Saturday 10 November 2018

Hanley Spur, Industry History

Working our way south along CN's Hanley Spur, here are some capsule histories of the rail-served industries along the line (dropping red 'bottlecaps'* in the above photo). I intend to be modelling these in some form on my HO scale Hanley Spur layout. At the end of the post are some other buildings and industries, that while not necessarily rail-served, were parts of the scene and sweep of Kingston's industrial and marine heritage.
CN Express (CN)
CN's Wellington Street freight shed employees transferred to the Outer Station CN Express location when both operations were integrated in 1964-65. During the 1970's, inbound shipments transitioned from arriving in freight cars to arriving in Toronto-Peterboro Transport (TPT) transport trucks - a CN subsidiary. The operation was subsequently sold to a new trucking company in 1986 and employees went along with it. CN Building & Bridges forces used the building for storage thereafter (1994, photo above). Photos in this post are from my own, Googlemaps or Google search.
Gus Marker Cement (CP)
Augustus (Gus) Solberg Marker was a professional hockey player and a member of the 1935 Cup-winning Montreal Maroons. He began a brick, tile and cement block works in the 1940's, operating at the same location, east of Division Street below Elliott Avenue for several decades. Present-day site of the Kingston Police headquarters.

MacCosham Van Lines (CP)
Now Capital Movers & Storage, 56 Railway Street. CP spur access at left.

Coca-Cola Ltd (CP)
Present-day Googlemaps view (above). CP spur access was at rear. This operation is moving to a distribution centre on Innovation Drive in May, 2022. There were 80 employees at the operation.

Weston's Bakeries (CP)
Present-day Googlemaps view (above). According to Queen's University Archives, built in 1948. In 1955, the bakery's staff of 115 was producing 8,000,000 units of bread, 3,000,000 sweet goods, and 400,000 cakes. CP spur access was at rear. At the time, 57 delivery trucks served the area from Morrisburg west to Grafton and north to Peterborough and Arnprior.

Pilkington Glass (CP) - TBA

Canfor Ltd. (CP) - TBA

Modern Delivery (CP) - TBA

Quattrocchi's Specialty Foods (CP)
Phil Quattrocchi moved to Kingston from Perth around 1955. Setting up a produce business originally at Bay & Montreal Streets in 1949, his better-known and final location was at Montreal & Railway Streets (April 2017 view - above). CP spur access was at left. Craig Kennedy shared this memory on the Vintage Kingston Facebook group: "I worked for Phill and Joe, when I was younger, unloaded 100s of 100lb&50lb sacks of potatoes and onions from train cars,. Not fun on a hot day, there was a roller conveyor that we set up to send them to the basement,& stack them on skids... you had to hose yourself down when you were finished, because you looked like some one threw you in a mud pit...lghg...I loved working there though...did in town delivery and years down the road, drove the big trucks all over the country delivering.They treated me like family..."

C. E. MacPherson (CP)
This steel manufacturing business began in 1913 on the west side of Rideau Street, currently operating as a division of Conrex Steel Ltd. producing head shields for pressure vessels and tanks, plus other specialty metal products. CP spur crossed Rideau Street to reach the plant. Whig-Standard newspaper ad 1970's.

I. Cohen Steel (CP)
Isaac Cohen, born in Lithuania, arrived in Kingston in 1898. His scrap dealings began in 1899 as the Kingston Rag & Metal Co., later moving to a location on Montreal St. Three generations of Cohens and Rosens lived at 203 Wellington Street.

Davis Tannery (CN)
Opening as Ford & Son in the late 1860's, the tannery was taken over by Joseph Carrington in the 1890's and sold to Andrew Davis in 1903. By 1920, Davis Tannery was one of Canada's largest, producing 1,000 sides of upper leather and 1,500 splits per day. The plant closed in the 1974 and was subsequently demolished and may be the site of a remediated brownsite residential development in the near future.

Dyeco (CP)
Located on the corner of River and Orchard streets, between the Davis Tannery and the Woolen Mill, Dyeco was a rail-served manufacturer of food colourings and other chemicals. At least some of their buildings were being constructed by McKelvey & Birch, on the former side of the smelter in 1924. There were four blocks of buildings on a six-acre plot. Products were not sold to the public, only to other industries. Raw materials came from England, India, Cyprus, Ceylon and other countries: Castor oil, Russian oil and tallow, among others.Interestingly, still operating on the same location as Sensient Technologies.

Woolen Mill (CP)
Known locally as the Woolen Mill, this four-storey 1882 enterprise was known as the Dominion Textile Co. A single-storey extension was added in 1883, and there are 12- and 16-inch pine beams throughout the windowed structure. The mill produced cloth, most notably for the armed forces during wartime on its 3.6-acre site. Shuttered by the Great Depression, it was later known as Hield Bros. operating under that name for 35 years until closure in 1966, due to declining demand and the rise of newer textile technology. The building has successfully passed between various owners becoming home to several businesses including the Kingston Whig-Standard. (Present-day view - above). The Woolen Mill has an account of its history here.

