Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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

Below: Sept.1919 - Looking at the south-east corner of Bridge St. and today's Zimmerman Ave.(formerly known as Clifton Ave.) at the Imperial Bank of Canada building, which was built in 1906, on the former site of Coulson's bakery. The address for this Imperial Bank building at the tome was 190 bridge St.. JR Williams Garage is seen at the left, facing onto Bridge St.
above: same view, Feb.17, 2009. The garage is gone; at the right the same chimney can be seen on a house along Zimmerman Ave. The Imperial Bank of Canada merged with The Canadian Bank of Commerce on Jun.1, 1961, thereby forming the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
(Note: there is a misconception that this Imperial Bank building is the old 'Zimmerman Bank' - but, it is NOT the same building. The building which Samuel Zimmerman had built for his bank in the 1850's was directly across the street, on the south-west corner of Bridge St. and Zimmerman Ave. After S. Zimmerman's 1857 death and subsequent liquidation of his bank, the building became the federal Customs and Post Office, which moved in 1885 to the newly-built Customs building just down the block (on the north-east corner of Zimmerman Ave. and Park St.) The former Zimmerman Bank building also hosted the first Niagara Falls public library, from 1878 to 1886.
The former Zimmerman Bank building eventually became the Hotel Savoy, which was demolished in April 1937. A new Federal gov't. building was built on the Savoy site probably in the 1950's-1960's; this building was sold off by the government in the spring of 2014)
below: 1970's rear view of the Imperial Bank (by then known as the CIBC) standing on Zimmerman Ave.looking towards Bridge St.
above: same view, Oct.19, 2014, with the ivy still running along the rear stone wall.
below: 1978, looking across Bridge St. at the front elevation of the former Imperial Bank

above: same view, Nov.12, 2012, roofing work being done. The building at the far right was still the federal building at the time (it was sold in 2014 and is no longer a gov't. building) This was the site where the Zimmerman Bank had once stood, which eventually became the Savoy Hotel, and which was demolished in Apr 1937. So for about 31 years, both the Imperial Bank building, and the building which Zimmerman had constructed for his bank, were neighbours on opposite corners..
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below: Apr. 1932 - looking at the west side of Valley Way, between Morrison St. and Victoria Ave. The Falls Motors, advertising Bosch Radios, was downstairs; Dominion Signs was above.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009
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below: Looking at the south-east corner of Victoria Ave. and Morrison St., at the T. Eaton Co. department store building in Niagara Falls, as it was being demolished in 1971 (exact month not given. However see the 3rd photo below, which notes in was taken Nov.1971, and which shows that no demolition has yet begun on the Eaton's building. Yet in this photo immediately beloww, the upper floor is seen gutted. So, this photo, if the timeline is correct, must have been taken in Nov. or Dec. 1971.)
This Eaton's was built in 1928, on the former site of  Harmanus Crysler's idyllic homestead, "Hunter's Lodge". Harmanus Crysler (b.1799, d.1884) was the builder of the famous Clifton House hotel in 1826, which Samuel Zimmerman  eventually bought from Crysler, about 20 years later. It's pretty certain that Samuel Zimmerman would have visited Mr. Crysler here at home on many occasions.
below: a view of the same intersection on Aug.23, 1955. At left, on the north-east corner of Victoria and Morrison, is a vitrolite-sided 'Canadian Tire Corporation' storefront; a neon sign overhangs the sidewalk, pointing to the 'Variety Restaurant' along the side, down Morrison. Eaton's is seen at the right.

above: same view, Feb.17. 2009. Where Eaton's once was is now the site of the Niagara Falls Library.
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below: Nov. 1971 - looking at the east side of Victoria Ave. towards Morrison St.; the Eaton's building can be seen at left on the corner. (Note; this photo is dated Nov.1971, however it looks like no demolition has started yet on the Eaton's store. The earlier picture 3 photos above also says it's from 1971 (month not given). So if this photo is from Nov,1971 , and we see that he demo hasn't started, then the photo earlier above had to have been taken either later in Nov., or, Dec. 1971 (?)
The building with the Coke sign was the Primrose Bakery. The Primrose Bakery (in 1955) was located at 840 Victoria Ave. The building to its left, with the modernistic white pillared-facade, was the Bank of Nova Scotia, located at 836 Victoria Ave. Note that both these buildings were added on to the fronts of older houses, on where their front lawns once were; the roofs of the two older houses can be seen still be seen in the below view.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009 - the library is in the distance; where the Primrose was is now the site of Basell's restaurant. The Bank of Nova Scotia is now at the corner of Morrison and Victoria. The two buildings have since been rebuilt, as the old roofs are no longer seen.
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below: The Primrose Bakery in Nov. 1955, with the old house is still visible at rear. The corner of the Bank of Nova Scotia is at the far left. (Though the date is given to be 1955, the address oddly seems to read 844 here, while directories show that the Primrose to have been at 840; perhaps there was an address change at some point?)

