Written history dealing with the early years of Port Stanley is sparse, but postcards have proved an invaluable record of what life used to be like in our then little village.

The last postcard which we reproduced on this web site showed the Pere Marquette railway depot in Port Stanley and we asked if anyone could identify the building south of the station. One of our sharp-eyed viewers was able to identify it as Hall’s café.

The anonymous reader sent us the elaborately enhanced image taken from one of his postcards which is shown above. The sign on Hall’s Café tells us that they sold ice cream cones, hot meals and Yate’s Vermont Ginger Ale.

The date when this photograph was taken would have been about 1910. Slightly west of Hall’s Café is another restaurant which is identified as Herrick’s Café. The sign on it reads:

Herrick’s Café
Ice Cream
& lunches
25 cents.

It is not surprising that this section of Bridge Street had several buildings which catered to visitors to Port Stanley, since at this time most visitors to Port Stanley would have arrived by rail. On the north side of Bridge Street, where the LCBO store is today would have been the Franklin House Hotel.

The large home on the southeast corner of George and William streets which is shown in this photograph is believed to have been built by Walter Mitchell in the early years of the last century. Mr. Mitchell owned a wood turning plant which was located on the west side of Kettle Creek south of Bridge Street.

As a boy (a long time ago), I can remember Mitchell’s lumber yard which was situated about where the Legion building is today. This was once the site of Port Stanley’s first electric generating station.

In 1906 a bylaw was passed by the Port Stanley village council, granting Mr. Mitchell a charter to distribute electricity through the principal streets of the village and authorizing the placing of poles and stringing of wire along those streets. One of these poles can be seen in the above photograph.

We should also take note of the pipe band marching along Bridge Street It does not seem to be attracting a great deal of interest. I wonder if it was a local band.


Other posts by Craig Cole.