Welland History .ca

Historic EVENTS in and around Welland


Fonthill News

[Welland Tribune, 1 October 1897]

The house and blacksmith shop of Wm. Dougherty were totally destroyed by fire on Saturday evening. The fire originated in the kitchen, from a lamp, and quickly spread through the house.

A brave attempt was made to save the blacksmith shop, but to no avail. Andrew Lymburner’s house was only saved by the indefatigable work of the citizens, who formed themselves in to a pail brigade and did yeoman service. Mr. Dougherty will be a heavy loser, as all his furniture, bedding, etc., was destroyed. The insurance on the place will not more than cover the mortgage on it, so that Mr. Dougherty is not only left penniless, but entirely destitute, his clothing even being burned. Mr. Dougherty is a good mechanic, however, and if he will attend to business properly will receive the active support of the village.


Fonthill News

[Welland Tribune, 8 October 1897]

Dougherty, our blacksmith, has hired a residence of Joe Gould and moved in, and the first of next week will have his new blacksmith shop ready for patrons. He is hustling right sharp. Give him a call for horseshoeing and blacksmithing-the fellow has had hard luck from the fire fiend.


Important Statement by Mr. Tarte.

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

Hon. Mr. Tarte, minister of public works of Canada, having been charged with excessive expenditure in his department, and on promising the prosecution of public works on too lavish a scale, makes a trenchant reply, in which the following of especial local interest appears. Mr. Tarte says:

“I altogether decline being bound by the policy of the past, and also by the opinion of those who have propounded that policy. Times and circumstances have changed. We are deepening our canals. We will be obliged, I am sure, to deepen the Welland canal in a short time. The railway companies are building elevators in the harbors of the Great Lakes. The C.P.R. are building an additional elevator at Owen Sound. The Grand Trunk, in connection with other capitalists, are also contemplating building an elevator on the south side of the same harbor.

I am a firm believer in the possibility of diverting an immense quantity of western traffic to our Canadian ports, harbors and railways. I do not see why, having the ports of St. John, Halifax, St. Andrew’s, on our national territory, we should allow our Canadian trade to be shipped to European markets through American ports.”

All Mr. Tarte’s speeches are of this tone. Mr. Tarte says that the reason he takes this tone is, to quote his letter, that “Canada is such a great country, with such abundant resources, that we might well afford to take stock of the future.”

Referring to the charge of lavish expenditure by Mr. Tarte’s department for the year that is past, he further says:-

“You may say that my lavishness is a matter of general criticism. Will you permit me to call your attention to hard facts:

Parliament voted for my department, for the year 1896-97, an appropriation of…$2,439,920

Out of that expropriation I have expended during the last year…$1,748,939

Saving a balance of …..$690,981.

“I need not make any comments. I beg, moreover, to state that I have economized over sixty thousand dollars on the administrative part of my department alone, by decreasing the number of employees by saving salaries, wages, etc.

So much for my administration during last year.”



Grand Trunk’s Preparations for the Formal Opening of the New Steel Arch Bridge

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

At the present time the eyes of the whole world are directed towards Canada. The remarkable successes which have attended the visit to England of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the premier of the Dominion, and the denunciation of Great Britain of important commercial treaties with such powerful neighbors as Germany and Belgium in order to meet the overtures of the colony, have caused the politicians of the old world to regard with a novel interest that portion of the new which Voltaire once sneeringly gibed at as “a few acres of snow and ice.” Nor has the interest been confined to countries of the old world, the people of the republic to the south having been startled by the announcement of the discovery of large quantities of gold within the confines of the Dominion.

Scientists and members of the learned professions have flocked to the country to hold their annual conventions, and examine for themselves its resources.

Among the many corporations which have done much to retain the interest thus aroused, the Grand Trunk railway system, under its new and energetic management, takes a foremost place. The work undertaken in connection with the substitution of a modern structure for the old Victoria tubular bridge over the St. Lawrence has excited the utmost interest among civil engineers the world over, while the completion of the Grand Trunk new single arch steel bridge over the Niagara river, which replaces the historic Suspension bridge, is the talk of railway officials from one end of the continent to the other. That the latter structure, which, at the time of its erection in 1855 was considered-and justly-a marvel of engineering skill, should have been entirely replaced upon exactly the same spot, without an interruption of even five minutes to the constant stream of traffic which passes over it, is without doubt a remarkable tribute to the advances which have been made by the engineering profession within the last quarter of a century. The new bridge is a single steel arch of 550 feet in length, supplemented by a trussed span at either end, of 115 feet in length, so that, with the approaches, its total length is a little more than 1100 feet, while the railway tracks are 250 above the water. It has two docks or floors, the upper being used for railway purposes exclusively, while the lower contains a wide central carriage way, double electric car tracks, and passage way for pedestrians.

