Welland History .ca

Historic EVENTS in and around Welland

TROLLEY PLUNGES INTO WHIRLPOOL

[Welland Tribune July 1917]

Ten Dead, Six to Ten Missing and Many are Injured

GORGE ROUTE TRAGEDY

Niagara Falls, July 1  A trolley car on the Great Gorge route left the rails, plunged down a twenty-foot embankment and turned over in ten feet of water on  the edge of the Whirlpool rapids at 3.30 o’clock this afternoon.

The toll of the tragedy may never be known. Ten bodies are now in local morgues and identified. There are about 36 known survivors and three are known to be missing. It is estimated today that there are from six to ten persons missing. All are Americans from a distance.

A washout due to recent heavy rains, was the cause of the disaster, which occurred just below the cantilever bridge and 60 feet below the point where the smooth water of the upper reaches of the Niagara river breaks into the turbulent waters of the Whirlpool rapids.

There were more than 50 passengers on board according to general estimates. The car was one of the open kind, the seats extending from side to side, with steps on both sides the full length of the car.

The car was running about twenty miles an hour when it struck the weak spot in the roadbed. Less than half a minute elapsed from the time the motorman felt the first jarring sway until the car was bottom side the edge of the rushing rapids.

As it slipped down the twenty-foot line from the tracks to the edge of the river, men and women fought to escape and some of them were able to get free, but were unable to get a footing on the steep bank.

There was a  mad scramble in the shallow water between the wrecked car and the river bank and from the river side the bodies of at least two of the passengers were seen to be caught in the swifter waters and were carried down to the Whirlpool.

Members of the 74th regiment of Buffalo who were on guard at the cantilever bridge saw the accident and were the first to the rescue.

Warning of the weak spot in the roadbed had been telephoned but the company claims it was too late.

 

TWO BOYS MEET HORRIBLE DEATH

[Welland Tribune August 14, 1917]

Percy Elsie and Frank Pollard

Hit by Train, Driving over M.C.R.

INQUEST OPENED

A shocking tragedy occurred Friday afternoon between 4 and 5 o’clock when Percy Elsie, aged 17, son of Wm. Elsie and Frank Pollard, aged 10, son of Linc Pollard, were killed on a level crossing over the Michigan Central between Lincoln street and Industrial Park, just east of the city.

Elsie was driving a one horse wagon loaded with lumber, for S.L. Lambert and the younger boy, Pollard, was taking a ride with him. They were trying to get across the track ahead of No 37 fast passenger train bound from Niagara Falls to Detroit, or else they failed to see the train, though there is a clear view of the track at this point. The train hit the wagon squarily demolishing it completely and strewing the track for a long distance with lumber and parts of the wagon. The train stopped and backed up to the scene of the accident.

A horrible sight met the view of those who alighted from the train. Elsie had been thrown against the fence. He was still living but his throat was horribly injured. He expired a few minutes later. Pollard had been driven through the board fence and had been instantly killed. The back of his head was crushed in and his neck and limbs broken.

A man was left in charge of the bodies nd the accident was reported at the depot. No 37 is due at Welland ….but was running late and after the delay caused by the accident did not report at the depot until 5.05. Engineer Meighen was in charge of the train.

The bodies were removed to Sutherland and Son’s Morgue where coroner Dr. McKenzie of Port Colborne opened an inquest at 7.30. After the jury had viewed the remains the inquest was adjourned until Thursday next at 1.30 p.m. to hear the evidence.

The funerals took place yesterday afternoon. The service for Percy Elsie was at his late home, Mill St at 2 o’clock and was conducted by Rev Thos. Cowan. The funeral of Frank Pollard took from the residence of his uncle Chief Laing, Division St at 4 o’clock. Service was conducted by Rev Thos Cowan and interment is Woodlawn cemetery. The pall bearers were a brother, Earl Pollard, a cousin Wilfred Laing and two playmates Percy Boyle and Edgar Kramer.


