Sunday, March 15, 2015

543 Sargent Avenue - Hood Block / Craik Apartments

Name: Hood Block / Craik Apartments
Place: 543 Sargent Avenue (539 - 547 Sargent, 598 Langside)
Constructed: 1904
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

Note: this building will be demolished by the end of march. See it now, before it's gone.


Top: March 1906, Winnipeg Free Press
Bottom: July 1916, Winnipeg Free Press

The Hood Block was constructed in 1904 (source) which likely makes it the oldest building left standing on Sargent Avenue. This is after a check of about 20 other addresses, including: Balmoral Court (1905), Johnson Block / Miller Block (1905), Good Templars Lodge / Zoohky Memorial Hall (1906), Bright House (1907), Fire Hall No. 5 (1910), Connaught Block (1914) and Adanac Apartments (1914). I cannot say this with complete certainty as there could be the remnants of an earlier house hidden behind a more modern commercial facade.

It was built for W. J. Hood, a Notre Dame Avenue grocer who relocated his store from McDermot Avenue and teamed up with Christopher Cornell to form Hood and Cornell grocers, initially listed at the Langside address. The architect and contractor are unknown, though Hood may have had a hand in it himself as he did go on to be a contractor.

The corner retail unit was the feature of the main floor and there were three apartments upstairs. At times, both of store owners lived there. Soon after, Hood had a small house built attached to the rear of the building, described as shanty-like, which is now demolished.

1910 Miracle Pressed Brick Catalogue (source)

Hood chose a unique building product, something called the Miracle Pressed Stone. The company, based in Minneapolis, claimed that their hydraulic concrete was stronger and more fireproof than cement. The air gap and interlocking nature of their product helped insulate and ensure a waterproof, thus frost-proof in a winter climate, wall. They sold a variety of blocks, pipes and decorative items as well as the molds and machinery to make them. (Check out their 200 page 1910 catalogue !)

In 1904 the North-West Pressed Stone Company on McDermot Avenue became an agent of the company and they featured the product the 1904 Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition. It's hard to tell how popular the product was here. Of the few Manitoba mentions I can find about it in catalogues and newspaper stories, it appears to have been used in rural Manitoba. I've found mention of houses in Giroux and Emerson being built from it, as was the Emerson Baptist Church.


September 1924, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1911 Hood sold the block to Dr. Glasgow, a medical doctor, for $25,000, who retained the building's original name. It's likely that Hood went into the development / construction business, while Cornell took over the grocery store under his name until the late-1920s. 

In 1925 the building was sold again and the building was renamed Craik Apartments. The address of the building and store were soon changed to Sargent Avenue.

The largest main floor retail space housed a grocery store until at least the 1970s. After Cornell, it was owned by William S. Irish (early 30s), Turner's Grocery (late 1930s), Frank Vaux (1940s) and became Lloyd's Grocery from the early 1950s to the 1970s.

September 16, 1909, Lögberg

The numerous doorways on the main floor of the building indicate that there were at least two other retail units. In 1911, 545 Sargent was Duncan's Millinery and 547 was the Italian Shoe and Boot Repair Company. In 1932, 545 was home to the Dallian Hat Shop and 547 was James Steven's barbershop. in 1942, 545 housed Duncan's Millinery and 547 had both Joseph Grodecki Shoe Repair and Sargent Beauty Parlour.

September 19, 1922, Winnipeg Tribune

The smaller stores came and went with the exception of Duncan's Millinery. Sarah and Ruby Duncan were born in Ireland and came to Winnipeg in 1907. The following year they opened Duncan's Millinery, first at 555 Sargent, then relocated to 545 in 1909. With the exception of a few years around 1922, they remained in this location until Sarah died in 1945. Ruby likely died in 1956.

The building had a quiet existence. I could find no record of fires, crimes or war related deaths at this address until 2011.

Top: ca. 2000s (Source: Now Winnipeg)
Bottom: March 2013

By the year 2000, the building was sporting a mint green paint job and housed a pawn shop and convenience store. By the end of the decade, the retail was gone and in 2010 it was raided by police after discovering that it had become a cocaine warehouse.

