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18 Holland Street West

The structure located at 18 Holland St. West is a unique, infill building. It was built in the Boomtown style around the 1890’s on a narrow lot that was originally a laneway the two adjacent buildings. It had a side entrance to the Queen’s Hotel so that teamsters and buggy patrons could get their drinks from the Queen’s after work. The owner of the building erected at this site only has the title to the ceilings, floors, and front and rear walls. The side walls belong to the neighbouring buildings. The one-storey storefront has a ‘false’ façade and a narrow, rectangular plan with an asymmetrical organization. An asymmetrical façade with a ‘boomtown’ front was common to small, rural, commercial buildings. The flat roof (built-up tar and gravel) with a high parapet was intended to make the façade appear more imposing and substantial. A recessed, grade-level entrance provides shelter for the doorway. The original entrance had a transom light over the door which was later covered with solid panelling. The entrance door is not original. A large, storefront, window bay dominates the façade at street level and maximizes the amount of area available to display merchandise. The window is not original. When the building was inventoried in 2000, a decorated parapet had a double band of brick corbelling near the top with two recessed panels of decorative brick below. The building had masonry construction with brick cladding and roof spans between the exterior side walls of the adjacent buildings. The panelling above the front window replaced the original signage panel. It noted that and the original brick would have been unpainted and that the building is in good condition.
Several businesses have been located here over the years, including a smoke shop run by Fred “Colly” Collings (and later, by Oswald Davey). Mr. Willoughby, a tailor, and his son Vincent moved to the area from Sutton. He worked for Al Hemock. Lorne Fines later took possession of the building and ran a jewellery shop here until he retired. Jack McKay, a veterinarian, then bought the structure and had his practice here. In more recent years, it became an ice cream parlour. (1, 2, 3)

George Jackson

22 Holland Street West - The Queen's Hotel

The Queen’s Hotel (located at 22 Holland St. West) was built circa 1850. This photo (taken in the fall of 1995) shows the structure just before a major renovation. The hotel went “dry” during WWI. Bradford, like all of Ontario, was experiencing prohibition (even though Bradford had voted “wet”). The building originally had two storeys. A third floor and a flat roof were added later. It was heated with an old steam engine that had the undercarriage removed. The engine first burnt 4’ stacks of hardwood, then coal, and finally, oil. Eventually a new furnace was installed (most likely natural gas). The building was always warm and thought of as a home away from home.
Harry Lang, Celina and their children (Evelyn, George and Audrey) moved here from North Bay and bought the building in the 1920’s. They ran the Temperance House, and a board and dining service at this location. They had long-time help and boarders. Little John Cook ran a shop selling ice cream, chocolate bars, and smokes on the east side (down one step). A bus stop was added when bus service started. Len and Art Saint put a cement addition on the back of the building around 1938. At the rear, there was a chicken house, a roofed, open shed, and a laneway. Another shed ran south, and to the west was an ice house. There was open space to the north before the laneway and a barn for hay and horses. The barn had two stories and below there was a pig sty. North of the laneway there was another open shed, car storage, and a cooking kitchen on the back of the hotel (a little east of the back entrance). Jack Wilson worked for Harry Lang for many years. Mitch Hepburn brought in beer in 1934 and the building opened as the Queen’s Hotel. Businessmen had to chip in to buy a liquor license and Hepburn was the first supplier. Business was excellent and the hotel was really crowded. Before the arrival of the beer, the locals had used it as a place to play dominoes and checkers, and to conduct hunt camp and other organizations’ meetings. (1, 2, 4)
Please contact the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library (905-775-3328) if you have any other information about this photo.

George Jackson

31 Barrie Street Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Utilities Commission

Allan (“Wink”) Crake, a nephew of Dick Crake, owned the one-storey building located at 31 Barrie Street. When Wink retired, Bradford Public Utilities bought the building and opened its offices here. There was a laneway behind Reuben Tindall’s house to the back entrance for the residents of John Street. (1, 2)

