Hotels on the Beach

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
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#61
scotto
07-07-2013, 12:51 PM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt. …”

Scott, did the ‘Victoria Yacht Club’ also have a club house, or property on the beach?
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#62
scotto
07-07-2013, 11:51 AM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt.

The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club was designed by architect W. Stewart.
http://www.dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1332
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#63
scotto
07-07-2013, 12:51 PM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.

Scott, did the ‘Victoria Yacht Club’ also have a club house, or property on the beach?

There was another yacht club on the Beach at the now Rescue Unit property, I have no idea what it was named. But the wharf it was connected to has no record of being on the Beach that I recall..
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#64
David O'Reilly
10-23-2013, 12:23 PM
Scott,
“As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake.”

1894 – “The regatta of the Canadian Association of Amateur Oarsmen was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, 3 & 4 August and the Hamilton Steamboat Co. promised a sailing every twenty minutes from the James St. Slip to the Beach, using the MACASSA,MODJESKA,MAZEPPA and the CITY OF WINDSOR.”
http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/Brookes/default.asp?ID=Y1894

I wonder if the regatta was held at Dynes. But even if it wasn’t, ‘a sailing every twenty minetts’ indicates how popular the beach was for sports events.


Here’s a page with some history on the Hamilton Steamboad Co.
http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/robert2/default.asp?ID=c014
________________________________________
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#65
scotto
07-07-2013, 12:51 PM
“From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.”

Scott, in one of my subsequent posts, I’ve coppied information from the Hamilton Harbour 1826/1901 page on the steamers that brought passengers from Hamilton to the beach. In the early days, let say when dynes first opened were there any schooners, that ferried peaple from Hamilton to the beach?
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#66
scotto
07-07-2013, 01:51 PM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. (The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.)
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt.
Other hotels on the Beach lasted longer, but some suffered the same fate.
In 1860, Mrs. Fish's tavern was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
The Perry House burned in April, 1918, victim of a spark from a passing train. Flames this time burned the Cataract Power Company's high tension wires so that for a time the radial cars were unable to run. Fortunately, within a few months, John Perry was operating the Lakeside Hotel on the same site. The new hotel building cost $120,000, and re¬mained until the new Canal bridge was built in the 1950's.”

Scott, when Dynes Hotel first opened, was it strickly steamers that brought peaple across the bay to the beach, or were sailing ships also used? I don’tknow how ‘choppy’ the bay gets, and I don’t know how big the steamers were in the 1840’s. but I wouldn’t have thought that steam ships would have been affected by rough waters.

Maybe Drogo has the answer, as one of her loves seem to be sailing ships.

And your thread ‘The Inn That’s Never Out’ indicates that the ‘Brant House’, opened on the beach in 1880. Do you have any other information?

“scotto
05-14-2014, 01:36 PM
From; Brant Inn Memories by Stewart Brown
Brant's property remained in the family (he had nine children all told) until the death of grandchildren Simcoe Kerr in 1875 and Mary Osborne in 1876. Meantime much of Brant's Block had been sold to settlers, usually to pay off family debts.
The Brant homestead itself was ultimately affected. It was sold to John Morris of Hamilton and became part of Brant House, a summer resort that went through a series of owners, from Morris to lumber merchant Benjamin Eager. By 1880, the hotel heralded "20 acres of Pleasure Gardens, Croquet Lawns, Bowling Green, Billiards, Promenades, Fishing Grounds, Row Boats, Yachts, Bathing Machines, capacious Dancing Hall and Ice Cream Parlors," according to The True Banner and Wentworth Chronicle of May 20,1880. Trains and lake steamers would run regularly to the site.
"The hotel," boasted the McKillop brothers, then proprietors, "is second to none in the province."
But bigger and better things were in store after builder and lumber dealer A. B. Coleman bought the property before the end of the 19th century.
Alfred Brigham Coleman - better known as 'A.B." - was a self-made man who decided to cash in on the popularity of the Burlington area as a favorite North American summer resort for the wealthy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-2283.html






________________________________________
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,985
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63
The Beach Strip
#67
Scott, when Dynes Hotel first opened, was it strickly steamers that brought peaple across the bay to the beach, or were sailing ships also used? I don’tknow how ‘choppy’ the bay gets, and I don’t know how big the steamers were in the 1840’s. but I wouldn’t have thought that steam ships would have been affected by rough waters.

