abutment of the CN railroad bridge to the United States is seen at the upper right; a bit below it is the curved track (now abandoned) of the Michigan Central leading to its bridge just out of frame to the right, which also crosses over the Niagara River here to the U.S.
                                 Click on photos to enlarge! 2 aboveDec.11, 1956, Niagara Falls, Ont., Library's historical archive notes that this is the 'Montagna house' on Park St., but it is not clear which one it was, or, where it was on Park St.
At first, due to the angle of the tracks seen in the foreground, I thought that the above photo was looking at the north-side of Park St. just west of Erie Ave., east of where the Michigan Central tracks once crossed Park St. (see satellite map further down in photo 24) Note that there appear to be two sets of  tracks crossing Park St.
I thought that the house at the far right (in photo 2) was the same house on the corner as seen in photo 11 below (the 'bakery store'); but clearly the 'bakery building' in photo 11 had no centre gable, as the one above in photo 2 does, which led me to guess that these three houses on Park St. might have been slightly to the west of the corner house seen in photo 11, which stood on north-west corner of Erie and Park.
I also thought that these three houses must have been still east of where the tracks crossed Park St., my assumption being that the tracks seen above were heading north-west (to the upper left) as they crossed Park St. This led me to think that these three houses must have been where the Niagara Transit bus repair depot now is, as seen in photo 3 below.
However, I now confirm that the tracks seen above in photo 2 were headed south-east at the upper left, making Ontario Ave. as the street seen heading off southward at the far right.
In 1945, there were three houses listed as being between the New York Central Freight Sheds (which were just to the east (left) out of frame of the above shot) and Ontario Ave. at the right.
It is likely that the house seen in photo 2 at the far right was 364 Park St., home of L. Kulchar; this house stood at the south-east corner of Park St. and Ontario Ave. (see also photo 32 below). The house in the middle was 352 Park St., home of Joseph Montagna; and at the left, at 344 Park St., stood the home of Samuel Mariglia (sic).
By 1955, the Cashmores were at 364 Park St.; at 344 Park was Mrs. Mary Marigla (sic, pos. misspelled); the Montagnas were still at 352 Park St. (It's possible that these three homes were already built by 1856 (see map in photo 28) where it looks as if the three houses are already marked on the map)
3 above: Sept.9, 2009 - behind the trees at centre-left is where the bus repair garage now is, on the north-side of Park St. (this where I first thought the three 'Montagna' photo houses had been: after all, the angle of the tracks in the foreground is the same.)
The bus terminal building is seen at the right with the green roof (also seen in photos 14, 19, and 22). At the far upper right is a corner of the former Hotel Trennick.
The Mears Coal office (see photos 9 and 10 below) would have been in the triangular lot in the centre-right, to the right of where the white truck is.
The parking lot spaces seen angled along the bottom are where the New York Central Freight shed used to stand, along the west side of the track right-of-way, still seen where the grass strip runs.above: Mar.2, 2010 - THIS view is the actual matching view of where the three houses seen in the 'Montagna House' (photo 2) had been: they had stood on the south-side of Park St., just east of Ontario Ave. (see photo 24 below for satellite view of the area)
Photo 4 looks south, across Park St., taken from the west-end front of the bus garage - the site where the three houses had stood is now a parking lot in the distance (where the red car is).
This parking lot, where the three houses had stood, is on the south-east corner of Park St. and Ontario Ave.
Though the double-tracks are now gone, the asphalt still shows the same angle at which the Michigan Central right-of-way crossed Park St. (seen between the red lines)
In photo 4 the tracks at the upper-left headed south-east across Park St., making this the correct 'today' photo to the original Montagna house photo 2. (see also photo 39 below)
The now-demolished NYC Freight Terminal sheds and the John Mear Coal building (see photos 7 and 9 below) had once stood on the south side of Park St., just to the left of the parking lot in photo 4.
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5 below: Mar.23, 1956 - looking east down Park St., towards Erie Ave. The building at the centre-left (on the north-west corner of Erie and Park) is the same one (the bakery store) which was also seen in photos 11 and 13 below. The building at the near-left would have been where the driveway entrance to the bus terminal now is.
The three buildings which were in the Montagna photo 2 would have been immediately to the right of where the photographer was standing (i.e. behind the workman's back, at the right). The part of Park St. where the railroad tracks crossed must have been just behind the photographer. (I wonder if the tracks were temporarily removed during this project, or did the road crew have to tunnel under the tracks?)
Also, in the centre-far-right distance (just to the right of the workman's hardhat) is the open garage-door of the Mears Coal office (as also seen in photo 9 ).
above:  the same view of Park St. in 2009; photo taken standing on the spot where the tracks used to cross Park St. The bus garage now sits at the left. The old Customs and Post Office building can be seen in the far distance in both above photos.
(Update: There is a white building with a yellow canopy, seen in the centre distance, standing on the north-east corner of Erie Ave. and Park St. - this building was torn down on Jun. 5, 2014. A week or so earlier, the row of three red brick buildings seen beside it, were also demolished, as was a fifth building [lastly known as the Sui Sun restaurant, which in this photo is hidden behind the corner pillar of the bus garage]. These demolitions were precipitated when the rear of one of the red brick buildings had partially collapsed on May 10, 2014, seriously affecting the neighbouring structures.)
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below: photo date 1963 - looking north along Erie Ave. from Queen St., towards Bridge St. in the distance. A part of the 'Bakery building' (seen in photo 11) is visible in the far centre-left distance, standing on the north-west corner of Erie Ave. and Park St.
The railroad tracks can be seen in the foreground, running in front of Rosbergs corner doors, heading north across Erie Ave. from the bottom right (where the Michigan Central station once was) and turning north-west just after passing the rear of the Bank of Commerce building at the left; they would then angle-cross Park St. at a point slightly west of Erie Ave.
