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Monthly Archives: August 2008

King Street West, looking east from near Kincaid St.

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This ia a “gritty” view of King Street, with dirt road, wooden sidewalks, gas lamps and towering wooden electric poles. Dominating this old scene is the large brick Central Block which has stood on this part of the main street since it was built in 1878.The first awning on the left was that of McConkey’s Grocery, then Edward Clint, undertaker and furniture dealer, George Wooding, boots & shoes (note his stock in the front), Michael Kehoe, merchant tailor, Morrison & Percival, tinsmiths, Timothy Browne & Co., grocers, and lastly, McGlade’s Hotel. The small building where the present Tim Horton’s stands was the location of Anson Carr, the barber and Ross & Burns, butchers.

On the other side of Chase St. is the three-storey Grand Central Hotel, at that time operated by Samuel Connor and owned by Charles and Kate Cossitt.

The corner of the street at Kincaid on the bottom right was vacant, and the second large building with the tower was the Tompkins Block. This property later became the western part of the Strathcona Hotel, also developed by Thomas Tompkins one of Brockville’s earlier property developers.


For comparison, this later view shows part of the same area about 40 years later. Parking a car on the main street was becoming a problem most days. The “gasoline” sign was outside the new building of Beacock & Co., dealers in Cadillac, McLaughlin, Oldsmobile and Pontiac automobiles, which stood at the south-east corner of King & Kincaid Sts. Beyond that, one can see the sign of the Capital Theatre, previously known as the Brock Theatre.

On the north side are first, the sign of George Morrison’s cigar store and pool room, and at the far end, Diana Sweets Restaurant, run by Mike Leras, was formerly “Diana Sweets Confectionery Shop”.

June 1, 1941

Victory Loan Parade

Sources: The older photograph on the left was first published in the Christmas 1894 edition of “The Canadian Annual” a graphic magazine which featured “Beautiful Brockville, The City of the Thousand Islands” that year in a 41-page special section.

Just a Memory

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We are very proud of the many significant buildings that still exist in Brockville. However, there are a number that are no longer with us. The five photographs below may remind some of our readers of buildings that have disappeared from view, or introduce to others, one or more they have not been aware of.

Horton Public School

9 James St. E., Brockville
photo taken around 1905

The Horton School was opened in 1899 to accommodate elementary students from the central and eastern part of town. It was a four-room brick school that took over the site of the old Grammar School (later the Brockville High School) and was named after Dr. R. Nelson Horton whose efforts on the School Board were appreciated. After closing in 1950, the former school served for a time as the home of the Royal Canadian Legion, Brockville Branch.

Anne & William Fitzsimmons House

24 Home St., Brockville
photo taken in 1973

The Fitzsimmons House was built in the 1840s for a growing family of 10 Fitzsimmons children. William Fitzsimmons (1819-1894) was a builder and politician who served his community from 1847 to 1882. This house was torn down in 1974 to make way for the Buell-Fitzsimmons Manor for Seniors.

The Comstock Building

11-17 Court House Ave., Brockville
photo taken around 1960

The Comstock Building was erected by William H, Comstock in 1886-87. It housed the head office and Canadian factory of the W.H. Comstock Co. Ltd.. Also in this building was D.A. Cummings Co., Beale & Summerby, lawyers, Edgar, Willows & Locke, insurance, and Prus & Martin, architects. The building was demolished in 1966.

1 Thomas St., Brockville, ON [now demolished] Electric Power Plant - taken about 1905

Electrical Power House

1 Thomas St.
photo taken about 1905

Thomas Street is a short dead-end street in the west end, south of Hartley St., and was named after Thomas Wilkinson (1832-1912), who for a long time was manager of the Brockville Gas Co. and the Central Canada Coal Co. When electricity was introduced to Brockville in 1887, Wilkinson and the Gas Co. built this generating plant to produce power. The electricity created from coal-powered steam engines was used to power some early arc lamps in the downtown area. In 1893 their new company was known as the Brockville Light & Power Co.

“Waterniche,” The Woodcock – Delahaye House

101 Hartley St., Brockville

Brockville landscape and portrait artist Percy F. Woodcock (1855-1936) and his wife Aloysia (Pratt) were the earliest known residents of Waterniche. It was, however, after 1909 for many years connected with the family of Thomas Delahaye, who was the managing director of the National Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (earlier the Cossitt Co. Ltd.) for many years. A disastrous early-morning fire on June 2, 1951 destroyed this house, while owned by Dr. Thomas J. Goodison.

Sources: Two of these photos were published in the 1906 Brockville Old Boy’s Re-union special magazine. The photo of the Comstock Building was shot by an unknown staff member of the Recorder &Times. I took the one of the Fitzsimmons House during the time of the 1973 Summer Museum held there by the Brockville & District Historical Society. The various details about each building were extracted from many different sources, as usual.

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