Thursday, November 12, 2009

Revisiting "Old Niagara on the Lake"

A favourite book of mine is Peter John Stokes' 1971 hardcover Old Niagara on the Lake, which was illustrated with sketches of a number of local historic structures drawn by Robert Montgomery. Stokes chose to focus on 58 various properties, providing a well-detailed historical commentary alongside each of Montgomery's sketches. The sketch on the book's cover, above, was for example, property number 14, the MacDougal-Harrison House at 165 Queen st., as also seen later below.
In this essay, I re-visit the historic properties which Stokes and Montgomery had commemorated some thirty-eight years ago.
The 'today' photos, taken in Nov.2009, follow the same order in which Stokes presented them in his book.
For the history and context to the original sketches of each featured property, consult the book! It is a great read, and the 1971 sketches, compared to today's photos, do show some surprises. It is amazing the extent to which so much architecture has remained in-situ all these years in this historic town. Enjoy.
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Below is one photo from Stokes' book, Old Niagara on the Lake, showing the south side of Queen St., looking eastward from Regent St., ca. 1870. Note the Courthouse, with its cupola, in the centre.
above: same view, Nov.2009 - many of the same buildings remain. The Courthouse (with its cupola undergoing some maintenance) is still in the centre.
1. (above) The Niagara Apothecary, 1820, formerly Field's Drugstore, is seen at the right, on the north-west corner of Queen St. (seen along the front) and King St. (seen at the right) in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario.
2. McKee-Dodson House, ca. 1835, 18 Prideaux St.
3. Stewart-McLeod House, ca. 1830, 42 Prideaux St.
4. The Promenade House, ca.1820, 55 Prideaux St.
5. Kerr-Wooll House, ca. 1815, Demeath, 69 Prideaux St.
6. Dobie-Campbell House, ca. 1835, 83 Prideaux St. 7. Davidson-Campbell house, ca. 1845, 87 Prideaux St.
8. Winterbottom-Gullion House, ca. 1835, 134 Queen St.
9. Kirby House, ca. 1818, 130 Front St.
9. Historical Plaque in front of the Kirby House on 130 Front st., reads:
"In this house built in 1818, William Kirby, F.R.S.C., historian, novelist, poet, and editor of the Niagara Mail, lived from 1857 to 1906. His historical romance, The Golden Dog, stimulated interest in Canada's history and won for him international renown."
Stokes, though, wrote in his book that Kirby lived here from 1855 to 1906.
Kirby also wrote Annals Of Niagara and Canadian Idylls.
9. Another plaque dedicated to William Kirby can also be found located on the east-side wall of the Courthouse building on Queen St.
10. Wilson-Kent House, ca. 1816, 175 (now177) Victoria St.
11. McClelland's West End Store. ca. 1835, 106 Queen St.
12. The Customs House, ca. 1825, 126 Queen St.
13. Rogers-Harrison House, ca.1823, 157 Queen St.
14. MacDougal-Harrison House, ca. 1820, 165 Queen St. This is the home which was on the cover of Stokes' book.
15. Crysler-Rigg House, ca. 1822, Roslyn Cottage, 187 Queen St.
16. Richardson-Kylie House, 1832, 209 Queen St.
17. Camp-Thompson House, 1818, 307 Mississauga St.
18. Breakenridge-Ure House, ca. 1823, 240 Centre St.
19. Breakenridge-Hawley House, ca. 1818, 392 Mississauga St.
20. The Creen House, ca. 1817-25, 363 Simcoe St.
21. St.Andrew's Church, 1831, Simcoe St.
22. Lockhart-Moogk House, ca. 1817, Storrington, 289 Simcoe St.
23. Butler House, ca. 1817, 275 Simcoe St. (was originally on the Butler lands at 590 Mississauga St.)
24. Clench House, ca.1824, 234 Johnson St., under renovation in Nov.2009
25. MacMonigle-Craik House, ca. 1818, 240 Gate St.
26. Greenlees-Craik House, ca. 1822, 135 Johnson St.
27. Varey-Thalmann Houses, ca. 1840, 115-19 Johnson St.
28. Carlisle-Brook House, ca. 1850, 315 Victoria St.
29. Blain-Lansing House, 1835, The Post House, 95 Johnson St. 30. Vanderlip-Marcy House, ca. 1816, 96 Johnson St. 31. Jones-Eckersley-Brownell House, ca. 1833, 58 Johnson St.