Maybe Drogo has the answer, as one of her loves seem to be sailing ships.

And your thread ‘The Inn That’s Never Out’ indicates that the ‘Brant House’, opened on the beach in 1880. Do you have any other information?

_______
David,
The harbour was used by all as a means of transport, in the winter the residents would walk to the city on the ice. I don't see any reason why small craft wouldn't be used to access any dock along the Beach. I sent Peggy an article of one of her descendants finding bodies washed up on harbour shoreline, they left the beach the night before and never made it in their small craft across to the city. Large vessels would have little trouble in the harbour due to the waves, but control during high winds is also an issue. The wave height in the harbour never gets to the strength the lake can get to, so if you mean large sailing ships then they would have issues with the wind and not the seas.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#68
“The harbour was used by all as a means of transport, in the winter the residents would walk to the city on the ice. I don't see any reason why small craft wouldn't be used to access any dock along the Beach. I sent Peggy an article of one of her descendants finding bodies washed up on harbour shoreline, they left the beach the night before and never made it in their small craft across to the city. Large vessels would have little trouble in the harbour due to the waves, but control during high winds is also an issue. The wave height in the harbour never gets to the strength the lake can get to, so if you mean large sailing ships then they would have issues with the wind and not the seas.”

Scott,

In my second post I quoated from the Hamilton Harbour 1826/1901 page with information on companies that operated steamers that took large numbers of peaple from Hamilton to the beach. Unfortunately the information only starts with the ‘1860’s. do you know if there were businessmen who operated sailing ships that took peaple to the beach?
________________________________________
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#69
scotto
07-07-2013, 01:51 PM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt.
Other hotels on the Beach lasted longer, but some suffered the same fate.
In 1860, Mrs. Fish's tavern was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
The Perry House burned in April, 1918, victim of a spark from a passing train. Flames this time burned the Cataract Power Company's high tension wires so that for a time the radial cars were unable to run. Fortunately, within a few months, John Perry was operating the Lakeside Hotel on the same site. The new hotel building cost $120,000, and re¬mained until the new Canal bridge was built in the 1950's.”

In my unsuccessful quest to find out if there were sailing ships that took passengers from Hamilton to the beach, I have found that there were steamers that went to Wellington Square, in 1854 and 1857.

________________________________________
“This spring, travellers who found it necessary to visit Toronto, had the choice of two steamers. The MAZEPPA,Capt. E. Butterworth, left Hamilton at 1:30 p.m. and called at Oakville and Port Credit, or the HIGHLANDER,Capt. McBride, which left Hamilton at 7:00 a.m. daily, except Sunday and called at Wellington Square,Oakville and Port Credit. This service was maintained until the HIGHLANDER was transferred to the Toronto and Rochester run and was replaced by the CHIEF JUSTICE ROBINSON,Capt. Jas. Dick.”

http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/Brookes/default.asp?ID=Y1854

“This year, 1857, ferry service was to be provided. by the small steamer VICTORIA, sailing from the G. W. Wharf to Wellington Square and other points around the Harbour. She would be available also for charters.”

http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/Brookes/default.asp?ID=Y1857
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#70
I’m still looking for information on how passengers travelled from Hamilton to the beach in the early days of the hotels. And maybe I’ve found something.