Top: Gutted interior (source: The Year Past - 2012)
Bottom: Original redevelopment plans (source: 2011 variance application)

The owner of a neighbouring business, Sal Infantino of X-Cues' Billiards and Café, purchased the property and made application to the city for the variances needed to completely renovate it back into a mixed-use building with self-contained residential suites upstairs and offices on the main floor. He told The Uniter: "I want to make the area vibrant; if I can throw 25 students on the corner here it would be a great addition to the street."

Renovations included gutting the interior and replacing systems such as electrical, plumbing and HVAC, installation of a new roof and windows and repainting the exterior.

545 Sargent Avenue - Craik Apts
Collapsed section of sidewalk

Work was nearing completion in July 2014, with tenants lined up for September 1, when the sidewalk out front collapsed. It dropped over a meter, pulling the facade of the building down with it with it.

In November 2014 the city issued an unsafe building order against the owner. His appealed was denied on February 3, 2015 by the city's Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development.

The building will be demolished in March 2015.

For more about the last months of the building's existence, including an interview with the owner, check out my story in the Winnipeg Free Press of March 22, 2015.


Sidewalk sinking on Sargent Avenue Winnipeg Free Press (July 2014)
Local businessman joins joins student housing development market The Uniter (Sept 2011)
The Year Past - 2012 Historical Buildings Committee (p. 24)
Some Old Winnipeg Buildings Manitoba Historical Society (1972)

Friday, February 20, 2015

301 Burnell Street - Former Grey Goose Bus Lines Garage

Scenic Crusier
Fmr Grey Goose Bus Garage

Place: Former Grey Goose Garage (demolished)
Address: 301 Burnell Street (Map)
Date: 1920, 1944 (demolished), 1971 (demolished)
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

Background:

Much of Burnell Street from Portage to St. Matthews Avenues did not develop until after 1910. Prior to that, it consisted of a dairy farm and pasture land for cows and horses. In 1912 Canada Bread built a large commercial bakery with a garage and stables. Houses began to appear on the east side and apartments along St. Paul Avenue, but a gap remained between number 291 and 307, possibly a remnant of pasture land.

February 7, 1920, Winnipeg Tribune

The first development on this site came in 1920 when Gray-Ogletree Motors built a 14,000 square foot, 140' x 100', car showroom, garage and service station at number 297 - 305. The company was the local dealer for Hupmobile, a line of cars founded by Robert and Louis Hupp in Detroit in 1908.

Frank A. Ogletree of Ruby Street and  Harvey L. Grey of Canora Street were both involved in other dealerships when they came together to form this new partnership. Robert Gair of Banning Street was their head mechanic.

Construction of the building was underway by June 1919 with an expected opening date of December 1. For some reason that was delayed and they had to set up temporary offices in the Somerset Building on Portage Avenue. The dealership did not open until mid-March 1920.

A factor in the delay may have been securing stock. A small item in a February 1921 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune mentions that Mr. Ogletree had just returned from Hupp plant in Detroit and was only able to get 100 cars for the 1920 model season and that customers needed to order in advance.  Whether this actually indicted production delays at the plant, or just an advertising gimmick, is unclear.

June 26, 1920, Winnipeg Tribune

When the business finally opened, the dealership also offered car storage, used car sales and a filling station.
 
By the end of the year the partnership had dissolved and it was known simply as Grey Motors. they alss opened a separate showroom space at Portage and Sherbrook, leaving the Burnell site as their warehouse and garage.

Gray Motors' demise came with the fall of Hupmobile Corporation in the early months of the Depression.

May 17, 1925, Winnipeg Free Press

When Grey moved its showroom to Portage Avenue, the building was subdivided.

In 1921 the north portion was home to West End Auto Livery, featuring seven passenger cars for hire. In 1922 the White Motor Company moved from their old location at 666 Portage Avenue. They sold and serviced White Trucks trucks built at the company's plant in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1931 White built an assembly plant in Montreal giving them a larger presence in the Canadian market.

In the mid 1940s White Trucks had relocated to Horace Street in Norwood.

February 4, 1939, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1940 Grey Goose Bus Lines became a tenant alongside White Trucks.

The roots of Grey Goose go back to 1924 when Jack Smith began a single bus route, using a second-hand touring car, between Winnipeg and Carman. He later sold it to Gary Lewis who, in 1929, joined forces with Elmer Clay who ran a service between Morden and Winnipeg.The duo  purchased a couple of 30-passenger buses.