above: Feb.17, 2009 - the Primrose was once located on the right side.
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below: May 19, 1948 - looking at the west side of Victoria Ave., between Simcoe St. and Willmott St. as the streetcar tracks are being torn out in Niagara Falls, Ont. A drug store/soda fountain is seen at the left; Ritchie's Home Appliances is seen in the centre.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009. The streetcar tracks are long-gone. Note same houses further down to the north, towards Willmott St., are seen in both photos.
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below: Jun.3, 1948 - looking at the south-side of Bridge St., between River Rd. at the left (east), and Cataract Ave. at the right. The Michigan Central Railroad bridge over the Niagara River is seen in the background at the left. Simon's restaurant is seen at the centre. The streetcar tracks are being ripped out.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009. Simon's restaurant is still seen at the centre under a now-gabled roof; the three-storey building seen previously on the far corner has been demolished. The Michigan Central railroad bridge is still there, but abandoned, with the tracks removed. Two huge black plywood barb-wired walls (seen in the photo, on the bridge) have been built at either end of the bridge for border security.
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below: May 7, 1948 - looking along Victoria Ave. towards Clifton Hill, soon after the streetcar tracks were taken out. Note in the lower centre of the photo that the streetcar tracks had crossed a railroad siding (seen running diagonally across Victoria Ave., leading to the Nabisco plant) wying off the main Michigan Central line, which is seen at the far right. The Michigan Central Victoria Park train station can also be seen along the far right, at the corner of Victoria Ave. and Clifton Hill.


above: same view, Feb.17, 2009. The Michigan Central railroad station was once located on the corner where the blue building is now seen at the right distance. To the immediate right was where the Bush Estate once was.and where Samuel Zimmerman's original 1856-built coachouse and stables were located, until they were demolished in late 2015.  (see: Niagara Falls Then and Now: the Clifton Place mansion on the Zimmerman/Bush Estate )
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below: Apr. 1977 - looking along Victoria Ave. from a point just east of Clifton Hill. The Michigan Central tracks are seen to the right. At the bottom right of photo, the tracks would have at one time been just entering the Victoria Park station on the corner of Victoria Ave. and Clifton Hill.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009 - the former track right of way (originally Samuel Zimmerman's "Erie and Ontario" line) is now a grassed pathway. Note the location of the angled-roof building seen at the left distance in both shots.
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below: May 11, 1939 the Community Plating Co. plant is seen at the left. The General Brock Hotel is seen at the right (north); Falls Ave. is seen along the front. Clifton Hill would be just to the left (south), out of frame. Note streetcar at bottom right, where the elevation drops down on the east side of Falls Ave. opposite the hotel. At bottom left is probably a parking lot, and just out of frame at the bottom left was the site of Oake's Garden Theatre, which opened on Sept.18, 1937.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009; the former Brock Hotel (where Marilyn Monroe had stayed during the filming of Niagara in 1953) is now the Crowne Plaza. Where the great lawns once were to the left is now the site of the casino, with the casino tower seen above. The area in the foreground, seen earlier above, is still a parking lot today, now part of the border duty free shop. The entrance to the Rainbow Bridge, to the U.S. border, is just out of frame to the right.
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below: 1936 - looking at the area right in front of the General Brock Hotel, where the streetcar was seen two photos previously. Falls Ave. is seen at the bottom; the Brock hotel stood just out of frame to the left. The Niagara River gorge is in the distance, with the four huge chimneys being on the American side. The Little Prince refreshment stand, advertising Light Ale and Beer, is seen at the bottom left. This whole area, including the buildings seen in the centre and to the right, which faced along River Rd., would later be demolished and tranformed into the border landing for the Rainbow Bridge plaza.
The building in the upper-centre-left distance (just to the left of the middle streetlamp pole) still stands - it is now immediately north of the Rainbow Bridge plaza; it had been the Spinella corset factory, which closed around 1958, later becoming a museum; that building now houses the famous Aviary.
above: same location, Feb.17, 2009. Falls Ave. is at the left; the former General Brock/now Crowne Plaza Hotel is just out frame at the left, across the street. The streetcar tracks and buildings, which had once been on the lower elevation seen earlier, have made way for the Rainbow Bridge border plaza. The Carillon Tower, a focal point in Marilyn Monroe's film Niagara, is seen in the centre, overtop the Canadian border checkpoint.
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below: March 1973 - Devito's Confectionery and gasoline station, on the north-west corner of Portage Rd. and Prospect St.

above: same view, Feb.17, 2009. Older photos in this study are from the Niagara Falls, Ont. Library
Archives. Recent photos are by R. Bobak.
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See the next part of this series:  Niagara Falls Then and Now, Buildings lost and found, PART FOUR
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Thanks for visiting Right In Niagara!
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