National Grocers (CN)
In 1918, 12 Cataraqui Street is built in reinforced concrete for the Ordnance Deptartment, Third Military District. Some sources refer to it as anada's first pre-fabricated building, made of interlocking concrete sections. This building was owned by the Weston Corporation from 1936-1976. Boxcar loads of charcoal, sugar and other commodities were unloaded here. It shared a joint lead with the Kingston Whig-Standard. Today, the building is still in use as the NGB craftsman colony, just across the former Hanley Spur right-of-way from the Woolen Mill.

Imperial Oil (CN)
The Queen City Oil Co. began operation of this unique limestone warehouse at 9 North Street in 1898. Later owned by Imperial Oil, the warehouse is currently being rebuilt by Doornekamp Construction, fenced off in August 2014 (above). The warehouse was designed by noted Kingston architect William Newlands in 1897. Mainly used to store kerosene unloaded from boxcars, a  large tank farm was located uphill, now the site of Rideaucrest Home. Bulk tankers unloaded oil into a pipeline connected to the nearby oil tanks while docked at the end of the K&P spile docks, near Knapp Boats. Bollards still mark the site of four large-diameter steel unloading pipes that led to the tanks. More on the history of the Imperial Oil warehouse here.

Kingston Whig-Standard (CN)
Receiving shipments of newsprint for printing, newsprint was received near Millard & Lumb in later years.

Grand Trunk Freight Shed (CN)
All lots in the Place d'Armes-Wellington Street area were purchased by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1912, formerly the location of the City of Kingston hay and wood market and weigh scale (1911 fire insurance map above). The long, one-storey unheated building, with its office nearest Place d'Armes, served as CN's main Kingston freight depot from 1923 until the mid-60's. Several sidings, including a wooden vehicle-loading ramp at the corner of King & Place d'Armes were in operation as team tracks and the ramp remained until after the shed was demolished. Operations were relocated to the Outer Station site and the shed was demolished in 1970.

Sowards Coal (CN/CP)
James Sowards established his coal business in 1889 on a large, open tact of land at the north end of Ontario Street at Place d'Armes. One of several successful Kingston coal merchants including Crawford, Anglin and Swift. Coal boats unloaded coal at the site, with remnants of coal piles visible on the site even in to the 1970's. Operated by successive members of the Sowards family until taken over by Anglin Fuel & Lumber Co, Anglin operated the former Sowards Coal yard as Anglin Coal until 1979. An elevated rail spur with enclosed roof served via the mutual track along Ontario Street was demolished in the late 1970's. City directory 1918 cover (above).

Other Waterfront Industries (while we're in the area) in no particular geographic order:

The Buffalo and Ontario Smelting and Refining Co.
A subsidiary of the General Mines Co. whose president in 1913 was George Wagner, treated lead mined in the Perth Road area in the early part of the 20th century. Arsenic smelting took place at the site, and silver and cobalt brought from farther afield, including Northern Ontario were also processed.
Bajus Brewery
A brewery was first built on this site in 1794, purchased by Philip Wenz in 1826 then joined in business by his nephew Jacob Bajus, whose name the business was known by. In operation until 1922, the current 1835 stone structure replaced an original wooden structure that was torn down to make way for the construction of Wellington St. Stone additions were built in 1857 and 1861, designed by noted local architect Wm. Coverdale. After the brewery ceased operation, the building was used as warehouse space for local businesses, currently residential space. City directory 1881 ad:
The still-undeveloped brewery in a photo I took in April, 1980. Check out the vintage vehicles! I commented on the kegs in the walls in the photo caption, as well as the flock of pigeons on the roof. Note the wooden floor joists just visible:
Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Lrd. (CN)
Centred on the dry dock, later the site of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, this operation was locally known as the Kingston Shipyards. Located just past the Canadian Locomotive Co., it operated from 1910-1968 on Mississauga Point at the foot of Gore Street, a location known for shipbuilding since the days of the United Empire Loyalists. Acquired by Canada Steamship Lines in 1945, the Kingston yard was strategically located at the transshipment point between the Lakes and the St. Lawrence. A valuable property until the Seaway was opened in 1959, providing repairs to canallers, when its strategic and historic significance were lost. Larger ships simply sailed by, and the yard could only accommodated smaller vessels. McAllister Towing and Salvage later operated from this site.
Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. (CP)
The Davis Dry Dock Co. was established in 1867, with its dry dock built in 1889-1900 and operating under that name until 1928-1931-1933, becoming CD&D. A towering 70-foot crane and the derelict dredge Primrose (partially sunken in 1985 and scrapped shortly thereafter) dominated the Inner Harbour skyline for many years, with a bevy of tugs, scows and workboats floating nearby. Kingston was CD&D's centre of operations for the St Lawrence Seaway. CD&D was the only dry dock for large boats between Montreal and St. Catharines when it closed its 2.4-acre site, still home to a boatbuilding operation - MetalCraft Marine.

