HERITAGE LIVES: East Main Street Over A Century Ago

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A look down Welland’s East Main Street. (Supplied image)

By Terry Hughes

Our picture for the month shows us a passive image of East Main St. over a century ago. Clues to identify the date of this post card are the presence of hydro lines that were generated by our own hydro-electric station on what would become the west end of the WHVS football field at the end of a raceway dug from the Feeder Canal at Broadway Ave.

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The street itself is not paved but covered in the hardened clay that dominates our region. The faint image of the Alexandria Swing Bridge on the middle right indicates that it is post 1903 when the bridge was put in place. There are no tracks on the street that were laid in 1911-12 to carry the town trolley system.

Several buildings that still grace Main St. today are the Dexter Hotel and the Galleria. The largest building that housed the Olympia Restaurant and Odd Fellows Hall burned down in a spectacular blaze in the 1950’s.

Horses were the mode of travel of the day although there are no signs of hitching posts along the sidewalk. Because the photo was colourized, the painter may have obliterated them. Signage next to the Dexter Hotel indicates a store sold ice cream and may have been a restaurant. A large barn in the background housed horses and various types of carriages for local use.

The skyline features the steeple of St. Andrew’s, the Methodist Church on South Main now King St. and the new town hall dead centre in the photo. The north side of Main St. is obliterated by a tree that hides the Arlington Hotel.

At night the street was illuminated by an early style electric lights. It looks as though it is going to be a hot, summer day.

Next Month: Out With The Old and in With The New……Welland has a new city logo!

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading.)


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