George Jackson

38 Holland Street West - Collings Furniture & Undertaking

The structure located at 38 Holland St. West (on the southwest corner of Holland and Drury Streets) was built around 1900 in the Ontario Vernacular style. B.B. “Ben” Collings lived upstairs with his wife (a Waldruff), and children Bernice, Kathleen and Norman. Both daughters became school teachers and Norman (“Dodger”) was a professional hockey player who helped his father and later took over the business. Ben’s workshop was also located here and there was a horse stable at the rear of the property many years ago. The back end of the building was destroyed by fire in the 1920’s. Ben Collings was involved in several businesses. He was also known as an organizer and sports manager. At one time this building was the site of the Collings’ mattress factory. Ben also cut marsh hay and hauled it down the river on a scow. Sometimes the hay was stacked for winter baling. The horses wore four wooden boots and wouldn’t get off the scow until they were applied. Ben was a furniture maker and an undertaker. His first experience as an undertaker was with the body of his own father. He bought Jack Spence’s fishing business (including nets, reels, pulleys, ropes and the fish shanty at the mouth of the river on the east side opposite the 8th Line). His largest catch of fish was five tons of carp. He fished in the spring and fall and put nets under the ice in winter. Carp was caught (when in season) and had to be kept alive for the Jewish market. He employed about eight men all year round. Later he had old cars cut down to make tractors. Ben and another man broke (worked?) Col. Bar’s marsh land at the north end of Federal Farms Rd. (Bathurst Street). The Newmarket Canal started and died on this property.
The two-storey, commercial ‘row’ building has second floor offices (or living space), a wide, rectangular plan with symmetrical organization, and a flat, built-up, tar and gravel roof. The ‘Main Street’ frontage with a typical, storefront façade is located at the street line. The Drury Street façade on the north portion of the building (fronting Holland Street) has a more informal façade with openings placed as required to suit the building’s requirements. The Drury Street building has a plain, symmetrical façade and is dominated by a wide, segmented, arch entrance raised slightly above the sidewalk. A loading door to the rear portion of the Holland Street building has a segmented, arch opening and a concrete sill raised above street level. The existing doors and windows are not original. There are several window openings with segmented, arch openings and concrete lug sills. Several basement windows (all topped with segmented arches) have been fully, or partially, blocked in. This suggests that the building was built before the existing road or town services were installed. The building has masonry construction, brick cladding, and a parged, stone foundation. According to the 2000 inventory, this modest, commercial building is in good condition with some original details. (1, 2, 3)
Please contact the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library (905-775-3328) if you have any other information about this photo.

George Jackson

38 Holland Street West - Collings Furniture & Undertaking

The structure located at 38 Holland St. West (on the southwest corner of Holland and Drury Streets) was built around 1900 in the Ontario Vernacular style. B.B. “Ben” Collings lived upstairs with his wife (a Waldruff), and children Bernice, Kathleen and Norman. Both daughters became school teachers and Norman (“Dodger”) was a professional hockey player who helped his father and later took over the business. Ben’s workshop was also located here and there was a horse stable at the rear of the property many years ago. The back end of the building was destroyed by fire in the 1920’s. Ben Collings was involved in several businesses. He was also known as an organizer and sports manager. At one time this building was the site of the Collings’ mattress factory. Ben also cut marsh hay and hauled it down the river on a scow. Sometimes the hay was stacked for winter baling. The horses wore four wooden boots and wouldn’t get off the scow until they were applied. Ben was a furniture maker and an undertaker. His first experience as an undertaker was with the body of his own father. He bought Jack Spence’s fishing business (including nets, reels, pulleys, ropes and the fish shanty at the mouth of the river on the east side opposite the 8th Line). His largest catch of fish was five tons of carp. He fished in the spring and fall and put nets under the ice in winter. Carp was caught (when in season) and had to be kept alive for the Jewish market. He employed about eight men all year round. Later he had old cars cut down to make tractors. Ben and another man broke (worked?) Col. Bar’s marsh land at the north end of Federal Farms Rd. (Bathurst Street). The Newmarket Canal started and died on this property.
The two-storey, commercial ‘row’ building has second floor offices (or living space), a wide, rectangular plan with symmetrical organization, and a flat, built-up, tar and gravel roof. The ‘Main Street’ frontage with a typical, storefront façade is located at the street line. The Drury Street façade on the north portion of the building (fronting Holland Street) has a more informal façade with openings placed as required to suit the building’s requirements. The Drury Street building has a plain, symmetrical façade and is dominated by a wide, segmented, arch entrance raised slightly above the sidewalk. A loading door to the rear portion of the Holland Street building has a segmented, arch opening and a concrete sill raised above street level. The existing doors and windows are not original. There are several window openings with segmented, arch openings and concrete lug sills. Several basement windows (all topped with segmented arches) have been fully, or partially, blocked in. This suggests that the building was built before the existing road or town services were installed. The building has masonry construction, brick cladding, and a parged, stone foundation. According to the 2000 inventory, this modest, commercial building is in good condition with some original details. (1, 2, 3)
Please contact the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library (905-775-3328) if you have any other information about this photo.

George Jackson

61 Holland Street East - The Bradford Town Hall

The Bradford Town Hall is located at 61 Holland St. East. It survived the fire of 1871 that destroyed much of Bradford’s downtown. The building was being used as a schoolhouse in 1875 when a severe wind storm blew off the roof and killed a member of the Woods’ family. Reports disagree about the number of school children injured. Bricks were salvaged from damaged sections of the building and reused in the construction of a duplex at 31/33 Bingham Street. The building was a market place for farmers until the mid 1930’s. There was a commons at the rear for pasturing. It later became a playground. There were stalls and display tables for farm animals, chickens etc. Jim Nesbitt was one of the managers. Upstairs was a hall with a raised stage and raised steps at the front. Readings, lectures, visiting theatre groups, dances, minstrel shows and meetings with dignitaries were all held here. Buster Matthews had a casket-manufacturing business in the basement for a while. Charlie Heath held movies here. Later there was a badminton court.

The structure was overhauled after WWII. The ceiling was lowered, beautiful light fixtures were converted to hydro and refurbished, and the stage was removed. All records and centennial books were destroyed and it was turned into a court house. The west stairs were closed off and the raised steps removed. The building was originally heated by a large wood-burning furnace in the basement before it was converted to oil. It was originally lighted with manufactured gas and then hydro after 1916. The old chandeliers still remain. Bradford’s first police force was located in this building for several years. The town’s administrative business was also conducted from here. On the west side of the Town Hall there once was a three-bay fire hall. At the back there was a Recreation Hall with a kitchen and toilets for the volunteer firemen to use. It was rented by the Lions Club (who met here for a number of years). The firemen provided draws and suppers to raise money for new equipment (a lot of which they manufactured themselves). It was heated by natural gas and built by Irma (?) and the walls were thick enough for a second storey. There is a stone cairn with a plaque in memory of Professor W.H. Day on the east side of the sidewalk. The WWI veterans built a cairn where the fire hall was. A cannon and a plaque with the names of those who perished in Europe were also there.

The current, two-storey Town Hall was built in the 1830-1860’s in the Classic Revival style. It has a symmetrical façade with a simplified, temple form and a medium-pitched, ‘pediment’ gable roof with plain cornice and frieze supported on brackets. There is an enclosed, raised porch with a steeply-pitched, centre gable (reminiscent of Gothic Revival). It is set into a shed roof flanked by corbelled parapets at each side and a plain cornice and frieze supported on brackets. The entrance door, stairs, and railing are not original. The entrance opening had been modified, but the original dichromatic brick that highlighted the top of the original entrance opening is still visible on either side of the new opening. There are tall window openings with high floor to ceiling heights. The windows are set into segmented, arch openings ornamented with alternating voussoirs and ‘ears’ of dichromatic brick and stone (or concrete) lug sills. The centre window above the entrance is raised above the entrance gable and ties together the entrance projection and façade composition behind. Original windows were probably double-hung and multi-paned. The ground-floor windows have been blocked in, but their outline is still visible on the front façade. There is a horizontal, dichromatic brick string coursing. The structure has masonry construction with brick cladding (sandblasted) and a random, rubble-stone foundation. An original, open-frame cupola/bell tower with a steeply-pitched, bell-cast roof and chimneys were missing when the building was inventoried in 2000. At that time the building was considered to be in good condition. (1, 2, 3, 4)

George Jackson

92 Holland Street West - Bertha Sinclair's House

Miss Sinclair’s House is a mid-block building located on the south side at 92 Holland Street West. It was built in the 1890’s in the Italianate style. Miss Bertha Sinclair lived in this house for many years. When she died, her nieces Kay and Isabel (daughters of Robert Spence) moved into the house. They were hairdressers. Isabel later moved and part of the house was rented to George and Ethel Stewart. The building was eventually sold to a real estate agent. The office of Dr. Fitzsimmons was also here at one time. Next to this structure was a vacant lot belonging to the Sinclair family. Many years ago there was a Temperance Hall and a church located there.
The two-storey, rectangular, main building has a single-storey, rear addition, a symmetrical façade, and a moderately-pitched, hip roof with a central chimney. The grand, Italianate scale is reflected in the large window openings, high floor to ceiling heights, and the large, 6/6 sash windows. There are deep, projecting eaves with ornately-decorated, paired cornice brackets and ‘false quoins’ (wood detailing meant to resemble masonry). The window cornices are exaggerated. According to the 2000 inventory, the stone foundation, wood frame construction, horizontal, wood-sided exterior finish (resembling masonry), and painted, exterior, wood trim are maintained well. (1, 2, 3)

George Jackson

Bemrose, James

The article accompanying this photograph gives a quick history of Bemrose Co. General Store, owned by the Bemrose brothers John and James. Their father, John, was a contractor and was well known in the town, a reputation which was passed down to the brothers. This store in the photograph was run by James Bemrose alone after his return to Bradford in 1901 in the former store of J.S. Boddy, and was in the same block as the Edmanson businesses on Holland Street (near 71 Holland St. East).
James Bemrose was a member of the Masonic Order. This photograph was taken because he was part of Bradford's Model School Board, along with other board members.

Bingham's Hotel

Advertisement for Bingham's Hotel on Holland Street.

Bradford Chronicle

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