On the west side Erie Ave., just before Park St., is seen a building on the triangular lot created by the railroad cutting through (in the photo below it is the building in the centre-left distance, just behind the single parked car; this is also where the old Niagara Falls market square used to be); this was the New York Central Passenger and Freight Terminal, which gave 617 Erie Ave. as its address (listed in 1945, and 1955). I'm not sure when these NYC terminal buildings were torn down.
A fuzzy view of this freight terminal can also be seen in the above aerial photo 1, at the far centre-left, although I didn't mark it with an orange dot - it was so shadowy I missed it! This NYC freight shed can also be seen in photo 26 below.
Just above the NYC terminal on photo 1 there is a building (standing on the on the south-west corner of Erie Ave. and Park St.) marked with an orange dot: this was 601 Park St., where (as of 1955, at least) the John Mears Coal Co. office had been (see photo 9).
This New York Central terminal was a different station from the Michigan Central station, which had once been located just out of frame of the below photo (behind and to the right of where the photographer was standing).
I've yet to learn whether this NYC terminal was a replacement to the 1941-demolished older MC station; or, when it was built/demolished; or how long (or even if) it was ever actually used for passengers, or was it just a freight office; also, haven't yet found any close-up photos of this station, either! Strange!
If you look at the centre-right of aerial photo 26 below, you can see a long shed paralleling the tracks as they angle SE down and out of frame. That is the NYC shed which ran at this angle from Park St., towards Erie Ave., behind the Mears building sitting on the corner.
Note that in photo 26 the NYC shed is clearly seen standing along the west side of the MCR tracks as they exit onto Park St.; however, in aerial photo 1 above, the building that is most likely the terminal (as opposed to the shed) is clearly seen on the east side of the tracks as they enter from Erie Ave.
So, if we were looking southwards along Erie Ave., starting from the SW corner of Erie Ave. and Park St., we would have seen the Mear Coal office standing on the corner; the next building to the south would have been the NYC terminal; then came the tracks which angled in from Erie Ave.; and then we would have seen the angled side/rear-wall of the Bank of Commerce.
The NYC freight shed was clearly seen in photo 26 as running along the west side of the tracks on the Park St. side; but how far the shed came towards the Erie Ave. side is not clear. Did a part of the NYC shed (or sheds?) continue all the way to Erie Ave. on the west side of the tracks - that is to say, all the way to near the rear of the Bank of Commerce?? I think the angle of the tracks (where they left Erie Ave. and passed the rear of the bank) left little room there for a building; the shed must have started a little farther up the track, but, there probably was an access here on the west side of the tracks, behind the bank, to get to the shed.
As seen below, there had once been two sets of tracks running here along Erie Ave., in front of Rosbergs: in this 1963 photo, it looks like there is only one track, the east one, closer to Rosbergs. To the west (closer to the Bank of Commerce), the asphalt patch suggests the other line was already closed and covered.
Another question is how far did both tracks go; in photo 2, taken in Dec. 1956, it looks like both tracks crossed Park St., but did they both continue north-west, towards the corner of Victoria Ave. and Bridge St.?  (I clearly remember in the 1990's that only one track ran along the front of the houses along the north-side of Park St., closer to Victoria Ave.; was this previously double-tracked here as well?)
Note that the rear of the bank building at the left had been angled-off to follow the tracks, as had been the front corner of Rosbergs.
8 above: same view as previous photo, Mar.20, 2009 - the tracks along Erie Ave. are gone, Rosbergs store is empty, and the former bank is a variety store. The Mear coal office and NYC freight shed buildings on the triangular lot are gone (two tall evergreens are seen there now), as are all the old buildings seen in photo 7 above which were on the left (west) side of Erie Ave. between Park St. and Bridge St. Many of the original buildings on the east side of Erie Ave., however, are still here. [note: a massive fire destroyed the Rosbergs building in Oct. 2009]
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below: July 1971, shows the John Mear Coal and Coke building, facing Erie Ave., on the SW corner of Park St. and Erie Ave. The New York Central terminal buildings mentioned earlier most likely had once been behind the Mear building, running in a north-west angle, from Erie Ave. (just to the left (south) of the Mear building photo below), back towards Park St. in the right rear distance.
In this 1971 shot it looks like the train sheds are gone; and so through the garage door at the right the view is looking west up Park St., towards the area where the three houses in the Montagna photo 2 had stood!!
Also, if you refer back to photo 5 from earlier above, and look into the centre-right distance of photo 5, you will also see the open-garage of the Mears Coal building.
10 above: Apr. 2010 - same view where the Mear Coal building had stood; it's now sort of a triangular parkette, with a parking lot in the rear; this triangular area can be clearly seen in the centre of the aerial photo 24 below. At the right is the bus garage.
11 above: this photo looks at the north-west corner of Erie Ave. and Park St. This building on the corner once housed a bakery, as seen in photo 13 below. Photo date not known, though Park St. looks to have been one-way heading west at the time.
(Niagara Falls Ont. Library Archive incorrectly notes this photo as being located at Culp and Main, but the building is clearly at the NW corner of Erie and Park). The building at the far right is the same one seen in photo 12.
12 above: The NFLA notes this is part of the Buckley block, built in 1881 and demolished 1976. Date of this photo not known. Clearly the corner building (the 'bakery' seen in photo 11) has already been demolished when this photo was taken, as seen by the now-vacant lot at the left. Also, there is seen a vacant lot to the right (north) as well. By the car this is a mid-70s photo. 13 above: amazingly, this is the same corner (the north-west corner of Erie Ave. and Park St.) as it looked in 1907! The building on the corner at the far left is the same one seen in photo 11. It appears to be possibly the Wales/Wanless/Naples? Bakery Restaurant.