Montreal Transportation Co. Grain Elevator
In 1883, the MTC elevator employed 150 workers. Shovellers who filled ships and barges with grain were paid 60 cents an hour, sometimes working 20-24 hours at a time! Located on the waterfront at 281-289 Ontario Street, this 800,000 bushel elevator with two marine legs ceased operations in 1919, and was demolished by 1926. (1908 fire insurance map above) Kingston's  Canada Steamship Lines terminal was then built on the pier which is now the Wolfe Island ferry terminal.
James Richardson & Sons Grain Elevator (CN)
Richardson's grain trade began in Kingston in 1857, with the 250,000 bushel rail-served elevator built around 1898. Destroyed by fire on December 23, 1941 the pier now hosts Kingston's Holiday Inn hotel.  

Hanley Station (CN)
Built by Mr. Thomas Hanley in 1882 at the corner of Johnson and Ontario Streets, this tiny terminal was designed by noted local architect George Newlands. A ticket office for Grand Trunk Railway and steamship lines, the GTR then entered into an agreement to use the building as their downtown Kingston passenger depot. A suburban train service, later including the provision of sleeping cars ending in January, 1929 served the site from 1885-1930. The building is currently a restaurant.

Millard & Lumb
Both men for whom the business is named were foremen at the Canadian Locomotive Co. Investing in the new-found process of welding, replacing riveting, the building served the marine industry for decades. It still stands at the corner of King Street and Place d'Armes, its prime three-quarter-acre site having sold in 1988 for $750,000, now looking considerably less-industrial. Surrounded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan building, arena, Frontenac Village and Fort Frontenac.

Elder's Beverages
Local bottler located at 671 Montreal Street, near the Outer Station.

Canadian Locomotive Co. (CN)
Locomotive builders from 1854 until 1969, this long-time Kingston employer had also been known as the Canadian Engine & Machinery Co. then the Canadian Locomotive & Engine Co. before being named CLC in 1901. Eventually entering the diesel-electric market, CLC successfully partnered with Fairbanks-Morse. Metre-gauge CLC-built steam locomotives for export to India at the Outer Station in 1950 (above). The plant shipped its last locomotive in July, 1960 having shipped its last Canadian steam locomotive, CPR 1301 in 1948.
Knapp's Boats
Located just north of the LaSalle Causeway on the west side of the Inner Harbour, this marina site was used for a time by the Department of National Defence to refurbish wooden boats.
S. Anglin Co.
As early as 1845, the business begun by Samuel Anglin and his brother at Bay & Wellington Streets was a sawmill established in 1865 before expanding to coal, lumber, bricks, cement and woodwork shipments via rail sidings and wharves. A Whig-Standard Anglin advertisement, 1974: 

A planing mill and sash-and-door operation and coal shed were added in 1875, with the woodwork operation continuing until 1979. Anglin's sold as much as 250,000 tons of coal per year, supplying large customers such as Queen's University and Strathcona Paper. Coal piles could be seen in the early-1900's then several large, white oil tanks at Rideau & North Streets in the 1950's as oil replaced coal. A secondary yard at 771 Division Street operated until 1969, near Gus Marker's brick yard (see third photo above). Moving to 525 Counter Street in 1989, the sprawling Frontenac Village multi-unit residential community was built on the site. Anglin was sold to Triheat in 1997 before its purchase by Rosen Heating.
Rosen Fuels Ltd.
Hyman Rosen arrived in Kingston from Lithuania in 1911. One of Hyman' two sons was Harry. Entering business as Harry Rosen Coal Supply in 1937 at 130-140 Rideau Street (later Kingston Scrap Iron Metal Co.!) with these buildings surviving into the 1970's. At 5 Cataraqui Street, the north side of this busy fuel operation abutted Rideau Street. Tanks capable of holding 3.5 million gallons of oil were built on the eight-acre site, and the name changed to Rosen Fuels Ltd. The slogan on the back of the company's fuel trucks said, "Don't Wait Till You're Half Frozen, Buy Your Fuel from Harry Rosen". The six oil tanks were removed in 1983, though fuel distribution continued. Loading stand on River Street on K&P Urban Trail, spring 2018 (above).
Presland Iron & Steel (CN/CP)
Located on Maple Street, the last remaining industrial building just north of the Outer Station (Googlemaps view - above).

Frontenac Wall & Floor Tile
Located just north of the Outer Station, this plant used locally-mined feldspar.

Chown Hardware


  1. Hi there. Grew up north east of Kingston but came to the city regularly for shopping and to visit relatives. Always enjoyed the view north of the La Salle causeway of the tangle of booms, boats and masts at Kingston Dredge and Dock and the site of various lake boats tied up at the causeway. My mother particularly disliked getting stuck behind a 'Kick and Push' locomotive while travelling along Ontario Street.

  2. Neat memories, U.
    Dredge & Dock was busy during the building of the Seaway but trailed off after that. Especially when the dredge Primrose sank!
    Thanks for your comment,


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