Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Memories and a bit of Then and Now from our Home Towns of Fort William and Port Arthur.....

The Hot Rods and Jalopies generation is about memories, flashbacks, and reminiscing, and what better time of the year to dive into the past than here we are again celebrating everyone's favourite season with our first post of December 2016.

     Yes I do occasionally re-use the odd photo from past years but they are needed to add to new stories and posts for interest sake.  Here is my father in 1958 loading a pile of trees that he just chopped down, likely in the Oliver Lake of which will be used for the Annual Kam Motors Limited Christmas party.  As you history buffs know, Kam Motors was located on Leith St. in Fort William....the building still exists to this day, but Kam Motors had a depot as well....later located at May and Bethune St. across from the old Spicer's Tire store but before that it was located on the north/east corner of May and Donald you will see in the photos below.
The first of three photos I found in my slide archives show the inside of Kam Motors Depot during the 1958 annual Christmas Party.  Hubert Badanai Sr. would regularly play Santa, but I can't positively say that is he as Santa here.  My father would also play Santa on occasion.  To the left of Santa I believe is Vince Marsonet who worked for Kam in the day, and the elves are Patricia Kempinski(Kam's accountant) and Theresa Dika(Kam's bookkeeper).  When Kam Motors closed, Theresa ran the "Tobacco Pleasure" smoke shop near the southern entrance to Victoriaville., but notice out the window is the western wall of St. Andrew's Church and the edge of the white building you see was Gibson Motors.  Gibson's was located on the south/east corner of Syndicate and Donald Street, later to be torn down to build the IBM building.....note the 1958 Chevrolet banner on the wall.
      Here you can see the present day photo of St. Andrew's church wall as well as the new multi use office building that stands today which was originally the IBM building.
The next Christmas Party picture below was taken in a similar position but has myself in the photo at the far left assisting with the distribution of presents, with Vince Marsonet next, Theresa Dika then my kid sister Daryle on Santa's knee, Pat Kempinski and an unknown child in the foreground
 The next photo is taken at a completely different angle showing the south/west 1958 intersection of Donald St. and Syndicate Ave.   An old house is still on that corner (later to become McLeods Hardware store) is the old First Baptist Church, torn down a year later, and the old St. Patrick's Cathedral torn down to build the new Cathedral soon after.  I'm the kid in the front row with his arms folded and to my right (your left) is Donna Bodnarchuck.  Donna and I were close friends through the years as our parents were best friends also.  I like the little Chevrolet advertising hanging from the ceiling, as this area was used as a new car showroom.
The picture to the right is how this corner looks today....the old McLeod's store used as a bar on and off for years, the new St. Pat's Cathedral in the background and the stairs to the Victoriaville parking to the right. 
     The photo below shows how this corner looked when King George VI visited in 1939.  It was a Red Indian (McColl Frontenac) service station called "Nolls Motor Company"  and was also a Studebaker dealer in the day.  The Imperial sign shown is actually on the opposite side of Donald St., and would be where Gibson Motors was.

       When Kam Motors purchased the property in 1950, it looked much like it did when Nolls was there, but was totally remodeled at the front and side to completely enclose that portion to make for a larger showroom.  Over time the building was changed over and over many times.  It was once owned by Dominion Motors as well as Bourke's Drug Store and The March of Dimes.  The photo below shows what the building looks like today.
The photo on the right shows a not so clear Gibson Motors in the day and what has become of that property across from the old Kam Motors Depot.  Be sure to click on all the photos to enlarge them for better viewing.

 Two more interesting photos here at the end of this post....the first is what would be under a hot rod/gear head's Christmas internet find, but thought it to be hilarious.

 ......And Finally....a news clipping advertising the Chapples Annual Santa Claus Show....something we couldn't wait for year after year that would put us all in the Christmas Spirit....
I hope this post put you in the Christmas Spirit............
Click on this link for one more post from my younger days at Kam Motors Depot...

Friday, November 11, 2016

COSLETT MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT COMPANY - local success story in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur....