(Niagara Falls, Ont. Library Archive photo notes erroneously this is at Erie and Queen; clearly, as I have shown, it's Erie Ave. and Park St.).
The next building beside it, to the right, is the same building seen in photos 11 and 12 above.
Next, is seen a three-storey building with two small gabled dormers; next, a two-storey building with its side gable facing Erie Ave.; next, a two-storey brick building with an ornate flat-top facade: these last three buildings can be clearly seen in photo 16 below. (unless there is a building set back hidden from view here!)
At the far end of this block (seen at the far-right of above photo, on the south-west corner of Erie Ave. and Bridge St.) stood the Imperial Hotel, with the tall chimneys.
It is unclear whether, at the time of this 1907 photo, there was a building directly to the south of the Imperial Hotel, between the hotel and the building with the ornate flat-top facade: in photos 18 and 20, there clearly was some kind of structure there (in 1956, the Louis Restaurant was there.)
But in this 1907 photo above, that spot (just to the south of the Imperial Hotel) might not have been built upon yet, because there had once been a railroad track {known as the 'Mary Ann track'} cutting through this location, as well!
I am not certain through which lot the Mary Ann track had gone: through the lot on the SW corner of Bridge and Erie, where the Imperial Hotel had been; or, through the lot where the Louis had been - both lots were angled to align with the tracks as the Mary Ann right of way crossed Erie Ave. from the south-side of the Trennick Hotel (see photo 23)
To get to the rear of the Trennick, this Mary Ann track had crossed Queen St. [see photo here] at a point slightly east of Erie Ave. (what was later to be the east side (ie. rear) of the future Rosbergs building); then it crossed Park St. at a point just east of Erie Ave. [see photo here] and curved in a north-westerly direction just behind (south of) the rear of the Trennick Hotel; it then crossed Erie Ave. at a point just slightly south of Bridge St., [see map on photo 28] heading onto the west side of Erie Ave., passing through either the lot where the Imperial House Hotel, or, the building which once housed the Louis Restaurant, had been.
The Imperial Hotel had stood on a triangular lot on the SW corner of Erie and Bridge (see photos 18 and 23). At some point this 'Mary Ann' rail right-of-way must have been closed off, and a building, which would have faced onto busy Erie Ave., was later built upon it. It is possible, if the Imperial Hotel was built prior to the Louis building, that the Imperial's rear (south-side) wall was built at an angle (as seen in photo 18) to accommodate the existing tracks, making the Louis building the one to be built later on the closed track-right-of-way; but, it is also possible that if the Louis building was built first, then its north-side wall was angled (see photos 18 and 23) to face the tracks, making the Imperial the one built on the closed track-right-of-way at a later date.
In photo 18 you can see that the rear (south-side) of the Trennick, in the background, was also angled to make room for the tracks.
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13a below: an 1860 map shows the 'Mary Ann track' - it is highlighted in blue. Note that these track configurations have changed over the years. Even here in this map, the blue track (the Mary Ann track) actually crosses Bridge St., and connects to the Great Western tracks - it is NOT shown connecting to the Erie and Ontario track - in fact, it crosses the EandO track (at the area circled in green - which appears to be in the middle of Bridge St. (?!).
Note that the track marked in dotted orange is shown heading into Canada off the Suspension Bridge, and immediately going onto Bridge St., crossing with the blue line, and then continuing on to the Park St. run.
At some point in the future, the portion of tracks marked in dotted orange was removed - this track was still shown running down Bridge St., as seen in the 1894 map in photo 25; and it was still shown running right along Bridge St. in 1925, in photo 29.
At some point, the RED line was built to join the E and O run along Park St  - it was already shown in existence on the 1894 map in photo 25. This is the line which went along Erie Ave., then cut through what was supposed to have been the Niagara Falls market square, and then crossed Park St. to join the  E and O run.
After the new Cantilever Bridge was opened in 1883 to compete with the neighbouring Suspension Bridge, the connection to the new bridge was made by a line marked in yellow.
The site of the Imperial Hotel is shown in the red X, just beside the green circle. The blue Mary Ann track was partially abandoned, so it no longer crossed Erie Ave. at Bridge St., and so it became a small stub which still crossed Queen St. and Park St., and dead-ended somewhere behind the Trennick Hotel. Note that Park St. is still shown ending at then-Welland Ave., and note that Ontario Ave. is shown running to Bridge St.
14 above: Sept.1, 2009 - this is the exact same view as in photo 13 - now, the Niagara Falls Bus Terminal occupies this stretch of Erie Ave., between Park St. to Bridge. St.
The old Bakery building (as seen in photos 13 and 11) had once stood on the corner where the bus shelter now is, at the far left.
15 above: buildings along the west side of Erie Ave. being demolished. This photo date is not known, but the notes with photo 16 say the building at the centre-right (once Fischer's Cigars) was torn down in Sept. 1975, so this is probably also the date of this photo.
The buildings in photo 15 being demolished are the same ones seen still intact in photo 16 - Fischer's is seen with its gable side torn off, and the building to its south is already gone.
It appears that the building to the right (with the flat-top and the three windows on the second floor) was still seen (standing alone) in aerial photo 1. Also note in photo 15, that this flat-topped building is seen with its ornate cornice removed. The cornice can still be seen in photo 16.
16 above: ca.1935, the Louis Fischer Cigar Store; NFLA notes it was demolished in Sept. 1975. This was once home to the Niagara Falls Review newspaper office between 1879 and 1889. The two storefronts on either side of Fischer's both offered Hat Cleaning services!