“On the 14 March, that early bird, Capt. Edward Harrison of the steamboat ECLIPSE, made his first voyage of the season west from Toronto, landing his passengers and cargo at Wellington Square. He would, continue this routine until the ice in the Harbour broke up.”
http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/Brookes/default.asp?ID=Y1850

so the Eclipse was travelling west from Toronto to Hamilton, not from Hamilton to the beach. But while it was carrying cargo, it was also carrying passengers. So maybe there were a lot of steamers that loaded both cargo and passengers in Hamilton, and stopped along the piers in the Burlington Canal, where the passengers would disembark. And the passengers would then catch a return ship later in the day.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,985
218
63
The Beach Strip
#71
Scott,

In my second post I quoated from the Hamilton Harbour 1826/1901 page with information on companies that operated steamers that took large numbers of peaple from Hamilton to the beach. Unfortunately the information only starts with the ‘1860’s. do you know if there were businessmen who operated sailing ships that took peaple to the beach?
I looked through my books to see if the sailing ship made trips to the Beach I didn't find anything that would support that. The new canal didn't open to allow passage of larger ships until 1823, by then the steamers were making their mark.
From the book "getting Around Hamilton' by Bill Manson;


Port Hamilton, and pleasure cruising

Early on, Hamilton became a major port for pleasure ships. In 1829, the John By, a 100-ton paddle-wheeler, commenced a daily ferry run to York (Toronto). A regular steamship service also linked Hamilton and Rochester.
Two of the first steamers were the Lillie and Maggie Mason which left the Simcoe Street wharf on their trips to Brown's Wharf and the Brant House.
Side-paddle-wheelers like the White Star and the Corona later took Hamiltonians on pleasure outings to
places like Wabasso (LaSalle) Park, Port Dalhousie, and the Toronto Islands.
By 1889, the Modjeska and Macassa were also making three round-trips daily between Hamilton and Toronto, at a cost of 25 cents. Smaller craft like the Ontario and Mazeppa ferried passengers from Hamilton to Burlington Beach and LaSalle Park every half-hour in the summer. However, by 1927 many of these ships had been retired and were not replaced. Car owners preferred the open road to open deck, and the freedom from schedules and fares, in to get their favourite recreational spots around the lake and bay.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#72
scotto
01-25-2015, 08:36 PM
Scott,

In my second post I quoated from the Hamilton Harbour 1826/1901 page with information on companies that operated steamers that took large numbers of peaple from Hamilton to the beach. Unfortunately the information only starts with the ‘1860’s. do you know if there were businessmen who operated sailing ships that took peaple to the beach?


I looked through my books to see if the sailing ship made trips to the Beach I didn't find anything that would support that. The new canal didn't open to allow passage of larger ships until 1823, by then the steamers were making their mark.
From the book "getting Around Hamilton' by Bill Manson;


Port Hamilton, and pleasure cruising

Early on, Hamilton became a major port for pleasure ships. In 1829, the John By, a 100-ton paddle-wheeler, commenced a daily ferry run to York (Toronto). A regular steamship service also linked Hamilton and Rochester.
Two of the first steamers were the Lillie and Maggie Mason which left the Simcoe Street wharf on their trips to Brown's Wharf and the Brant House.
Side-paddle-wheelers like the White Star and the Corona later took Hamiltonians on pleasure outings to
places like Wabasso (LaSalle) Park, Port Dalhousie, and the Toronto Islands.
By 1889, the Modjeska and Macassa were also making three round-trips daily between Hamilton and Toronto, at a cost of 25 cents. Smaller craft like the Ontario and Mazeppa ferried passengers from Hamilton to Burlington Beach and LaSalle Park every half-hour in the summer. However, by 1927 many of these ships had been retired and were not replaced. Car owners preferred the open road to open deck, and the freedom from schedules and fares, in to get their favourite recreational spots around the lake and bay.

Scott,
Thanks for this info, it fills in some gaps.

Here is a page with a picture of the steamer Lillie.
http://images.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/120/data?n=15


scotto
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#75
scotto
07-07-2013, 01:51 PM
From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt.
Other hotels on the Beach lasted longer, but some suffered the same fate.
In 1860, Mrs. Fish's tavern was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
The Perry House burned in April, 1918, victim of a spark from a passing train. Flames this time burned the Cataract Power Company's high tension wires so that for a time the radial cars were unable to run. Fortunately, within a few months, John Perry was operating the Lakeside Hotel on the same site. The new hotel building cost $120,000, and re¬mained until the new Canal bridge was built in the 1950's.