Beautiful as it is in appearance, the bridge is of enormous strength, it having been designed to carry on each railway track a load of two locomotives and four pairs of drivers each and 40,000 pounds on each pair, followed by a train of 3,500 pounds per running foot, while on the lower deck is designed to carry a live load of 3,000 pounds per running foot. In a word, it will sustain a weight of over six times the sustaining capacity of the old bridge.

The opening celebrations in connection with this great engineering feat commenced yesterday and will be continued today and tomorrow, and the management of the Grand Trunk railway system has determined to give a carnival at the Falls which will long be talked of by those who take advantage of the remarkably low rates which are being put in force for this occasion.

This carnival, which will be held for the whole three days, will consist of open air variety entertainments from two large elevated platforms, one of which will be on the American, and the other on the Canadian side of the river, open air dancing to the strains of the best bands obtainable in the country, old English sports, climbing the greasy poles, sack race and egg races, etc., for which cash prizes will be offered. This evening and tomorrow evening an elaborate display of fireworks from the new bridge will be given, and will be without doubt the grandest display ever witnessed with possibly the exception of that given at the World’s Fair in Chicago. The illuminations and fireworks are under the personal direction of Mr. Henry J. Pain, the leading pyrotechnic contractor of the world.

The artists who have been engaged for the variety entertainment area all well known, and four of the most famous military bands in America have been engaged, to give concerts in the afternoon and evening of each day. During the three days’ carnival the bridge will be open for the free passage of the public to and fro as they please.

To those who have never visited that greatest of nature’s many marvels-Niagara-the extremely low rates which are being made from every point on their lines by the Grand Trunk system, should prove a temptation too strong to be resisted, while to those who have visited the great falls by day, the prospect of seeing them one blaze of electricity and colored light will appear, without doubt, successfully.


Successfully Launched in Toronto Bay

A New Departure in Marine Construction

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

Toronto, Ont., Sept. 9th- Frederick Augustus Knapp’s much-talked-of roller boat, which has been under construction in Polson’s shipyard here for some time past, is now afloat in Toronto Bay. All yesterday morning workmen were busy getting the ways in place, and in the afternoon the big cylinder was gently lowered into the water, where it now floats alongside the dock at Polson’s yard.

The vessel is cylindrical in shape, and is 110 feet long and about 25 feet in diameter. The diameter is the same to within five feet of either end, when the cylinder commences to taper rapidly, decreasing to a diameter of 15 feet at either end. The draught will be 23 inches.

The original design of the inventor has been considerably changed. Instead of having a heavy stationery cylinder, around which the outer part could revolve, as at first intended, there is nothing at all in the centre of the hull. At either end and there is to be a platform, resting upon wheels, which touch the revolving part. This platform will be weighed and remain stationary, upon the principle of a squirrel in a cage. On the platform will be placed two engines, with upright boilers behind them. These engines will transmit power to a huge driving wheel placed between, and this wheel will, by a system of cogs, cause the hull to revolve. There will be a platform similarly equipped at each end of the hull. The platforms each travel on four big driving wheels and weigh about fifteen tons, with engines and boilers complete.

Mr. Knapp proposes to suspend the platforms and was swinging gravity, but has allowed the engineers in charge of the construction to use the direct application. The whole craft will weigh 100 tons, and 500 square feet of area will be in actual contact with the water.

The boat, which is expected by its inventor to travel as the rate of a mile a minute, will be steered by two huge rudder or tail boards, one at each end, just below the platform. Steam steering gear will likely be used.


[Welland Tribune, 22 October 1897]

This is the way it was bound to look
When grandfather had his ”pleter took.”
These were the shadows cast before
The coming of Conjurer Daguerre
And his art; like a girl in a pinafore
Some day to bloom to a goddess fair.
Men certainly were not as black, we know
As they pictured them, 50 years ago.


[Welland Tribune, 30 July 1897]

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., July 25- Hundreds of people visiting her today witnessed what seemed to have been the deliberate suicide of a fine looking chestnut colored horse, which swam out into the rapids and over the Horseshoe Falls. The incident occurred about 5 o’clock this afternoon.