CASE OF PIPES FOR THOS. W. BELL

Friends Give a Farewell Dinner In His Honor

[Welland Telegraph, 4 September 1917]

              Thirty-five or forty friends of Thos. W. Bell gave a dinner on Thursday evening in his honor. The affair was a mark of appreciation from a number of close associates in business and socially in view of his departure from Welland for Pittsburg, where he has taken an important position with a large independent pipe mill. In his four years residence in Welland, Mr. Bell has won a place for himself in the affections of many and he is very highly appreciated for countless good qualities. The feature of the dinner was a presentation made to him of a handsome pipe and three valuable pipes. There were many brief and bright little speeches in which the life and works of the guest of honor were given due recognition, and this note was sounded by each one that Mr. Bell had made himself in every respect a good Wellander and that he was to be sorely missed in the social sphere and in the activities with which he had been identified. Among those present were:-W.G. Somerville, Reeve Best, B.L. Booth, C.R. Hagen, Gordon P. Somerville, Mr. Ogg of the Guelph plant of the Page-Hersey Co., Bert Muckler, Mr. Steinson, J.F. Thorpe, Chief Laing, L.B. Duff, Hayward Robinson, Harry Somerville, A.J.J. Brennan, Charles Collins, J.C. McVicar, Dr. McBride, George T.T. Sawle, L.B. Spencer, Roy Fries, Jay Diffin, Dr. Godwin.

HICKEY BROS. OPEN DEPARTMENT STORE

[Welland Telegraph, 4 September 1917]

              Hickey’s Department store opened this morning in a new home, and this event gives occasion for comment on one of the most successful retail enterprises in Welland. Hickey Bros. began business in a very small store and with a very small stock eight years ago. In fact, the stock was worth only $600. This morning the public was admitted to a big and beautiful store with a stock of eighteen thousand dollars.

             The new building on East Main street was built by W.J. Hickey and is one of the largest and most attractive business places in town. There is frontage of 25 feet on East Main street and a depth of 124 feet. All of this building is devoted exclusively to the Hickey Bros. business.

             The interior fittings and cases are in walnut. An immense array of goods has been handsomely displayed.

             “We are going to follow the old policy,” said Hickey yesterday, “with the exception that we have extended all the former lines we carried, and we have added many new lines. The additional space our business has been demanding for some years is now available and we are taking full advantage of it.”

OPENING OF THE WOOLWORTH STORE

[Welland Telegraph, 14 September 1917]

             The F.W. Woolworth 5-10-15 cent store opens for inspection this afternoon and evening and at eight o’clock on Saturday morning it opens for business. Thirty-eight years ago the Woolworth idea was born. Today in the United States and Canada nearly one thousand stores are the embodiment of that idea-and the latest of these is in Welland.

             “The Welland store plant is the best we have in Canada,” said R.C. Walker, superintendent. And the statement may well be believed. The block was built especially for the purpose by Wm. Swayze, under plans furnished by the architect for the Woolworth Company. The entire ground floor of 4000 square feet is devoted to store purposes, and a splendid basement of the same size is devoted to storage. The store has a handsome front and the interior fittings are very pleasing to the eye.

             On Saturday morning at eight o’clock thirty clerks will be ready to meet the buying public of Welland. This store is under the direction of W.R. McNeil, resident manager.

             A wonderfully large and varied stock has been placed upon the shelves. “We asked the manager to give the new store the right of way on all orders,” said Mr. Walker. “The result is we are going to open in Welland on Saturday morning with a more complete stock than we have in any other Woolworth store.”

Woolworth’s Opening

[Welland Tribune, 13 September 1917]

              The new Woolworth Store which replaces the old Mansion House is now complete and the formal opening taking place tomorrow (Friday) from 3 to 5 in the afternoon and 7 to 9 in the evening. No goods will be sold on Friday; the store being open for public inspection only, but on Saturday morning business will be in full swing.