Scott,

Your post from the ‘Hotel Brant’ thread indicates that the Brant House, was an other hotel on the beach.

“scotto
11-01-2010, 07:39 PM
Great links there Rob...


As Fred mentioned, here is a small part from Dorothy Turcotte's book, The Sand Strip-

"Situated near a sloping sandy beach with woods and a pond nearby, area offered all sorts of recreational opportunities. Furthermore, it was within easy reach of Hamilton, and was on the shortest route between Toronto and Niagara.

Almost at once the Brant House became popular. Set in acres of gardens, it boasted a croquet lawn, bowling green, cream parlour, dance hall, and even bathing booths for the convenience of those who wished to frolic in the crystal waters of Lake Ontario.

The property changed hands several times. Finally, in 1899 it was purchased by A. B. Coleman who turned the Brant complex into something even larger.

Next to the Brant House, Mr. Coleman built a large brick building which he called the Brant Hotel. Opening day was July 2, 1900. The advertising for the new resort pointed out that nearly every room commanded an unobstructed view of the waters of Lake Ontario or Hamilton Bay. Built to accommodate 300 guests, the hotel boasted rooms with Ostermoor mattresses, electricity, and the most modern plumbing. There was a ballroom with a hardwood floor, convention hall, and a roof garden with huge pots of petunias ...."

And one minor comment, the Brant Hotel was not the Brant Inn.”

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1771.html

and it seems that the Brant House was operating as early as 1880. Do you know exactly when it began running as a hotel?

1880 - Favoured by fine weather, the Victoria Day holiday brought much business to the Brant House and the Ocean House, as well as to Oaklands. The ECLIPSE and the DENNIS BOWEN handled the traffic to Oaklands and the SOUTHERN BELLE brought some 800 passengers over from Toronto in the morning. She then made a round trip to Toronto with a good crowd of Hamiltonians and returned to Toronto in the evening. Another small steamer, the GENEVA, purchased by Dr. Springer in Kingston, had left that port on the 20 May and got to Hamilton in time for the holiday. She carried about 1,500 passengers to the Beach during the day.”

http://www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/documents/brookes/default.asp?ID=Y1880
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
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18
#76
scotto
11-08-2013, 06:09 PM
Scott,
(1) what was the ‘Canal Reserve’? and who gave the orders to ‘clean it up’?
(2) did the construction of the ‘canal bridge’ in the 1950’s, have anything to do with the end of the ‘Lakeside Hotel’? was this ‘bridge’ the temporary bascule bridge’ that was built on the north side of the canal?
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-2173.html

if it did, it would seem to indicate that the Lakeside Hotel was on the north side of the canal.

Can I ask you to indicate which side of the canal the various hotels were located on? and where they were located in relation to each other.

Here is the URL for the thread ‘Hotel Brant’.
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1771.html





I have a map dated 1877 showing the "Canal Reserve" extending about one quarter mile on each side of the canal. I can only assume that the government of the day thought it to be of military importance in the event of any conflict. I cannot speculate on who would order a clean up without the facts to back it up.
The Lakeside Hotel was on the south side of the bascule bridge and would of been in the way of the approach road leading to the new Lift Bridge. If somehow it survived the construction, it's back door would of been on Beach Blvd, now Eastport Dr.
The temporary bridge was a wooded structure that replaced the north span of damaged bascule bridge, all was removed once the Lift Bridge was completed.
There were many, many hotels on the Beach over the years as already commented on in this thread, I wouldn't have the time to create timelines and locations.



May 2nd, 1876
From Henley's Blog;


Down along the Beach Strip. just north of the Burlington Bay canal, the favourite resort hotel was being upgraded substantially because of the imminent construction of the Hamilton and Northwestern Railway in the area.