In the ensuing years, other independent bus lines and rural routes were brought into the partnership and in 1934 the company was incorporated under the name Grey Goose Bus Lines with Alfred Hurshman as president and Gary Lewis as vice president. By 1937 they operated a fleet of 21 buses offering regular service throughout Manitoba as well as a charter service.

In 1944 Grey Goose built an extension to the south of the building, essentially a duplicate of the original structure.

Bus Grey Goose April 10 1962 WFP
April 10, 1962, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1961 Grey Goose was acquired by Thiessen Bus Lines.

Thiessen's story was similar to that of Grey Goose. It began in 1946 when Abaram J. Thiessen began a bus route from Gretna and Winkler  to Winnipeg. Over time, he absorbed other bus routes and companies, including Interlake Bus Lines and Transcona Bus Lines, making him a large player on the Manitoba scene. 

In 1969 the new company, Grey Goose United, purchased Manitoba Motor Transit Limited of Brandon, making it Western Canada's largest inter-urban bus company and one of the five largest in the country, with 50 buses in operation.

Grey Goose Bus Garage
In the 1950s and 2010s

In 1971 Thiessen constructed a new garage on the site of the old one. He also announced that Grey Goose United would go public, selling 220,000 shares at $2.50 each to help fund the garage, the purchase of new buses and, possibly, acquiring more companies.

Just as Grey Goose grew through a series of acquisitions and mergers, it disappeared the same way.


When the shares went on sale, Laidlaw Motorways Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario purchased the majority of them, announcing the acquisition in August 1972. They kept the Grey Goose name and the Thiessen family as managers.

In 1997 Laidlaw purchased Greyhound Canada Ltd. and its parent company Greyhound Lines Inc., though continued to operate Grey Goose as a separate subsidiary.

Demolition of Former Grey Goose Garage - afternoon

The end for Grey Goose came in 2007 when British-based FirstGroup purchased Laidlaw's transportation assets. The following year they merged Grey Goose's operations with Greyhound at their garage in Point Douglas. The Grey Goose name disappeared and the Burnell garage was closed.

The garage, which sat on contaminated land, was difficult to sell. Non-profit groups such as the Manitoba Transit Heritage Association and Santa Claus Parade were allowed to use it as storage. Finally, in 2012, it was demolished, the land remediated, and sold.

Phase one proposal

In 2014 a group called Business Concern Canada Ltd. announced a new residential development for the site. The first phase consists of 16 duplex, townhouse-style buildings consisting of three bedroom units. A phase 2 will include another 100 units.

Construction began on phase one in February 2015. 

Related:
My Grey Goose Garage Flickr album
Switch Iron MTHA (page 4)
A.J. Thiessen Fonds Mennonite Church Archives
History of Inter-city buses in Manitoba

Public Hearing of proposal - 301 Burnell City of Winnipeg

Old Grey Goose Coach
September 15, 1939, Winnipeg Tribune

Burnell Street, Winnipeg
December 29, 1939, Winnipeg Free Press

 Former Grey Goose Garage
Interior, 1971 garage, ca. 2012

Thursday, January 22, 2015

618 Arlington Street - Northland Knitting Building / ARTlington

618 Arlington Street

Place: Northland Knitting Building / ARTlington (website)
Address: 618 Arlington Street (map)
Built: 1912, (expansion ca. 1927)
Architect: David W. F. Nichols
Contractor: F. Hinds



The Northland Knitting Company was created by brothers S. J. R. (Sam) and Thomas J. Fernie who came to Winnipeg from Buckingham, Quebec with their parents and siblings in the late 1800s.

Sam eventually became a travelling salesman with the Hudson Bay Knitting Company, eventually setting up shop as an independent seller with an office in the Kilgour Block. Around 1907 he joined forces with borther Thomas and the two created Northland Knitting at 132 Portage Avenue East.  

Things were going well for the fledgling company. Within five years they had sixty employees and took up two floors of the building, manufacturing sweaters, coats, mittens and gloves that were sold throughout the west. 

Tragedy struck when Sam died suddenly in 1911 at the age of 36. It was left to Thomas to carry out their expansion plans. 


September 5, 1912, Winnipeg Tribune

Northland purchased a piece of land on Arlington Street between Ellice and Sargent and hired architect David W. F. Nichols to design a simple, two-storey structure for them. Nichols was known to that point for his home designs, but after the Arlington project went on to apartment blocks and the Cornish Baths.