The building seen offering hat-cleaning services at the right (to the north) is the two-story building with its ornate cornice still intact; next beside it, at the extreme right, is a bit of the building which later housed the Louis Restaurant. The 'Mary Ann' railroad track had once run through that lot, on which the Louis was later built. Because the Louis building was not built yet, then the flat-topped-building's north-wall must have at one time faced the 'Mary Ann' track (seeing as the flat-top building was directly on the south-side of the track right-of-way), and, that the Imperial Hotel's back (south) wall had been on the north-side of this track (see photo 17).
The Louis building would have been built as an infill on the former 'Mary Ann' right of way, at some point between 1915 and 1935, see photo 23.
I remember seeing an old photo once (still trying to find it again) from 1915 which showed the Imperial Hotel standing on the corner, with a fairly wide gap clearly visible behind its south side, facing along Erie Ave: this gap is where I believe the Mary Ann track ran; the next building south of this gap was the two-story-flat-topped building seen in photos 13, 15, and 16. Since photo 16 (taken circa 1935) shows the Louis building already built (seen at the far right), then the Mary Ann track must have been closed up and then built upon sometime between 1915 and 1935
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17 below: Aug.20, 1956 - looking at the Imperial Hotel. Erie Ave. is in the foreground; Bridge St. is at the right. Note the "Imperial House" neon sign overhanging the sidewalk. At the far left is the Louis Restaurant. At the left, note the close gap of the adjacent walls between the Imperial and the Louis, which were also both angled: it was here where the track (seen in maps 25 and 28) once ran, I believe the track ran at an angle through the lot where the Louis building was later built, at the left.
18 above: Nov.19, 1962 - The Imperial Hotel being demolished. This view looks east down Bridge St. towards Erie Ave.  Note the angle of the south-wall of the hotel and of the north-wall of the next building (at the time, this was the Louis Restaurant) to the right: this is where the 'Mary Ann' track had run, upon which the Louis would later be built, following the angle of the track right-of-way. Note the Hotel Trennick (in the upper-centre-right distance) also had its south-side rear wall angled where the rail line had run beside it.
In the aerial photo 1, some traces of the Mary Ann track can still be seen as it curved its way behind the buildings on the east side of Erie Ave., then angle-crossed Erie Ave. at a point just south of Bridge St. (see also photos 24 and 25 below)
19 above: Aug.31, 2009; this is the same view as in photo 18 of the former Imperial Hotel, which stood where the "Bus Terminal" signpost now is. The former Hotel Trennick at 4274 Bridge St. (later known as the Metropole; then in the swingin' seventies, as the Lord Nelson; lastly, as the now-vacant Hotel Europa) can be seen in both above photos. The 'Mary Ann' track (on which the Louis building was later built) would have come from behind the Trennick's rear, at an angle, and cut right through towards the bottom of the photo.
20 above: Nov.19, 1962 - looking at the south-west corner of Erie Ave. and Bridge St. (just opposite the CN station) at the Imperial Hotel (address then was 292 Bridge St.). With windows missing, this photo is probably taken just before it was to be demolished. At the left are seen some of the stores that once fronted onto Erie Ave. The Louis Restaurant, with its neon sign overhanging the sidewalk, can be seen at the left.
21 above: the Imperial Hotel under demolition (date not given in NFLA photo, but probably still in late Nov-Dec.1962) Bridge St. is in the foreground; Erie Ave. heads south at the left. This building was built in the 1860's, and was known as Buckley's Albion hotel.
22 above: Aug.31, 2009 - same view of the corner as seen in photo 21, where the Imperial Hotel one stood; now this corner is a taxi-stand for the bus terminal, which is seen in the left rear. At the right rear is the bus maintenance garage for Niagara Transit. The Imperial hotel had stood on the corner, ie, on this side of the cab, whereas the Louis Restaurant building would have stood just a little further on the other side of the cab: the 'Mary Ann' track ran through the lot upon which the Louis was later built, see photo 23.
23 below: date unknown, possibly mid-1960's; this view looks in a south-easterly direction across Bridge St. towards Erie Ave.
In the distance is the Trennick hotel; at the centre-right is a vacant triangular lot: this is where the Imperial Hotel had stood; now, the angled north-facing wall of the Louis Restaurant is visible overlooking the empty lot.
Previously, the north-wall of the Louis and the south-wall of the Imperial faced each other (as seen in photos 17 and 18)
What's interesting is that now, the same Louis Restaurant building is seen sporting windows, a Coke button sign, a menu ad, and a small billboard! So I wonder whether the windows had been there all along - basically facing the Imperial House Hotel's rear brick wall?! Or, were they added to brighten up the Louis' interior after the Imperial was torn down? With the Imperial torn down, the previously-hidden side of the Louis suddenly became completely visible to all the travellers at the CN train station across the street!


23a above: the same view; the former Trennick is still seen at the left.
The Imperial House Hotel's address was 292 Bridge St.
According to a 1955 city directory, the next building to the south of the Imperial House Hotel (facing onto Erie Ave.) was the Louis Restaurant, at 539 Erie Ave;
at 543 Erie was Taylor's Barber Shop;
at 549 Erie was Fischer's tobacconist shop;
at 551 Erie was the North End Shoe Shine and Hat Cleaners;
at 559 Erie was the New China Chop Suey restaurant;
at 563 Erie was the Port Colborne Social Club;
at 565 Erie was J.J. Gogul, Locksmith;
at 573 Erie was Mike's Chili and Sandwich Bar;
at 579 Erie was August Real Estate; and
at 583 Erie Ave. was Dorothy's Lunch (on the NW corner of Erie and Park, where the old Bakery was shown earlier in photos H and F)
These businesses were once in the block on the west side of Erie Ave., between Bridge St. and Park St., where the green-roofed Niagara Falls Bus Terminal is seen today, at the upper centre-left, below: (click on photos to enlarge!)
24 above: satellite view of the Bridge St. area. The red arrow (in centre) is the direction in which photo 3 was taken, looking north across the railway right-of-way (shown in blue) towards the bus garage, where I first believed the three houses in the Montagna photo 2 had been;
the green arrow shows the direction in which photo photo3 was taken, looking south across Park St.: the three houses in the Montagna photo B had actually stood on the south-side of Park St., just east of Ontario Ave., as marked by the green 'X'.
The yellow line (at the upper left; shown cutting through the present bus-garage parking lot) is about where another rail line once was (see photos 25 and 26) which wyed off the Park St. line and headed towards Bridge St.; this was just where the regional pumping station now is, in behind where Cataract Ice had once been.
The orange line (curving at the upper right) shows the 'Mary Ann Track', which ran behind Rosbergs, beside the Eastland shed, behind the Trennick Hotel, crossed Erie Ave., and then ran behind the Imperial Hotel (as described earlier above in photos 13, 13a, and 18).
The yellow X shows where the Michigan Central station had once been. Rosbergs (NE corner of Queen and Erie) is seen still standing in this photo; but it burned down in Oct. 2009. The track right-of-way seen heading off to the centre-right was the main line which led directly to the bridge crossing the Niagara River to the States. 25 above: an 1894 map of Bridge St. showing the rail lines along Bridge St., Park St., and Erie Ave. The blue, orange and yellow lines are the same ones seen in photo 24 above. (compare this 1894 map of the rail lines to the 1860 map in photo13a, when the blue line was not shown as yet built.)
Note how the straight yellow line is shown wyeing off the Park St. line, then going across towards and onto Bridge St., and then, onto the bridge to the U.S. The area it cut through is now the storage and parking area at the west side of the bus garage. (the tracks of this line were still seen in 1925 in photo 29)
The curving orange line is the 'Mary Ann Track; the one which once crossed Erie Ave. just south of Bridge St., as described earlier under photos 13, 13a, and 18.
It is also interesting to note that in this map, Ontario Ave. is shown beginning at Bridge St., whereas today it only begins at Park St.



25a above: this 1854 map of Elgin (Niagara Falls) shows yet  another track variation (it's getting confusing keeping track of the tracks and timeline..!). Now, here we see that the "Mary Ann" track is clearly shown, running up and to the left, but what is interesting here is that there is another line which runs towards the upper right, heading towards the Suspension bridge, creating the typical railway "track triangle".
Obviously there was no Cantilever bridge yet, so it appears that MCR trains entering into Canada from the Suspension Bridge were able to veer off almost immediately after leaving the bridge. They crossed Bridge St.at slight angle, at a point just east of Clifton (now Zimmerman) Ave.,then they entered the block and exited to cross Clifton Ave. at a point halfway between Bridge st. and Park St.bridge, where they entered another block, and then exited at a point just west of the NW corner of Park St. and Clifton Ave., where they continued south to meet the 'split' with the "Mary Ann" track at Queen St. In red I outline where the future tracks would be laid, the ones which would curve to the new Cantilever bridge some 30 years in the future.
I am not sure exactly when this line which ran north-east towards the Great Western tracks and to the Suspension Bridge was actually physically decommissioned and dismantled, nor even exactly when it was built.
(I suppose I should refer to this lost track as the 'Mary Ann' east spur! Clearly, that's exactly what these two sister spurs were: they 'married' the E and O line to the Great Western line - one spur curving north-west towards the Great Western mainline, away from the Suspension Bridge; the other spur curving north-east towards the Suspension Bridge).
Clearly, the 'Mary Ann west' spur survived a much longer time (apparently into the 1900's) than did the east spur, which looks like it was gone by 1856: seeing as it was NOT shown on the 1864 map (see photo 13b ) and it was NOT shown on the 1856 map (see photo 28), then apparently it was gone by 1856. Maybe this spur was the first version of the E and O's connection to the new Suspension Bridge (along with the sister "Mary Ann" track) both of which were part of Zimmerman's realignment of the E and O tracks from their previous Stanley Ave. r.o.w.

25b above: a map of Clifton (Niagara Falls) c. Feb 1896, showing the actual words "Mary Ann Track" (underlined in blue) written on the map.
The location of the 'Mary Ann west' spur, seen in photo 25a (which had once run towards the upper right, to the Suspension Bridge) is marked in red, with a closer view of the lots which it must have crossed. This line was dismantled at some point, and buildings must have been built upon the track right of way.
It looks to me like the Zimmerman Bank building (which stood at this time on the SW corner of Bridge St. and Clifton Ave.), must have had this rail line running right behind their building, as it made its way diagonally across Clifton Ave.. This rail line then must have come out either right at the SE corner of Bridge St. and Clifton Ave., or just slightly east of that corner. (That is the corner where the Imperial Bank would later build its branch,).
The "new" double tracked MCR line is seen on this map, as it made its curve ever slightly more sharply to the upper right, seeing as the new MCR Cantilever Bridge was a bit closer to the new MCR station. The green X marks the small triangular lot where the Imperial Hotel was located. This map shows lands which were apparently leased to A. G. Hill, (leased from whom, though, is not clear. Interestingly, Isaac Usher is penciled in having a building of some kind of a building (possibly a loading depot) seen at the far middle right,along the two tracks which split west from the MCR station (the route along Queen St.)  Other names are mentioned on the map as well.