The Spectator provided a detailed description of the changes to Ocean House as well as a call for better roadway access to the resort:

“If the Beach does not prove to be a particularly attractive place of resort during the present summer, it will certainly not be the fault of the spirited proprietors of the Ocean House. The drive to it has been greatly improved by the construction of a good clay road on the last mile and a half, which was formerly loose sand, and which nothing faster than a walk could be driven. It is the Ocean House itself, however, which has undergone the principal improvement. In connection with it a large new building has been erected to the southward. This building is about a hundred feet long by forty in width, and two stories high. On the ground floor is a bowling alley, 65 feet long, also a billiard room for three tables, a retiring room and a bar-room. On the second storey is a ball room the full width of the building, and 70 feet long, attached to which are a refreshment room, and a ladies' dressing room. One of the chief objects in the construction of the new building is to withdraw from the hotel proper the confusion attendant upon crowds of guests who visit the Beach for an afternoon merely, and thus leave it more quiet and retired for its permanent guests. With this view, the bar will be removed to the new building and the present bar-room turned into a ladies' refreshment room. The room to the front of it will become the public reception room, with a piano and other attractions. With these improvements, the Ocean House will become a very attractive watering place, and scarcely fail to tempt visitors from a distance as well as from the city. If the proper authorities, whoever they may be, would make the roads along the Beach all that they ought to be, nothing would be wanting to make this one of the most enjoyable retreats in Canada. The proprietors of the hotel have done much in this direction themselves, but it is not properly their work and it is unfair that the burden should fall upon them.”


“The Brant House is the name of a new summer hotel located at Wellington Square, upon the Simcoe Kerr estate, which, as our citizens are aware, is one of the finest sites for such an enterprise to be found in the country.”

Hamilton Spectator May 22, 1876

Across the harbor from the city of Hamilton, in the north east corner of Burlington Bay, a new location for picnics and other enjoyments was nearing completion on May 22, 1876.

The Brant House would soon be one of the favourite destinations for Hamiltonians wishing to escape the city for the day:

“The necessary wharves are in course of construction for the accommodation of pleasure steamer, yachts, etc., and such enlargements and additions to the existing buildings are being made as will afford ample accommodation for pleasure seekers. The grounds are extensive and beautiful, the air pure, the means of access cheap and plentiful, and the additional attraction is furnished by the historic interest attached to the former council ground and burial place of the great Brant. The house bids fair to be a powerful competitor for public favour.” To promote passenger traffic to the Brant House as well as locations on the Beach Strip, the owners of two steamers provided free rides on May 20, 1876:

“On Saturday afternoon, the pleasure steamers the Florence and Transit made a free trip to the Beach, carrying passengers. There was a large crowd on board and all seemed to enjoy the trip. The Transit made to the Beach from her wharf in thirty minutes, and ran very smoothly.”


________________________________________
Scott, This thread has two references to ‘the canal reserve. Unfortunately it doesn’t give any more information on what the ‘canal reserve’ was.

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-298.html

“4 August, 1874
Sir:
In compliance with your request, and with the sanction of the Fisheries department, Ottawa, I have the honor to report and furnish you with all the present particulars, and occupied position of Burlington Beach, which is situated in the township of Saltfleet, in the South riding of Wentworth, and Province of Ontario. ..as far as my knowledge serves me, I have already by your direction communicated and pointed out to the Messrs. Thomas C. Brownjohn and Wm. F. Biggar, PLS Civil Engineers etc. etc., employed by the Mayor and Corporation, to make a survey and map of Burlington Beach under your personal superintendence… , The property of Burlington Beach owned by the Dominion Govt. as “Fishery Reserves”, “Canal Reserve”, and the land owned by the Provincial Government, etc., etc., and squatted on.”

“Captain George Thompson, Light House Keeper, occupies a brick dwelling house – he does not appear to be rated this year.
Captain Thompson’s, Fletcher’s, Waddell’s, and Yale’s houses and premises are all situated upon what is known on Burlington Beach as the “Canal Reserve” – as is also the Stone Light House.”
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#77
scotto
07-07-2013, 12:51 PM
“From the book, "The Sand Strip" by Dorothy Turcotte.