             The building which is owned by Mr. Wm. Swayze is complete in every detail and is one of the biggest business premises in the city.

             This marks the opening of the 954th store owned by the company and 84th in Canada. Having had such an extended experience in laying out stores for their special business it is easy to understand the complete detail to be found in every department.

             There are eleven departments on the main floor and the sales ladies together with the office and managing staff will employ fifteen hands or more.

             Every department shows the work of the company’s architect in designing special articles such as the neat safe which is oblong in shape and fits snugly under the counter. The candy showcase which is entirely constructed of glass so that even the bottom plates can be removed and polished to ensure perfect sanitation.

             The basement floors a complete storage ware room, every article being stored in numerical order as it comes from the receiving and checking room which is in the basement rear. There are also complete lavatories and girls rest room.

             Practically nothing in the store is sold for more than 15 cents and there are many big values in the stock which cannot again be replaced at the same price.

             Mr. Ralph O’Neil will be manager of the Welland Store.

FRANK WINFIELD WOOLWORTH

BIGGEST RETAIL MERCHANT IN WORLD WAS LONG A FAILURE

Frank W. Woolworth was Gawky Farm Boy-Married on $10 a week and was Reduced to $8-His First Five Stores Failed-Now Employs 50,000 People and Owns Tallest Building

[Welland Telegraph, 26 June 1917]

              Three titles to distinction are claimed for Frank W. Woolworth. First, he is the largest retail merchant in the world. Second, he owns the tallest building (and one of the handsomest) in the world. Third, he was the greenest and gawkiest boy who ever came off a farm. He was such a palpable hayseed, indeed, that try as he might, no merchant at first would engage him at any price. He had to work for three months without any wages and board himself, and he was told that he ought to consider himself lucky because he did not have to pay his employer a tuition fee. For a humble beginning that must come pretty near to breaking all records.

             When finally young Woolworth did find work, without wages, and after two and a half years moved on to another job at $10 a week, so complete a failure did he prove at selling goods, according to B.C. Forbes, writing in Leslie’s, that his small pay was reduced instead of increased-and the shock temporarily shattered his health. Biography probably contains no more novel experience of an American captain of industry.

             It was in 1873 that young Woolworth arrived in Watertown, N.Y., with a note of introduction to the senior partner of Augsbury and Moore, dry goods merchants, but didn’t want them.

             At the end of two and a half years he was getting $6 a week. Hearing of a vacancy in another store he went to apply. But when he saw how higgledy-piggledy everything was he decided to name a high salary, thinking to be turned down. He asked $10 a week and was astonished when the proprietor said,: “All right, when will you commence?” He took the job, and on this big salary he felt justified in getting married. After a couple of months, the proprietor met him in the basement one day and unceremoniously told him there were boys getting $6 a week who sold more goods than he sold, and that they could not continue to pay him $10 a week. So his pay was cut to $8 a week-and he a married man.

             “This was a terrible blow, and under it my health gave way. For a year I was at home unable to do a stroke of work. I became convinced that I was not fitted for mercantile life. Eventually my former employers offered me $10 a week to come back and tone up the store. I remained with them two years until I opened up my first five-cent store at Utica, N.Y., on February 22, 1879.”

             We read that, less than two years after the pioneer five-and-ten-cent store idea was inaugurated, its author finding himself worth $2,000, “which looked bigger to him then, than $20,000,000 would now,” and in need of a vacation, revisited Watertown and “was received like a conquering hero.”

             Incidently three out of the first five stores opened by Woolworth proved failures. In fact it was not until he opened a five-and-ten-cent store in New York in 1886, and again lost his health through overwork, that he began to see success written in big letters. Since his first breakdown his health had never recovered fully and at the time, we read, he was running his New York office single-handed, with the result that he was stricken with typhoid fever and for eight weeks was unable to attend to business.