25c above: a city lot map showing that property lines still reflect where some of these railroad tracks ran. At the left blue is where the spur (the one that left the MCR station ran along Erie Ave. in front of Rosbergs) is seen curving west, where it then curved back and ran for a short distance right beside Park St. The approximate site of the (former) bus garage is marked, and the site of the present bus terminal is marked.
The red line in the center is the 'Mary Ann west' spur (the spur that left the MCR station behind the Rosbergs site) and which crossed Erie Ave.. just south of Bridge St. This track cut a triangle on the lot (marked with the green X) where the Imperial Hotel was built. Also, this spur ran at an angle behind the Trennick Hotel lot (marked with the green T)
The site of the old Zimmerman Bank is marked at the SW corner of Bridge St. and Zimmerman Ave., and marked with an orange rectangle is the corner lot where the former Imperial Bank building still stands at 4190 Bridge St.
The purple line shows approximately where that other sister spur ( the 'Mary Ann east' spur!) must have run.
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26 below: date not known (but can't be after Feb.1980, due the Avon House being still visible).
This aerial view clearly shows the railroad wye in the upper-centre (the wye just behind the old Cataract Ice factory). It is not readily apparent in this photo if the railroad actually went onto Bridge St. at this time, or if it ended at what looks to be a shed, seen just north of the bus garage (see photo 28 for an 1856 map of the same trackage; see 29 for a photo of the Bridge St. portion).
In photo 26 below, the three houses from the earlier Montagna photo 2 are also clearly seen (marked with three green dots); the green arrow shows the direction in which the Montagna house photos 2 and 4 were taken.
The Buckley furniture building on Ontario Ave., now demolished, is shown by the red dot (see photo 31).
The yellow dots are all buildings that, as of Apr. 2010, are no longer standing (compare to photo 27).
The orange dot (near the upper right, facing onto Bridge St. with the railroad wye at its rear) shows the building, now also gone, which was once called the Suspension Bridge Hotel; it was also known as Graham's Hotel (after its owner-builder, F.H. Graham) and was later also known as the Waverly, the Arlington, the Avon House, and the Klondike - see photos 35, 36, 37.
Although the date of  photo 26 is unknown, one of the houses seen below (on the SE corner of Park St. and Ontario Ave.) is also seen still standing in photo 32, which dates from Sept. 1977 (but I don't know when it was torn down). The Klondike Hotel, which was bombed in May 1978, was torn down in Feb.1980, giving this photo its maximum timeline. Also note at the far centre-right (to the right of the three green-dotted and still-standing 'Montagna' houses along Park St.) can be seen a bit of the New York Central Freight sheds, standing on the west side of the tracks.27 above: recent satellite view shows the now-vacant lots (marked with the green X) where the houses in the Montagna photo once stood.
The yellow line shows where the railroad wye (above the Cataract Ice building) which headed towards Bridge St. once ran (see photo 29).
The yellow X shows where the old Suspension Bridge/Waverly/Arlington/Avon/Klondike Hotel building once stood; it's now a parking lot for the bus garage.
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28 below: this is an 1856 map of Clifton, which was called Elgin until it became the Town of Clifton on Jun.9, 1856. Note there is a market square shown (on the SW corner of Park and Erie, future location of Mear Coal) where the red N is; this is where later the New York Central terminal and freight sheds were also going to be, along the line marked in blue which was yet to be built. Note also the line marked in green - this was where the Michigan Central line would later go, heading to the future Cantilever bridge. The red M marks where the Michigan Central station would be built in the future; the red X marks where Rosbergs would once be.
Note that the only rail line shown in this 1856 map, in the area where the future Michigan Central station was to be built, is the 'Mary Ann track', which went behind (east of) the future Rosbergs; that is, it crossed Queen St. at a point slightly east of the NE corner of Queen and Erie. (The MC Cantilever Bridge had not been built yet, so these tracks were built for the Erie and Ontario to get to/from/around the Suspension Bridge)
The Mary Ann track curved north-west, crossing Park St. at a point slightly east of the Park/Erie intersection; then it continued NW, where it crossed Erie Ave., thereby cutting the SW corner of Bridge St. and Erie Ave. into a triangle-shaped-lot (this is where the Imperial Hotel, marked with the red I, would later be built, around the early 1860's)
This 'Mary Ann track' then crossed a diamond with another track (also an E and O track) at a point which looks to be on the south side of Bridge St., and continued NW, crossing Bridge St. and joining the Great Western tracks on the north side of Bridge St.
The E and O main track is shown coming from Park St., and crossing Bridge St., where it heads directly onto the Suspension Bridge - this is the same track marked yellow in photos 24, 25, and 27, and which was still partially visible in photo 26. As can be seen in the 1894 map 25, the market was already gone, and the line marked in blue was already shown as being built.
I'm guessing that with the opening of the new MC cantilever bridge (in 1883) and the new MC passenger station (in 1884) the line through the market was built, making a new wye which crossed Queen St. on the west side of the future Rosbergs - that is, along Erie Ave. (supplementing the existing Mary Ann track, which crossed Queen St. east of  Erie Ave.) I'm not sure when the 'Mary Ann' track (where it crossed Erie Ave., ran through the future Louis Restaurant lot, and encountered the diamond) was actually removed - the 1894 map (photo 25) showed that the Mary Ann track and the newer track through the Market Square were BOTH in use at the time! A portion of the Mary Ann line was still visible near the Eastland shed (on the south-side of Park St.) in what looks to be the mid-1970's - see the photo here.
Also note below: the red Z shows where Samuel Zimmerman's bank was, which after his untimely 1957 death eventually became the Hotel Savoy; the red C marks where the Customs house would later be built; The Suspension Bridge Hotel is seen on Bridge St, in a cluster of buildings; it certainly looks like Ontario Ave. at this time met with Bridge St., so it's possible the hotel might have actually stood on or near the south-east corner of Bridge St. and Ontario Ave!