As the years went by, a number of hotels sprang up along the Beach. The best known, and still the oldest operating tavern in Ontario is Dynes, established in 1846. City folks gladly braved the deplorable dirt road or the choppy ride
across the Bay in order to enjoy one of John Dynes' famous fish or duck dinners.
Dynes Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1882, but was quickly rebuilt. Its grounds were the site of many large picnics and sports events. For example, when the plumbers and gasfitters held their picnic at Dynes, about 600 people attended to enjoy baseball, swimming races off the floating wharf, a fishing match, and dancing to Makins' string band. For many years, Dynes was headquarters for the Annual Beach Fete which featured swimming and boating races, sports, and even in later years, aviation stunts over the lake. When Dynes discontinued the Fete, it was carried on by another group of people under the name of Beach Day.
Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble docking at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.
On December 20th, 1874, George Thompson wrote that "The Old Tavern burned." The embers glowed until the 30th. About a month later, three men from Hamilton came to look at the site, and within four days work had begun on a new tavern. "The Old Tavern" was Baldry's. From its ashes, like the phoenix, rose a new hotel, the Ocean House.
When the Ocean House opened for business in May of 1875, Captain Campbell, who replaced George Thompson as lighthouse keeper, reported that more than 430 vehicles crossed the Canal by ferry to visit the new establishment.
The following year, the Birley brothers added an annex to the Ocean House. It contained a bowling alley, billiard room, a bar, and a ballroom.
The new hotel brought so many excursionists to the Beach that a writer in The Times on August 21st, 1879 complains that "the sidewalks from the Canal to the Ocean House are blocked by a lot of hucksters, targets for shooting and other obstructions . . . the hucksters come not only from Hamilton and vicinity, but from Toronto, Caledonia and other places. . . If the annoyance is allowed to go on it will seriously affect the popularity of the Beach."
In the spring of 1895, however, steps were taken to tidy up the Canal Reserve. A photographer's gallery, an ice cream stand, an ice house and a candy shop were ordered removed. Seats were placed under the trees, and orders were given that swimming in the Canal and camping were forbidden.
The Ocean House was a popular resort until Wednesday, July 17th, 1895. On that day, the hotel was unusually busy as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Victoria Yacht Club were having" a joint regatta.
According to the Hamilton Herald report, when one of the Ocean House bartenders opened the cellar door, smoke and flames poured out. Within minutes, the whole annex was ablaze, and soon after the entire hotel went with it. Hamiltonians could see the flames across the Bay. Many watched from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points in the city. Those who owned boats went out onto the Bay to watch the conflagration. The resort was never rebuilt.
Other hotels on the Beach lasted longer, but some suffered the same fate.
In 1860, Mrs. Fish's tavern was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
The Perry House burned in April, 1918, victim of a spark from a passing train. Flames this time burned the Cataract Power Company's high tension wires so that for a time the radial cars were unable to run. Fortunately, within a few months, John Perry was operating the Lakeside Hotel on the same site. The new hotel building cost $120,000, and re¬mained until the new Canal bridge was built in the 1950's.”

Scott,
This thread refers to a tavern and ballroom owned by a Mr. Martin. Do you know if this Was ‘Martin’s Pleasure Gardens’?

“Next Mr. Thomas Martin keeps Tavern(?) It is on the open beach – with Ballroom – and buildings and stable standing back near the Lake. On the Bay side there is a dwelling house, Green(?!) House, a flower and fruit garden (?) of some extent. Martin is however rated as Householder $150 on the assessment roll for the year 1874.”

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-298.html



________________________________________
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#78
Scott,
This thread refers to a tavern and ballroom owned by a Mr. Martin. Do you know if this Was ‘Martin’s Pleasure Gardens’?