It goes without saying that industry boomed here in our Lakehead cities throughout the beginning and middle of the 20th century.  Coslett Machinery and Equipment was one of those success stories along with many others, beginning in the 1920's and possibly before...I have no historical proof before the 1920's however.  The business boomed through the years mainly at 571/573 S. Syndicate Ave. in Fort William and on Lorne St. in Port Arthur with a brief stay at a building at 608 S. Vickers St in 1968/69.  (research by telephone books and Henderson directories). 
One of my all time favorite porcelain advertising pieces was the following United Service Motors sign, which adorned the Coslett Hardware building in the 1920's.
The Coslett Hardware Co. (Coslett Machinery & Equipment Co.) were one and the same.  In 1951 the proprietor was William R. Coslett, and the sales manager was William R. J. Coslett.  (I believe father and son)  They were Industrial Jobbers and distributors for pumping systems and pumps for all types of diesel and gas generating, logging, construction, municipal, industrial and mining equipment, marine diesel and gas engines, market garden equipment for golf links estates etc.  They sold machine tools, woodworking machinery and sawmill supplies, belting, oil filters and batteries, power mowers barn equipment and a plethora of hardware supplies to the general public as well.  They were quite a diversified company.

Here is a newspaper advertisement showing the inside of the store in the 1930s.  To the right is a fairly large (about 1 foot long) mirrored thermometer advertising the company from my personal collection.  Below is the enlarged top portion of this showing phone numbers before the dial telephone system came to our twin cities.  They also had a location at 188 Lorne St. in the downtown area of Port Arthur off Cumberland Street.
As mentioned above Coslett's sold hundreds of different items including Naphtha Gas in bottles as shown in the following two photos (thanks to Russ Wanzuk for allowing me to photograph his bottle).  On the label was also the "United Service Motors" logo, and it also showed their address on Syndicate Ave.  It is quite an interesting bottle with a glass stopper from the 1920s.                       From WikipediaNaphtha is a general term that has been used for over two thousand years to refer to flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures. Mixtures labelled naphtha have been produced from natural gas condensates, petroleum distillates, and the distillation of coal tar and peat. It is used diversely in different industries and regions to refer to gross products like crude oil or refined products such as kerosene.  We always used it to start briquettes in the BBQ.

Below is an original invoice from my files from 1928 where Coslett's were selling items to Pigeon Timber Company from Port Arthur.....its fun to compare prices.  Be sure to click on all the photos to enlarge them.
Matchbook Cover 1950's

This is how Coslett's looks today as Henderson Glass.....

Their Port Arthur Store would have been down here on Lorne St.

Here's another angle of the building taken in early spring...note the reflection of the Ogilvie Elevator in the right window.

The photo on the left is the last known location of Coslett Machine...there is a new building there now as shown in the photo but the address was 608 S. Vickers St.
Hotrods and Jalopies hope you enjoyed this post....... Posts to now stand at nearly 3/4 of a Million views.  Thanks for looking all these years.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016 - The Best of HR&J and more.....

It's been great fun doing Halloween posts through the years on HR&J, and this year I thought you might enjoy some of the "best of" on Hot rods and Jalopies that were posted for Halloween plus a few
If the weather stayed fairly nice, the Intercity Drive In would open for a "SPOOKTACULAR" evening of scary films some of which you will likely remember.  * Be sure to click on all the photos if you want to see them larger...

Here's a less than two minute trailer of "The Blob"  Starring of all people Steven "Steve" McQueen in one of his early films playing the character "Steve".  Click the arrow in the middle to view.

 ....a few more to watch with your honey at the drive-in......

Well maybe you wouldn't watch the above one with your girlfriend....maybe your kid sister or brother....LOL

This Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi classic scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.


The spirit of Halloween lives in all of's easy to recall the joyous times we had when we were kids growing up and now our kids, and kids kids are enjoying the same fun we had.  The following are a few vintage pieces of advertising from the 1960's and before.

Here's a couple of pieces of Texaco advertising using the good ol' Jack o lantern to let us know that it's Halloween and from this point on "It's Gonna Get Cold".

In the Spirit of Halloween and The Munsters, I'm sure some of you gearheads have built these two model cars by AMT sometime during your life.

Two of George Barris' designs above were the Munster Coach and Drag-u-la.  My friend Dennis and I had the distinct privilege to meet George Barris at his shop after we attended the Grand National Roadster Show in January of 2014.  George has since passed away and left an indelible mark on the hot rod culture in both our countries.
Dennis Winko, George Barris, Dave Cano

One of my all time favourite Halloween moments were when my great friend Ron Clark and I dressed as the Blues Brothers for a Halloween bash at the old Armani's on Victoria Ave back in 2003.  Ron's son Steve Clark is of course the leader of The Sensational Hot Rods show band.  In these photos, we were up on stage singing "Ghost Riders in the Sky".  Ron has since passed away and is dearly missed by many...RIP my old friend.

Thanks for checking Hotrods and Jalopies...hope you enjoyed the post.....