Monday, October 5, 2009

Rosbergs destroyed by fire, Niagara Falls, Ont.

below: 1907 - looking in north-easterly direction from Queen St., along the east side of Erie Ave, in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Note the Michigan Central railroad tracks at the bottom right, running along Erie Ave.; also, at bottom left, note the streetcar tracks which cross the Michigan Central double track rails, and then turn to head up Queen St. (running off to the bottom left)
At the right are the buildings which would later be modified to become the Rosbergs store, which would be established in 1919. The Niagara Falls Library had once been located in one of these buildings in the right foreground. A sign showing the W H Price clothing shop is seen at the right; a dentist's office is upstairs in one of the buildings; and the IOOF has a sign as well.
Further down Erie Ave. can be seen a souvenir shop. At the end of the street is seen the then-Grand Trunk (now CN) railway station on Bridge. St.
The Michigan Central's railway station at this time would have been just over the right shoulder of the photographer, from where he was standing; the MC station stood at the south-east corner of Queen St. and Erie Ave. click on photos to enlarge!
above photo from Niagara Falls Library Archive.
above: same view, Apr.21, 2008; Rosbergs department store closed in 1988; the building has been vacant since.
above: same view, Aug.26, 2009; new paint and plywood being applied.
above: same view, Aug.27, 2009, painting continues.
above: same view, Aug.28, 2009, more painting was done.
above: same view, Sept.1, 2009
above: same view, Oct.5, 2009 - the Rosbergs building suffered a catastrophic fire, which was reported at 5:21 AM on Oct.4, 2009. Apparently the building did not have a functioning sprinkler system. Twisted steel girders can be seen in the rear. A part of the old elevator shaft is seen above the corner front door.
above: Oct.5, 2009, later in the afternoon, the same day; firefighters still continue to hose down hot spots and flares. The elevator shaft seen earlier has now been knocked down.
above: Oct.5, 2009, morning; seen from the Queen St. side, smoke still pours from inside the Rosberg building.
above: Aug.18, 2009 - Rosbergs as seen from the north-west, from across Erie Ave. Note the old Michigan Central tracks in the bottom right.
above: same view, Aug.27, 2009 - new plywood and paint being applied
above: same view, Oct.5, 2009 as firefighters and the fire marshall observe the still-smouldering ruins. The building's two elevator shafts can be seen - one at the far left, the other at the right.
above: same view, Oct.25, 2009; the steel skeleton has by now been knocked down into the building; the two elevator shafts, and most of the brick/block perimeter walls, have been knocked down to about a one-storey height.
below: interior view of Rosbergs, as seen Aug.27, 2009. The corner front entrance door was to the bottom left, just out of frame. Note the exposed wooden ceiling.

above: Oct.25, 2009, same view; in the left distance is the same brick wall and round black downlight as was seen in the previous photo. Behind the brick wall was the elevator shaft; the same shaft is seen below, the one at the right.
above: Oct.5, 2009 - looking at the west-facing side of Rosbergs, along Erie Ave.; a flare up is seen inside, just to the right of the right green pillar. Note both elevator shafts still partially standing.
below: Sept.11, 2009 - looking at Rosbergs building along Erie St., when artist Paul Augostino had some works displayed for a short while in the front windows.

above: same view, Oct.25, 2009; some pieces of the art prints and frames were still laying around the site.
above: very early morning, Oct.5, 2009 - looking at Rosbergs from the south. Firefighters are seen at the right, at the south-east corner of the building. The acrid smoke was carried by the night wind directly east (towards the Niagara River) down Park and Queen Sts.
above: I stopped by for a coffee at Simon's Restaurant, and picked up a copy of the Oct.5, 2009 Niagara Falls Review; the front page story was "Rosbergs Burns".
All above photos by R. Bobak. For more views of Rosbergs, see also: here)
Below: a video by R. Bobak of the Rosbergs site, taken Oct.22, 2009.

The portion of Erie Ave. (between Queen St. and the Autumn Moon Chinese restaurant), and the portion of Queen St. (between Erie and Zimmerman) were re-opened on Oct.22, 2009, having been closed since the fire on Oct.4, 2009.

For the first two weeks or so, there had been activity at the Rosbergs site, with investigators, but in the last week or so, not much has occurred. As of Oct.22, 2009, no major demolition has taken place, apart from that done in the week or so after the fire, while the Fire Marshall was investigating. As can be seen in my Oct.22, 2009 video below, nothing has been removed from the site yet - all the brick and steel which had been knocked down earlier (for either safety or investigative reasons) still remains on site.

Above: Video of the Rosbergs site, taken Oct.23, 2009 by R. Bobak, looking at the south side of the burned building along Queen St., and also documenting the site from the rear, as it looked on Oct.23, 2009. On Oct.23 another large excavator was delivered to the site (as seen at the end of the video) in preparation for the final demolition, scheduled for Monday, Oct.26.

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