In September 1912 contractor F. Hinds took out the $20,000 building permit and the construction appears to have gone smoothly. There are no newspaper reports of an official grand opening, though by the end of the month were already using the Arlington Street address in their help wanted ads.



Soon after the new building opened, Fernie took on a right hand man named C. E. Harvey as secretary-treasurer. Born in England, Harvey came to Winnipeg with his parents while still young. His father was a businessman and he followed suit, owning a general store in Killarney, Manitoba for a while. He then became a travelling salesman with Hudson Bay Knitting, (the same firm Sam Fernie worked for prior to creating Northland.)

Harvey became Northlands' vice-president and, when Thomas Fernie retired to B.C. in 1927, took over as president.


November 16, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

It was under Harvey that the company reached the peak of its success. 

Shorly after taking over, he expanded the building by adding two floors and invested in new equipment. One was a giant circular jacquard knitting machine with 1,880 needles capable of making 241,920 stitches per minute. Another machine produced fancy gloves from caribou, pigskin, suede and chamois, and Harvey hired a production expert from New York State to come operate it.

This new invedtment increased their production and expanded their product lines of sweaters, sweater coats, gloves and toques to include knit tubing, golf and athletic hosiery. Northland went from a regional player to selling their goods across the country.


618 Arlington (2)
618 Arlington Street, Winnipeg

The expanded building was a hive of activity. The main floor was shipping and receiving and the second floor was the stock room. The third was the knitting area with dozens of knitting machines and the fourth floor was where the pieces were sewn together, then lowered down to the stock floor.

Soon after the expanded plant opened, Harvey hosted a tour for the Young Men's Section of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. With the group was Premier John Bracken and Alderman Alfred Pulford.

Northland was one of a handful of large knitwear companies that sold its wares nationally, there were also numerous smaller firms around the the city. For some of them, the end was near as the Depression dealt them a death blow.


February 11, 1932, Winnipeg Tribune

In the early years of the Depression, Northland faced an additional crisis as Charles Harvey died in 1932 at the age of 50. He was in the company's garage one afternoon and  overcome with carbon monoxide fumes. An employee found him and he was rushed to hospital but never regained consciousness and died later that day. (Harvey was also mourned by the golfing community, for more on that see his page at the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame.)

The company continued on until 1936 when it went into receivership and its stock and equipment sold off.

The surviving founder of the company, Thomas Fernie, died in New Westminster in January 1939.


July 12, 1941, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1939 Alpha Manufacturing, which built air conditioning and heating systems, relocated here from smaller premises on Notre Dame Avenue. In 1943 they relocated to another plant back on Notre Dame Avenue.

For the next couple of decades, it was back to clothing manufacturers. In the 1950s Echlin Manufacturing, then King Manufacturing called it home. From 1950 to 1960 Pick Overall Manufacturing, which eventually became Monarch Wear, used it. When Pick/Monarch moved, it ended 618 Arlington's fifty-year run in the clothing manufacturing business.


Old Sign
May 31, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press


Next up was National Upholstering in 1961. The company, or a previous incarnation of it,  existed in the city since 1946 on Sutherland Street, though there may have been a pause in business during the 1950s. National did upholstery work but soon expanded into furniture manufacturing and sales. They remained here until 1980, then relocated to William Avenue.


The next long term tenant brought the building closer to its roots as a knitwear factory. Ram Wools operated a retail store and warehouse here from 1981 until the mid 1990s.

Since that time it has been a retail shop and a self-storage warehouse.

 618 Arlington Street, Winnipeg
 618 Arlington (4)

The building sat vacant for a couple of years until 2010 when real estate agent John Hunsberger purchased it. He had it rezoned so that it could be converted into 33 artist's studios ranging in size from 150 to 320 square feet. The project opened in phases starting in 2011 and is called ARTlington Gallery.

The first three floors are now studios with a wide range of artists and a theatre/ dance school. In 2015 the fourth floor is being converted into a larger dance studio space. 

Related
My photo album of 618 Arlington
Artlington Galleries Facebook Page
Artlington a secret studio The Metro (2012)
Warehouse has creative future Winnipeg Free Press


618 Arlington
2011

618 Arlington Street, Winnipeg

618 Arlington Street
 2015




 December 1924


 December 1925


October 1926


 December 1926


December 1926


July 1930

October 17, 1936, Winnipeg Tribune