Also note the three lots (marked in green dots, on the SE corner of Park and Ontario) are where the three houses in the Montagna photo 2 were seen; there are already three houses shown on those lots, and, I wonder if they are the same ones that were in photo 2, dating back to 1856?? The map below shows the house closest to the corner owned by J.W. Atwood (the script's not too clear here); the middle lot (the future Montagna house) was owned by what appears to be an H. Forsyth; and the one to the right was owned by a T. Murphy.
Also, the 'Mary Ann track' is clearly shown in the 1856 map below (curving up from the bottom, the part which is shown running from just north of Queen St., to where it's seen crossing Erie Ave., south of Bridge St., by the Imperial Hotel) and the Mary Ann track obviously pre-dates the later-built tracks I marked in blue and green.
(Note: there had been another 'Mary Ann' sister spur which had been shown on the 1854 map (see photo 25a and attached description) but is not shown here on the 1856 map. It had run north-east towards the Suspension Bridge, while the Mary Ann shown here ran westward, away from the Suspension Bridge.)
I believe that this small curve was the original route through Elgin/Clifton of the Erie and Ontario railroad, from about 1853, the era during which Samuel Zimmerman had taken the line over, converted it from horse-power to steam-power, and realigned the route of the tracks, which had originally (ca 1840's) run from Queenston to Chippawa along tracks farther up west, paralleling Stanley Ave.
With the building of the new Suspension Bridge, it made sense to realign the old horse-drawn rail line away from its original route along Stanley Ave., to bring it closer to the new rail bridge being built, and to make a connection to the bridge, while also upgrading the Erie and Ontario to steam power. The Erie and Ontario's route still continued south towards Chippawa, but now went via Palmer Ave./ Victoria Ave.
So, the 'Mary Ann track' must have been the Erie and Ontario's original access through the Great Western yards, so that the E and O could continue south to Chippawa; and, to go north, to get to Queenston and Niagara-On-The-Lake. Somewhere either in the Great Western's yard, or not far away to the north-west of the yard, the Erie and Ontario's north-south tracks must have either crossed at a diamond with the Great Western's east-west tracks; or, there must have been a wye or two built where the tracks were shared for a short run, until the E and O had to split off at St.David's, to head down the escarpment towards Queenston and then eventually to Niagara-On-The-Lake.
 click on photos to enlarge
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29 below: looking east along Bridge St. during Old Home Week parade in 1925; the CN railway station is seen at the far left. (Compare this photo with the similar view in photo 23).
The Hotel Trennick is seen in the centre-right distance. At the far right is what should be the Imperial Hotel; however, the building in this photo looks like it has wood clapboard siding, with a balcony on its Bridge St. side; the Imperial (as seen in photo 20) had a brick facade: so is the building in this 1925 photo the same building, later refaced with brick, and later torn down in 1956?
Also, note the two sets of tracks which are on the south-side of the station, seen coming from the railroad bridge; the track at the centre-left, barely west of the Erie Ave. intersection, has a wye, which heads west onto and along Bridge St. (towards the bottom of the photo): this is most likely the same former Erie and Ontario tracks (seen in photos 13a, 25 and 28) which had traveled east-west along from Bridge St., behind (to the south of) the Suspension Bridge/Arlington Hotel, to Park St., where it continued west, eventually crossing the intersection of Bridge St. and Victoria Ave. at a north-west angle.

29a above: May 2015: same view as above - the three train tracks and the track wye are gone from the left. The Trennick hotel is still seen at the right rear, while the "Bus terminal" sign now sits exactly on the corner where the Imperial Hotel once stood.
30  below: mid-to-late 1850's ads showing several Niagara Falls hotels (including the Suspension Bridge Hotel, which went through several name changes, by the late 1970's being known as the Klondike Hotel). Frederick H. Graham built the Suspension Bridge hotel (also known as Graham's Hotel) in 1853-54, naming it after John Roebling's double-deck suspension bridge which was being constructed over the Niagara River at the time, not far away down at the east end of Bridge St. This suspension bridge was begun 1853 and opened Mar. 1855; it was a replacement for an earlier pedestrian-only (no trains) suspension bridge dating from 1848.
It is interesting to note that, although the Great Western Railway (this portion, from the Niagara River to Hamilton, built by contractor Samuel Zimmerman) had arrived in Elgin (as this area was then known) at the foot of Bridge St., in 1853, the tracks ended at the station, because there was no railway bridge yet at the time heading to the States; only the 1848-built version of the pedestrian/horse bridge was in existence. So for two years, passengers on either side of the border, had to get off their train and be transferred along with their baggage to the other side by horsedrawn carriage, where they boarded other connecting trains to continue their journey.
31 below: the Buckley's Furniture building on Ontario Ave. in Sept. 1965. Note the red neon sign overhanging the front entrance.
32 below: the Buckley's building in Sept. 1977; now painted white, with the neon sign gone. Note the gabled house with the red roof seen at the far left - this house stood (on the south-east corner of Park St. and Ontario Ave.) facing onto Park St. - this is the same house which was in the Montagna photo 2, in that 1956 photo. This would have been the house on the corner, at 364 Park St., as seen at the right side of photo 2.

33 above: Apr. 2010 - same view along Ontario Ave., Buckley's Furniture has been demolished (not sure when), it is now a parking lot; further to the left, on the SE corner of Park and Ontario, a parking lot now sits where the red-roofed house at 364 Park had stood, along with the other houses seen in photo 2.
34 above: Sept. 1965 - At 624 Ontario St. was the Greater Niagara Transit Commission building; this is the same building seen painted blue in photo 32, next door to Buckley's. In photo 33 its brick facade is now seen stuccoed.
