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Two New Churches……..1878-1879

Posted on
Designed by
James P. Johnston, Architect
of Ogdensburg


The town of Brockville saw the building of four new churches in the years between 1875 and 1879. The first one was the George St. Episcopal Methodist Church (1875) on the south-west corner of Court House Square. Then the congregation of Trinity Anglican Church (1877) built their new building at the corner of Clarissa St. & George St.


ca. 1880

1 Pine St [Brockville, ON] - Baptist Tabernacle [ca1880] improved

The First Baptist Church was under construction throughout 1878.
The new Baptist church was situated on the site of the old one. It was built of blue limestone and trimmed with white crystalized limestone. The main sanctuary designed to seat 500 persons on the main floor measured 77 x 56 feet. The spire rose to a height of 120 feet. Four large stained glass windows enhanced the sanctuary. The pastor, the Rev. R.B. Montgomery led the dedication services on Sunday, March 23, 1879.

This was followed by new church edifices, built to replace earlier buildings. These are the two modern churches pictured here. Above is the Baptist Tabernacle (1878) on the south-east corner of Court House Sq., and below is the First Presbyterian Church (1879) on the north-west corner opposite. Imagine the interest of Brockvillians in this frenzy of church construction, in an age when church attendance was an integral part of family life.
The latest approved style of religious architecture was the soaring neo-gothic shown here and the design of these two buildings was from the hand of James P. Johnston (1841-1893),a very successful architect, then practicing in Ogdensburg, N.Y. With the completion of these buildings Johnston gained a number of important residential commissions from the wealthy businessmen of Brockville including Newton Cossitt, Richard Field and Thomas Gilmour.


ca. 1880

10 Church St [Brockville, ON] - First Presbyterian Church [c1880]

The First Presbyterian Church was completed in 1879.
The new church was the third one erected on this corner near the Court House. The large sanctuary measured 100 x 110 ft. with a seating capacity of 900. The cost of construction was said to be about $35,000.


Source: These two previously unknown photos were found by the late John Kehn of Home Again Antiques, who allowed me to copy them a few years ago. They were taken by George B. Murray, and may have been the earliest professional pictures taken after construction was completed. Also note the smaller buildings on either side of the churches.




The Albion Hotel – no longer a Brockville Landmark

19-21 King St. E. [now on the site of the Wedgwood Retirement Facility]


The Albion Hotel, Brockville

When this photograph was taken about 1909, this hotel had been known as the Albion Hotel for over thirty years. Patrick Ludlow, then the proprietor, had been connected with the business for nineteen years. Along with a bar and dining room, the hotel boasted twenty-five bedrooms. Notice the two definite sections of the building. There is no information about when the addition on the right was added to the 1830s part.

[This photograph can be viewed full size in a separate window by double clicking on the picture on this page until you reach the enlarged version further into the system]

Built in Brockville

The long history of this Hotel

It is a great shame that this building no longer stands on our main street as it did until it was torn down a few years ago. It was one of Brockville’s oldest hotels, dating back to about 1830.

The original owner was the Hon. Charles Jones (1781-1840), an early Family Compact politician and the possessor of much of the land in the eastern third of old Brockville.

However, Jones was not a hotel keeper. He leased the building to Eri Lusher who operated it as “Lusher’s Hotel” in the 1830s. For three years (1843-46) the hotel was rented and operated by William H. Willson as the “Brockville Hotel“. He later went on to build the most successful, the “Willson House” at the corner of King St. and Market Square East.

The next proprietor was John McKenzie from Prescott who opened his “North American Hotel” here in 1846. The property was then owned by Charles Dickinson, Sr.
In 1851, Hiram Fulford ran a business in this building which he coined “Fulford’s Masonic Hotel“, while McKenzie tried another location. John McKenzie soon returned and operated “McKenzie’s Hotel” here until 1865.

Charles Dickinson’s widow, Maria Dickinson, through her will, gave the hotel property to her son Charles W. Dickinson in 1877.

From 1865-1874 this was the “International Hotel” at 175, 177 King St. according to the previous way of numbering the main street from west to east.

Then, for a long period (1875-1916), the hotel was known as the “Albion Hotel“. In this period there were various hotel proprietors such as James O’Donahoe, James Johnson, James Dillon, Patrick Ludlow (11 years), and Thomas P. Christopher.

In 1905, ownership of the property passed to Charles and John Stagg through the will of their great-uncle Charles W. Dickinson. They held on to the hotel until 1928.

It was in 1917 that the hotel name changed to “Garbutt’s Hotel” with the arrival of Harry Garbutt. He soon turned it over to Erle and Jessie Ashley who ran the hotel and then purchased it in 1928 retaining the name Garbutt’s for all their tenure. Their children, Mary M. (Milne) and Richard E. Ashley retained ownership in the family until 1964.

In the 1940s and 50s, David T. Dextor was the manager.

In more recent years, I do not know a lot about the ownership or operation of the business.

In 1964 the hotel was sold by Mary Marguerite (Ashley) Milne and her brother, Richard E. Ashley to Kay and Tim Kelly.
The Kellys set about to renovate and redecorate the building they had taken over.

One of their changes was to rename the business, “The Carriage House“. This couple made an impact on the community while in Brockville but later left town in the 1970s.
The hotel was purchased in 1970 by a Dutch couple, Thomas and Maryke Van Kimmenaede. Their ownership lasted until 1985 when they sold out to Mel Murdock and Ted Weise, who were then the owners of the “Manitonna Hotel” next door.

Desmond Nolan was known to be the manager for some of the later years.

Sources: The photograph above was published by the “Evening Recorder” in the 1909 Brockville Board of Trade souvenir booklet, “The Island City”. Many of the historical details have been gleaned over the years from newspaper ads, articles and business directories.

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

Black line

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