Tuesday, August 21, 2012

666 Main Street - Weir Hardware Building

© 2013, Christian Cassidy
Main Street

The Weir Block
Address: 666 Main Street (Map)
Built: 1899
Architect: Unknown


Main Street ca. 1910

The F. W. Weir Company hardware store was created in 1893 by Frederick William Wooler Weir who came to Winnipeg from his native Peterborough, Ontario. In June 1899, he purchased a 23-foot lot on Main Street at Henry Avenue and had this building constructed. The architect is unknown.

The main floor housed the store and the upper floor was office space. For much of its first four decades, it housed medical practitioners, including A. J. Slater in the 1900s and Dr. Wilson Graham in the 1930s.

September 14, 1900, Manitoba Free Press

1905 Henderson Directory

In April 1905, Weir joined forces with John M. Wilson, a former manager at J. H. Ashdown Hardware, and the firm was renamed Weir and Wilson.

Frederick Weir married Mary Georgette Wilson, (not sure if she was related to his business partner), on May 16, 1889. She was from a pioneer family that came to Red River by paddle boat in 1876. The couple had seven children, four sons and three daughters.

Sons Morley and Stanley were sportsmen in the early 1920s. They were teammates on both the Elmwood Giants baseball team and the Assiniboines hockey club. They worked at the family business and when Weir and Wilson retired, they took over and renamed it the Weir Hardware Company.

F. W. Weir died in 1933 at the age of 75. His wife, Mary, died in 1939. John M. Wilson died in 1936.

666 Main Corydon hardware

A second Weir Hardware location opened in the former Corydon Meat Market building at 838 Corydon Avenue in 1938. The store lasted a dozen years then was sold off to become Corydon Hardware.

The Weir brothers sold the Main Street business in 1951.

March 5, 1953, Winnipeg Free Press

It appears that Stanley Weir retired to Petersfield Manitoba, though I can find no record of his death.

Morley's life after Weir hardware was short and tragic.

He and his wife Evelyn moved to Aransas Pass, Texas where she died in July 1951 at the age of 48. Her brief obituary does not hint at a reason for hear early death. The body was returned to Winnipeg for burial.

Morley returned to the States and purchased the Park Hotel in downtown Houston, Texas.  Early on March 4, 1953 he got into a dispute with a customer over an unpaid hotel bill. The customer struck Morley who fell and hit his head on the pavement and died hours later in hospital. He was 55 years old.

Main Street, early 1980s (source)

The Weirs had sold the business to
James Rosenstock, a long-time merchant in Winnipeg and Beausejour. He renamed it Bell Hardware for its proximity to the Bell Hotel.

Rosenstock ran Bell Hardware until around 1986 and died in 1994. The building, for the most part, has been vacant since that time.

666 Main

CentreVenture, the downtown development agency, purchased a group of buildings in the 600 block of Main Street in 2007 for redevelopment. This included number 666. All were demolished except for the Bell Hotel which has become a supportive housing complex.

In October 2011, CentreVenture announced that JMT Holdings, a division of JC Paving, purchased 666 and 668 Main Street to construct a three storey commercial building with a pharmacy on the main floor.
In August 2012 a "coming soon" sign for the new development was hung from the building.

UPDATE: The building was demolished in February 2013:

Weir Hardware Block
Weir Hardware Block

Photos of 666 Main Street
666 Main Street
Historic Buildings Report 

 Main Street

1 comment:

  1. Frederick William Wooler Weir was my great grandfather! I am happy to read about him and see these pictures.