             Today-thirty years later-the business boasts a store in every town of eight thousand population or more in the United States, has a daily average of over two and a quarter million customers and gives employment to between forty and fifty thousand people. It has become a $65,000,000 organization whose most colossal advertisement, if not monument, is the sixty story New York skyscraper for which the erstwhile Watertown “failure” paid $14,000,000 in cash. His somewhat Napoleonic ambition, we read, is “to open a store in every civilized town throughout the world.”

RUBE CARNIVAL AT ROLLER RINK

[Welland Tribune, 6 December 1917]

             Many ways from time to time have been devised and much effort expended for the enjoyment of the amusement loving public, but it is a question if anything has driven away the blues more than the natural antics of the little skate rollers and of all fun producers, none have surpassed a Rube Carnival on rollers. It is a scream from start to finish. That the Rube Carnival to be held next Monday night at Dexter’s Roller Rink is to be a success is beyond question-who ever heard of a Rube Carnival that was not a success? And this one, from all indication, promises to outdo itself. It is to be a night for all ages. There will be skating and dancing of every variety, particularly in the dancing lines, the real, old-fashioned dances, where ye old time fun and sociability with an especially arranged orchestra appropriate for this particular occasion will bring back memories of old and cause father to tell of his bygone days.

             Much preparation is under way for the decoration of the rink which will change the spacious hall into a scene of country life with milk maids and chore boys galore.

             All are invited to attend to chores early, dig up their old smocks, high boots, sunbonnets, and be at home with the crowd.

OPENING OF THE WOOLWORTH STORE

[Welland Telegraph, 14 September 1917]

             The F.W. Woolworth 5-10-15 cent store opens for inspection this afternoon and evening and at eight o’clock on Saturday morning it opens for business. Thirty-eight years ago the Woolworth idea was born. Today in the United States and Canada nearly one thousand stores are the embodiment of that idea-and the latest of these is in Welland.

             “The Welland store plant is the best we have in Canada,” said R.C. Walker, superintendent. And the statement may well be believed. The block was built especially for the purpose by Wm. Swayze, under plans furnished by the architect for the Woolworth Company. The entire ground floor of 4000 square feet is devoted to store purposes, and a splendid basement of the same size is devoted to storage. The store has a handsome front and the interior fittings are very pleasing to the eye.

             On Saturday morning at eight o’clock thirty clerks will be ready to meet the buying public of Welland. This store is under the direction of W.R. McNeil, resident manager.

             A wonderfully large and varied stock has been placed upon the shelves. “We asked the manager to give the new store the right of way on all orders,” said Mr. Walker. “The result is we are going to open in Welland on Saturday morning with a more complete stock than we have in any other Woolworth store.”

 

Woolworth’s Opening

[Welland Tribune, 13 September 1917]

              The new Woolworth Store which replaces the old Mansion House is now complete and the formal opening taking place tomorrow (Friday) from 3 to 5 in the afternoon and 7 to 9 in the evening. No goods will be sold on Friday; the store being open for public inspection only, but on Saturday morning business will be in full swing.

             The building which is owned by Mr. Wm. Swayze is complete in every detail and is one of the biggest business premises in the city.

             This marks the opening of the 954th store owned by the company and 84th in Canada. Having had such an extended experience in laying out stores for their special business it is easy to understand the complete detail to be found in every department.

             There are eleven departments on the main floor and the sales ladies together with the office and managing staff will employ fifteen hands or more.

             Every department shows the work of the company’s architect in designing special articles such as the neat safe which is oblong in shape and fits snugly under the counter. The candy showcase which is entirely constructed of glass so that even the bottom plates can be removed and polished to ensure perfect sanitation.

             The basement floors a complete storage ware room, every article being stored in numerical order as it comes from the receiving and checking room which is in the basement rear. There are also complete lavatories and girls rest room.

             Practically nothing in the store is sold for more than 15 cents and there are many big values in the stock which cannot again be replaced at the same price.

             Mr. Ralph O’Neil will be manager of the Welland Store.

 *Note: The first Woolworth’s store was founded in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth.