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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Hiram Walker: 1900

Hiram Walker: 1900

Walkerville, Ontario, circa 1900. "Rack warehouse, Hiram Walker & Sons." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Sit and visit

It's important to sit with your whiskey for a bit every day and read the paper to it.

My hometown!

I am from and currently reside in Windsor. Around the turn of the century, Hiram Walker envisioned a fully functional city that he could call his own -- Walkerville, on the eastern outskirts of Windsor from the Detroit River and southward. It had its own police and fire departments and Mr. Walker also built blocks of row houses for his employees close to the distillery.

A friend of mine lives in one of these brick row houses on Monmouth Street. Inside it's beautiful with hardwood and even a brick wall on part of the living room. Between the units is a tunnel-like walkway that leads to the backyards. My friend's walkway happens to have many, many inscriptions written on the bricks from people who used to live there. Some are barely visible but I think a couple date back to the early 1900s.

Today, a lot has changed and has been torn down but it's still a very big business in our city and most of the core buildings remain.

Picturing Canada

Dizzying, fascinating shot. Oddly, aside from some pictures taken at The Lake of the Woods oh here, I think this is the first picture from Canada I've seen on Shorpy.

When Windsor went wild

We didn't lose our best customer, we just had to find a different way to "serve" them. Here's a little history on the Windsor-Walkerville area during Prohibition. I live about 20 miles from this warehouse.

Coming Attractions

Little did they know that the good times were a-comin'. With the imminent passage of Prohibition, in 1920, I have to assume they were working round the clock. On second thought, with the onset of Volstead Act, they (in theory) lost their best customer.

Whoa! I gotta sit down.

I'm not under the alcofluience of incahol, although some thinkle peep I are.

Walkerville

Walkerville is now part of Windsor, Ontario. Hiram Walker is still here, as are many of the mid-19th century structures. The Walkerville district is one of the most historic parts of the city. In fact, right where Hiram Walker's is on the waterfront is the same spot General Hull landed during the War of 1812.

Gilbey's

A friend's father worked at Gilbey's Distillery, in Toronto. The distillery allowed staff to take home either the mash or the charcoal (can't recall which) that they used to filter the alcohol. My friend's father used to put it on his flower beds which I am sure made the worms very happy.

Knowing him, he may also have managed to wring a bit of alcohol out of the stuff for himself.

One whiskey coming up

I toured the distillery as a kid. Note the stringers running the length of the aisle. They were used for propping ladders that allowed the warehousemen to raise and lower the barrels with ropes.

I don't need a drink!

I'm dizzy already. This warehouse must have been designed by M.C. Escher.

Gorgeous

The content aside, the composition of that shot is simply stunning. It looks like an Escher print or a scene from "Metropolis."

No smoking!

All of that wood and whiskey would make a heck of a fire. And be a waste of a lot of good whiskey.

Walkerville, Ontario

I did a google on Hiram Walker and one of the top hits has lots of other pictures of Walkerville. This picture gives a feel for the height of the building. It isn't until you see the outside of these ivy covered monsters do you realize how large they are.

Preference

I'll have mine "neat," if you please.

Did they have a forklift?

Any idea how the barrels were moved into and out of the upper levels? Did they have anything like a forklift back then? The stout bit or rope in the left foreground may be a clue.

These potato chips

are making me THIRSTY.

Fumes

I wonder if this man could pass a Breathalyzer test at the end of the workday.

 
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