The horse had been out in a field not far from Port Day, where the Schoelkopf canal starts from the river, and had been fastened by a long rope to prevent it from wandering away. Shortly before 5 o’clock the horse wandered on the railroad tracks and across them, the rope being long enough to allow this, and then a passing train cut the rope and freed the animal. It immediately began running out toward Port Day, crossing on to the new loop drive of the reservation. Then to the surprise of everyone the animal leaped into the river and swan deliberately out and away from the shore.


Many saw the horse and followed it excitedly. He continued his course, occasionally walking over it, and swimming in the deeper portions of the river.

He never stopped a moment, but steadily pursued his way toward the Canadian shore, passing the head of Goat island and reaching a point nearly half way between there and the Canadian side of Goat island.

When this distance had been covered the animal was seen to turn and face the rapids just as they broke from the upper river, and then he began his journey downstream, toward the Horseshoe Falls.


At first the horse kept his balance fairly well, but the turbulent waters soon told and the unfortunate beast was tossed about like an egg shell. Now and then his body would be seen passing clearly up in view on some rock or boulder, and then it would be swallowed up in the spray of the foaming rapids whenever he was seen.

Life was visible as he struggled and tried to get on his feet. When half way down the rapids, and nearing the brink of the falls, the animal began to show signs of exhaustion and his struggles were feebler, so that by the time the body swept over the falls it was apparently motionless and probably lifeless. Many tried to see the remains below the falls, but could not after they passed over the brink.


The actions of the horse are considered remarkable and almost unexplainable. He was owned by an Italian baker in the tunnel district and was regarded as pretty steady sort of an animal, and his death was taken by many as a suicide pure and simple.


[Welland Tribune, 30 July 1897]

After this week the Toronto boat will make daily trips.

A large influx of visitors is expected during the first week of August.

This would be a happy land for Clayt. Page. The electric light is extinguished at 10.30 each night.

Rev. James Mooney was succeeded last Sunday by Rev. R.J. Elliot, who delivered two very able sermons.

The park dairyman is well named as a hot-weather dispenser of the lacteal fluid. His cards read, “J. Frost.”

The manager of the merry-go-round will not go the Yukon as long as the picnics last. He’s got a better thing here.

A lad from Beamsville was struck by one of the swings last week and the doctor had to put several stitches in his lip.

The crop of raspberries in this section is enormous, and large, fresh-picked berries are retailed in the park at 5c per box.

Birds, squirrels and chipmunks have freedom of the park at all times, and in the early morning are out in full force.

The portly and genial head of the general store is Mr. Cavers of St. Davids, who comes here yearly owing to “delicate” health.

Mr. Homan, the model caretaker of the grounds, has a kind word and a kind act for everybody. He is one of the park veterans.

Miss Ryckman, Mr. Ryckman (Hamilton) and Mr. Jackson (park) have added much to the pleasure of the week’s services with solos.

A charming solo, “Teach me to Live,” was sung with impressive effect at Sunday night’s services. We did not learn the name of the singer.

Wheels, wheels and wheels! Wheels everywhere. Firstclass wheels can be rented on the grounds at 15c an hour, or lower rates by the day or week.

Joseph Digby, formerly of the Kirby house, Brantford, is the affable and popular manager of the Lakeview this season, and it is unnecessary to say that guests thoroughly enjoy this fine house under his experienced supervision.

It would be a good financial move to reduce the price of row boats-except perhaps on excursion days, when the demand is heavy. From 25 to 35 c an hour is too high for an everyday price.

Rev. B. Fay Mills was on board for a lecture last evening on “The Social Peril.” An intimate friend of the lecturer says, “He couldn’t be commonplace if he tried; He’s a wonder.”

The band of the 13th battalion will be here again on Tuesday next-Ireland’s day. The Saturday following (Aug. 7) will be Scotland’s day, when the 48th Highlander regimental band, kilties and all, will have the floor.

On Sundays the Hamilton & Grimsby electric railway carries passengers at half fare, which gives parkites a run to the Ambitious city and back for 35c- a forty mile ride through a beautiful section of the “garden of Canada.”

At the hotel and on the grounds one is constantly greeting old friends. The Methodists of Niagara Falls town and village owned the park on Tuesday. It was a happy gathering such as Niagara Falls puts up every time, but the rain spoiled the afternoon sports.

