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The Halladay Block

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175-210 King St. W., Brockville

Built in Brockville

The two photographs below show views of one of Brockville’s more interesting west-end commercial blocks at two points in its history. This property on the south side of King St. W. east of Mill St. was originally owned by the Daniel Jones family and contained the large Jones home and grounds. In the 1880s the property was purchased by Ezra H. Halladay (ca.1839 – 1886) who was also elected Mayor of Brockville in 1883. Halladay had this large block of stores, offices and apartments built on King St. In addition he also opened a new street between Kincaid & Mill (now lower John St.) which has become misspelled as “Halliday “St. The Jones house was retained and the remaining land was subdivided into house lots.

Ezra Halladay - ca1866

Ezra H. Halladay as he was photographed in the 1860s. He was elected Mayor in 1883, but passed away in 1886 at the age of 47.

175-201 King St W - Halladay Block, Brockville, ON
ca.1920

In this earlier picture, the Halladay Block was home to these merchants (from Mill St. now John St. eastward): [201] James L Greenwood, grocery; [197] D. Derbyshire Co. Ltd., butter & cheese, etc.; [193] Robert H. Smart, hardware; [183] Robert Sheridan, furniture & undertaker; [175] Alfred H. Swarts, furniture& undertaker; [171] N. Stuart Cuthbertson, real estate & insurance; [169] Lovell & Christmas Ltd., butter & cheese. Equally interesting is the garage and gasoline station on the near corner (the big letters say: “VULCANIZING”). The old wood framed building being used at that time was the early grocery store of William Gilmour.

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Smart’s Hardware - Halladay Block fire Nov 28 -1949
November 28, 1949

The disaster of fire has struck this block at least four times. The first fire was in 1924 from which businesses were able to rebuild. But this picture shows the widespread damage following the fire of November 27, 1949 which started in the Smart’s Hardware business and spread in each direction. The Halladay Block was mostly destroyed and could not be re-used. The present buildings were subsequently built but in recent times were also involved in unexpected fires. The service station on the right was then operated by Theo R. Gates and John F. Sheppard.

[For any architectural buffs, it is my guess that the architect for the Halladay Block was Owen E. Liston. This is solely based on the fact that he was advertising his office here on the second floor in 1886.]

Sources: A copy of the earlier 1920 photo is in the collection of the Brockville Museum. The second post-fire 1949 photo was taken by Walter C. Barkley, a professional photographer in Brockville and was kindly loaned to me by the late Ronald C. Barkley of Mallorytown. The portrait of Erza H. Halladay was in the Reid family collection and was taken by A.C. McIntyre about 1866. The details on store owners was taken from a Vernon’s Brockville Business Directory published in 1919.

[Any of these photographs 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 in the system]

copyright March 2008 - Doug Grant, ON

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