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35 below: circa 1890, this is the Arlington Hotel on Bridge St. (built 1853-54 as the Suspension Bridge Hotel). In 1945 it was also called the Erie Hotel.

36 above: same building, now named the Avon House, with a neon sign overhanging the sidewalk. Photo date unknown; building was located at 356 Bridge St. and owned by Lillian Salci.37 above: Apr.1974 - the former Avon is now seen as the Klondike Hotel, with the wood facade covering the front. This was the scene of a bombing on May 16, 1978.
38 above: Apr. 2010 - same view of where the former Suspension Bridge/ Klondike hotel had stood, about at the centre of the photo, now the site of the bus garage parking lot.
In the far centre-left distance, a block away, is where the three houses [as seen in the Montagna photo 2] had stood, on the south side of Park St., just east of Ontario Ave.
Many neighbouring houses were affected by the bomb blast, reports were that 118 windows were broken. The Montagna House was one of the places which had its windows shattered - the above photo gives an idea of the fair distance from the hotel site (which faced Bridge St.) to Park St., where the Montagna House had been.
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39 below: this May 1978 colour close-up photo shows the Montagna House (at 352 Park St., this is the centre house of the three houses shown in photo 2) with its windows blown out. In the distance can be seen the rear of stores which faced Queen St. [compare this photo with photos 4 and 40].








40 above: this is the same view of where the Montagna House had once stood; the site is now a parking lot. Note the same windows can be seen in the far right distance in both above photos: these are the rear windows of the stores which face onto Queen St. 
41 above: Apr, 2010 - this photo is taken on Park St., standing on the sidewalk right where the front door of the Montagna house had once been, and looking north across Park St. The bus garage parking lot is on the north side of Park St., and stretches towards Bridge St. in the distance. The  Klondike had stood where the cars are now seen parked, way in the far center-left distance along Bridge St. The Klondike was demolished by Feb. 1980. The red line in the foreground shows where the diagonal railroad tracks had crossed Park St.
41a below: July 14, 2016 -  same view as in photo 41 above, looking at the full view of  the back of the bus garage, as it faced onto Park St. Fencing  is in place as the structure is being demolished.



41b aboveFeb.15, 2017 same view as photos 41 and 41a - standing on Park St., looking at a new vista which has appeared: this is the same site where the above bus garage had stood: it was demolished in Jul-Aug 2016. Now, the CN train station is clearly visible in the center distance, and the current bus station is seen at the right distance; and behind it, is the roofline of the old Trennick Hotel. The old Klondike Hotel had once stood in the far left distance.
41c below: Dec.31, 2015 a pre-demolition view of the vacant bus garage (known as the the Niagara Transit George Mowers Building), with the Trennick Hotel seen at the far left, and the bus station seen with a bit of its green roof showing, just to the right of the rear of the GO bus.

41d above:  Dec. 31, 2015 - a closer look at the front office of the Niagara Transit George Mowers Building.
41e aboveJuly 14, 2016 -  the front office portion of the Niagara Transit George Mowers Building being demolished, The bus garage portion, seen still standing in the distance, would be demolished over the next several weeks.
42 below: a May 17, 1978 Niagara Falls Review story, "A long history behind the Klondike Hotel".
click photos to enlarge.

43 above: - the May 16, 1978 front page headline of the Niagara Falls Review: "City Hotel blasted by bomb, Four employees safe, 118 windows smashed". Click photos to enlarge.
44 above: interior view of the Avon House (later the Klondike Hotel) as it looked on Aug.12, 1961.
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45 below: in 1917, WW I recruits are seen marching west along the south side of Bridge St.; the Arlington (later the Klondike) Hotel's prominent gable can be seen at the right.
Further east along the right is the rear of the Imperial Hotel (seen in photo 18). Note that in this photo, the rear tall windowed wall on the south side of the Imperial Hotel is clearly seen angled towards a rail line which ran behind it.
Behind the Imperial, is seen a bit of the Trennick hotel.
In the left distance the gable of the Grand Trunk train station can be seen (the Great Western was bought by the Grand Trunk on Aug.12, 1882. In 1923, the GTR became part of the Crown corporation CN rail)
At the near left are some of the freight sheds. Note in photo 42, that the newspaper story refers to the former NYC freight sheds as the Wabash sheds; in 1898 the Wabash Railroad gained rights from GTR to run trains through Ontario on its New York-state to Michigan-state cannonball runs.
Note there is what appears to be a freight train travelling on Bridge St., as several tracks were on the south side of the station at the time (see photo 29), as well as on the north side.

46 above: Apr. 2010, same view, looking east down Bridge St.
The Arlington / Avon House / Klondike Hotel had once stood along the right [just past where the red parked car is] on the site of what is now the bus repair garage parking lot. The Imperial Hotel is gone, but the old Trennick / Europa Hotel building is still seen.
At the left, the now-CN Station gable is clearly seen, since the freight sheds along the left have all been demolished, making for an extra-wide street width.
Amtrak engine no.180 idles on the tracks north of the station; the tracks which ran on Bridge St. have long since been removed (still trying to find out when!)
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The old photos in this study are from the Niagara Falls, Ont. Library Archives; the recent photos are by R. Bobak. Thanks for visiting Right In Niagara!
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See the next post in this series: PART 14  - Lady by the Falls
...or go to the first post in my historical Niagara Falls Then and Now series here - Part ONE.
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1 comment:

Elvir said...

Amazing article and photos!!! Thanks for great mention of our Niagara Falls - I added your link to our twitter! .. http://twitter.com/OnlineNiagara ~ peace