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 on this web site came from the private collection of Peggy Satchell, and this week we have another postcard from her collection.

This is a rare double postcard which shows a unique view of the Port Stanley harbour and provides an invaluable insight into what our little village looked like 100 or more years ago. The postcard is the size of two modern day postcards and is hinged in the middle. It was apparently never mailed, having no message or postmark, but a rough time estimate of the photograph can be made from the presence of the Franklin House hotel shown in the lower right corner. The Franklin House was built in 1880 and destroyed by fire in 1918.

Note the total lack of cars on the streets. The first motor car arrived in Port Stanley in 1910. The bridge shown here would have been built in 1894, replacing a swing bridge which crossed Kettle Creek at the same location.

The building at the west end of the bridge is shown in another postcard from a similar time period, and bears a sign saying, “Ice Cream Parlor.” West of it is Hall’s Café which sold ice cream cones, hot meals and Yate’s Vermont Ginger Ale. At the turn of the nineteenth century Port Stanley had an active boat building shipyard. Look carefully and you can discern a wooden hulled boat being constructed on the east bank of Kettle Creek just north of the bridge.

In the background is the area known as Hillcrest. The white building near the centre of this view would have been the clubhouse of the Liberty Hill Club, an early summer condo type development. It was later replaced by the Hillcrest Inn, and I can remember walking across the bridge which linked this area to the more northerly section of Hillcrest where John Bostwick’s home was located. It is impressive how much land has disappeared into the lake.

It is postcards like this which allow us to reimagine what life in our village was like in the past. If you recognize any of the other buildings in this photograph, we would be delighted to hear from you. Send us a note at joe@northshorebeacon.ca.