32. Barker Hall, ca. 1831, 46 Johnson St.
33. The Angel Inn, ca. 1825, Market St.
34. Dee-LeDoux Building, ca. 1843, 54-8 Queen St.
35. Alma's store, 1825, The Yardstick, 46 Queen St.
36. Sherlock Block, ca. 1850, 34-6 Queen St.
37. The Courthouse, 1847, Queen St.
38. above - The Sign of the Pineapple, ca. 1830, 16 Queen St., as seen Nov.14, 2009.
Two neighbouring buildings to the left, which had burned down in Oct. 2009, have been torn down and hoarding has now been put up along the sidewalk. Smoke damage can still be seen on the sidewall of the building now housing The Owl and the Pussycat shop. Note the pineapple!
38. above - As seen on Oct.26, 2009 - the Owl and Pussycat with the burned out remains of the storefronts which had stood at the left. (see also here) Firetrucks are still at the scene.
38. another view of the Sign of the Pineapple, seen centre-left above. This perspective looks westward along Queen St., from King St. The Cenotaph can be seen along the right, and the buildings which burned down in 2009 are seen on this side of the Pineapple; a tip of the former firehall's brick parapet can be seen set back at the upper left. At the lower left is the building on the south-west corner of Queen and King which survived the fire. The Courthouse is seen in the left distance. Date not known, probably early fifties.
39. Bank of Upper Canada. ca. 1817, 10 Front St.
40. The Whale Inn, 1835, 66 King St., right beside the Niagara River; Fort Niagara, on the American shore, can be seen across the river at the left.
41. The Anglican Rectory at St.Mark's Church, 1858, 17 Byron St.
42. St.Mark's Church, 1805 & 1843, looking from the north-west
42. St.Mark's Anglican (Episcopalian) Church in Niagara On The Lake, Ont., seen from Byron St. Sign notes "Parish 1792 - founded - building 1805"
42. St.Mark's Church historical plaque. (click any photo to enlarge!)
43. St.Vincent de Paul Church Historical Plaque, Picton St.
43. St.Vincent de Paul Church, 1834, Picton St.
44. Moffat's Hotel, ca.1835, 60 Picton St.
45. Baike-Borsook house, ca. 1842, 230 Davy St.
46. Dover-Daley House, ca. 1839, 20 Platoff St.
47. Malcolmson-Walker House, ca. 1845, 16 Platoff St.
48. Moore-Bishop-Stokes House, ca. 1828, 244 King St.
49. Stewart-Anderson House, ca. 1835, 507 Butler St.
50. Miller-Taylor house, 1817, 46 Mary St.
51. Cameron-Farren house, ca.1817, 708 King St.
52. Miss Young's School, 1816, 630 King St.
53. Dickson-Potter House, ca. 1860, 94 John St.
54. Dickson-Rand House, ca. 1825, Randwood, 178 (was 120) John St.
55. Commissariat's Quarters, ca. 1817, on the Military Reserve
56. Powell-Cavers House, ca.1818, 433 King St. Stokes wrote that this property was also "known as Brockamour, the allusion being to John Powell's sister-in-law, Sophia Shaw, believed to be [Isaac] Brock's fiancee, who had been staying in the Powell's summer house on the River Rd. near Queenston." Stokes wrote that part of the original house survived the holocaust of 1813, when the Americans burned the town.
57. above: seen in deep lush green of the summer of 2009, the white gate at left marks house and lot at 407 King St., which was known as The Wilderness, ca.1816.
above: same view as previous shot, The Wilderness gate in an autumn 2009 view.
above: same view as previous two shots - this postcard (date undetermined) shows The Wilderness area at the left, with the row of magnificent trees along the west side of King St. which is still seen there today. In this view, note that the railway tracks of the former Michigan Central railroad can be seen running along the east side of King St. The railroad line once ran all the way from the Niagara On The Lake docks at the Niagara River to Niagara Falls, Ont. At the right (east) is the edge of the Military Reserve.
58. Lyons-Jones House, ca.1835, 8 Centre St.
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Above recent photos by R. Bobak, were taken in November, 2009, and based on the book Old Niagara on the Lake by Peter John Stokes.
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