Mrs. Harrison, formerly of Dunnville, the talented soloist, was in the audience at the Temple on Sunday night. Mrs. Harrison has perfected her musical studies in the old world and returns to us with a gilt-edged voice.

The tariff of admission to the grounds is hardly fair to short-term guests. For instance: Weekly tickets for the last two weeks in July cost 65c and 80c respectively- a total of $1.45-while the season tickets of two months (which include the “big August program”) are only $1.50. The tariff would stand revision in that respect.

The deluge of rain on Monday and Tuesday did incalculable damage to the grain and fruit crops hereabout. The park is almost surrounded with fruit, one shipper having sent 640 crates of raspberries to Montreal in one shipment this week-in a refrigerator car. It was impossible to secure pickers for the enormous crop, and the rains have covered the ground with the dead-ripe fruit.

President Phelps is an expert disciplinarian. It is appositive pleasure to hear him in an occasional ‘scold.” If he gives the adult proportion a “gentle hint” on sanitary or other necessary matters, he generally winds up with proclaiming his subjects the best people he ever met. The children are bribed into extra good behavior with a lavish distribution of popcorn at the president’s cottage.

Few people have an idea what commodious hotels there are within the park. The Lakeview and Park houses contain one hundred and thirty-four rooms, many of which are large double rooms, and the Park house has had as many as one hundred and seventy-five guests at one time. Both houses are thoroughly lighted with electricity, the plant having been placed by the enterprising proprietor, J.D. Strawn, whose lease of these hotels has, we believe, some four years yet to run.

The very old Nick seemed to possess the limelight apparata last week. Both Mr. Reavely and Mr.Yeigh exhibited high-class views of various lands, celebrated buildings and prominent men and women-but Mr. Reavely’s machine kicked vigorously and finally the light went out altogether. Mr. Yeigh’s light was completely extinguished also, but finally came forward and did nobly. Mr. Yeigh declared that fifteen grey hairs had been added to his scalp, and that if the machine “cut up” like that, another night he would flee from the grounds.

Citizens of the park are proud of the squirrels that chatter and play about the grounds, and the little red fellows are very tame. On Sunday morning early two young scamps got into the grounds and with a noiseless Flobert rifle made sad havoc in squirreldom. Just as the early risers in our cottage were astir they say the russet-colored fellow that had played in front of the door all week fell bleeding to the ground, and the young sportsman (?) crushed the squirrel’s life out under his heel. If Constable Tufford had been with in hail, the Sunday morning poacher would have fared badly,

The scene at the Temple on Saturday night was indeed a brilliant one. As the boys of the noble 13th Batt. band filed through the building a sea of white handkerchiefs waved a cordial welcome, and cheers filled the great auditorium. With the red-coated lads and their shining instruments as a central figure, and the bright costumes of the unbonneted ladies        and their escorts, the electric-lighted amphitheatre presented a sight most inspiring. Every number was a gem, and the applause was uncontrollable. The rendition of the “Maple Leaf,” with variations, was received with a patriotic ovation. We had the pleasure of a word of congratulation with the veteran Bandmaster Robinson at the close. He has been with the 13th for 27 years, and looks well able in spite of his silvering hair to swing the baton for another quarter of a century. We believe negotiations are in progress for the band to take part in the G.A.R. festivities at Buffalo next month. Another enthusiastic audience will greet the bank at the Temple again to-night (Friday).


[Welland Tribune, 23 July 1897]

GRIMSBY PARK, July 20-The season at this pretty summer home is at its height, and the month of August promises to be one of the most successful in its history. Those who come for a day have no idea of its attractions or comforts. Guests must become inmates of one of its excellent hotels or cozy cottages to enjoy the fullness of its health and rest-giving virtues. The public buildings and grounds are lighted with electricity, and pure spring water is in abundance. The lake in all its varying moods is a constant source of interest, and furnishes ample bathing, boating and fishing. The shady park and walks and picnic and play grounds are a veritable paradise for children-safe and inviting-where they may roam at their own sweet will. The driveways and bicycle paths in the parks, and the roads running in all directions-to Grimsby, Beamsville, Winona, Hamilton-furnish sport for the wheelwomen and wheelmen, who bowl over the smooth roads as over asphalted city streets. But the Temple is the centre of all attraction at this pretty place, and afternoon and evening programs of pleasure and profit are free to every “citizen” who supplies himself or herself with a ticket-the cost of which is 65 cents per week or $1.50 for the entire season (children under 13 years free). The recreation delightful, and gives just the right spice to the quiet and restful life at hotel and cottage. During this week two of the brightest little people on this continent have interested and amused large audiences at the auditorium-Master George Wills (soloist) of Chicago and Miss Winnifred G. Mills (elocutionist) of Hamilton. Better entertainers of such tender years are seldom seen on any stage or platform. It has been a week doubly delightful for the children. This week will close with a brilliant musical program by the famous 13th battalion band of Hamilton on Saturday evening. Next week illustrated lectures by such well known orators as Rev. Dr. Geo. Peck, Rev. B. Fay Mills, Frank Yeigh and others, will be followed by another concert (on Friday) by the noble 13th battalion band- a soul-stirring musical treat. And through August the interest increases. No wonder the managers of hotels and owners of cottages look for a large and enthusiastic company of guests from now until the season closes. Few people have the proper idea of what a prominent watering place Grimsby Park has become, Grand Trunk trains, trolley cars, steamboats and all classes of vehicles land passengers at its very gates, and one can come and go at almost any hour. Within the park, happy contentment reigns supreme. There is no rush of electric cars, no smoke or dust to speak of, no liquor, no rough or rowdy element-the daily life is close to the ideal. President Phelps and his staff are tireless in their efforts to protect and to please patrons who make this their home for a day, a week, or a month. Kindly courtesy permeates the demeanor of every official, and visitors seem to be imbued with the same commendable affability. To the delightful surroundings, interesting services and good wholesome amusements, one must add another attraction-the park hotels. It is surprising how moderately one can live, and live well, at these well managed hotels. The Lakeview is located on the water front and the Park house is situated just south of the Temple. Both houses are managed by J.D. Strawn of Toronto, a gentleman who has made these hotels a pleasant summer abiding place for hosts of visitors. Mr. Strawn has also sole control of the restaurants and stores, and we hear naught but praise of his management. He supervises the business of all, but gives his personal attention largely to the Lakeview house, while Mr. Vanatter looks well after the comforts of the Park house guests. Furnished cottages may be rented at reasonable rates and splendid table board secured at the hotel at from $3.50 to $4.50 per week. If families prefer to provide their own meals, a first class general store, meat shop, daily produce market, dairy and every requisite are at their disposal, with prices no higher than in your own town. Comfortably housed in a roomy, flag-bedecked cottage overlooking the lake, we can, from experience, heartily recommend Grimsby Park as a model place for solid comfort during the sweltering months yet to come.  ROVER


Attempt To Burn the Vessel At Her Dock In St. Catharines-An Infernal Machine.

[Welland Tribune, 25 July 1897]

St. Catharines, June 20-An almost successful attempt was made about 11 o’clock on Saturday night to burn the steamer Lakeside as she lay at her wharf here. Most of the crew had retired, and the watchman was making his rounds when he heard a slight explosion in the vicinity of the boiler room, and turning suddenly found flames breaking out in all directions from the vessel. The hands were immediately aroused and set to work to fight the flames. The engineer started the pony engine and soon had two or three streams playing on the fire. The city firemen were also promptly on the scene and the flames were quickly drowned out. The damage to the boat will be about $300 and is covered by insurance. When daylight came this morning and the work of repairing was started the remains of an infernal machine were found in the boiler room.



[Welland Tribune, 25 June 1897]

The Fort Erie Jockey Club races are increasing in popularity daily, and it looks as if the meeting would go on record as one of the most brilliant in the annals of Canadian sports. Every day is a “big day,” but Jubilee day was a boomer.  It was essentially “Canadian’s day,” the province contributing to swell the crowd by at least two thousand people. The card hung up was all that could have been desired, the steeple chase combining all the exciting features necessary to enthuse the visitors. Two of the favorites fell at the jumps, and long shots won the race. The jockeys were not seriously injured, and when they again mounted, and rode to the finish, they were received with great applause. Local sports have been exceptionally fortunate in the betting-although it may be that the losers are not making a song of their losses. At any rate we hear of small loses and some snug wins. The success has been so complete that talk is already rife that the meeting may be prolonged beyond the advertised time-but this is not likely. It would be quite a card for the meeting to end up in a blaze of glory on Independence Day, (July 5) and leave the public with a keen appetite for another meeting later on. Good cards are on for the coming week, and extra crowds are expected on July 1st and 5th. But so far as the racing goes all days are good ones.