“Next Mr. Thomas Martin keeps Tavern(?) It is on the open beach – with Ballroom – and buildings and stable standing back near the Lake. On the Bay side there is a dwelling house, Green(?!) House, a flower and fruit garden (?) of some extent. Martin is however rated as Householder $150 on the assessment roll for the year 1874.”

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-298.html



________________________________________
I can only assume that it was as there isn't much written in the history books about Martin’s Pleasure Gardens, most likely because it wasn't near the canal. The biggest claim to fame was when there bay shore dock collapse and some people drowned.
From Dorothy Turcotte;

Other hotels along the Beach were Wells' Tavern, the Lakeside, the Sportsman's Arms, Corey House owned by Jake and Lou Corey, Perry's Hotel and Martin's Pleasure Gardens. The best of these hotels had wharfs on the bayside of the beach strip. Steamers from Hamilton brought boatloads of fun-seekers to these wharfs and, the proprietors hoped, into the hotels. Ontario and Mazeppa were two of the popular ships on this run.
On one occasion, the steamer Ontario had trouble dock-ng at Martin's in rough weather. Some of the passengers were impatient and began to jump from the ship onto the wharf. Rotten planks on the dock gave away, plunging some of the people into the bay. Three children were drowned. At the investigation which followed, emotions ran high with the proprietor being accused of neglect and even murder. In the end, however, no charges were laid.


And from Gary Evan's latest book;
It is within some of these old stories that such establishments as the Well's Tavern, the Road House, Fould's Hotel, the Bauldry Hotel and the Niblock Tavern were discussed, but seldom were there any details although it was stated that the Niblock was near Station 8 while the Bauldry was near where the Ocean House was later built, that being just south of the Burlington Canal.
Martin's Pleasure Gardens came on the scene many years later, and while little is known about the hotel itself, it was in the news back in 1875 when the hotel's wharf located on the bay side of the canal collapsed under the weight of a large number of visitors.
It was on July 1,1875, when the steamship Ontario docked at the hotel with a boatload of passengers, who got a good soaking—plus a real scare - when the dock boards collapsed under the weight of about 30 people, sending them into the bay.
An engraving reproduced that August in the Canadian Illustrated News shows some of the passengers being hauled out of the water by those who escaped the dunking, while others are frantically trying to hold on to debris.
Given that the hotel had a wharf large enough to accommodate a small steamship, it must have been a popular spot, but perhaps it was in existence for only a short time. It's not marked as Martin's Pleasure Gardens on any of the old maps, but there is a notation for a hotel on a map of that era located on the bay side of the strip just north of the Dynes Hotel.
 

scotto

Administrator
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The Beach Strip
#79
Beach Strip the place with new hotel

Hamilton Spectator
July 20, 1985
J. Brian Henley
EARLY IN the month of February, 1875 the winter's stillness along the Beach Strip was disturbed as construction of a large and commodious pleasure hotel, to be called the Ocean House, began.
When the spring of 1875 arrived, the Spectator attempted to satisfy public interest in the new hotel by describing the plans for the facility in some detail The building would be two and a half stories high, containing 42 bedrooms, four parlor and sitting rooms, the usual offices and reading rooms, a dining room and a separate ballroom.

A DOUBLE veranda, eight feet wide encircled the Ocean House on all sides, adding greatly to both the building's beauty and to the convenience of the hotel's guests who could choose to use the veranda to take in the beauties of the bay to the south and Lake Ontario to the north.
The Ocean House was ready for its first guests to arrive for the Queen's Birthday holiday of May, 1875. At the invitation of the hotel's owners, a party of prominent Hamiltonians, numbering about 150 men and women were taken to the Beach on the steamer Florence to inspect the new resort.
A Spectator reporter accompanied the distinguished party to record his observations: "The Florence made the run to the piers in 25 minutes, going easily, where the party landed and spent a couple of hours very pleasantly in romping in the sands, inspecting the Ocean House and walking on the piers to the lighthouse.
A wall of beautiful clear water has been sunk under the house, and the water is forced up to a large tank on top of the building, and from there distributed all over the house."
Later that summer, on August 2, 1875, the Hamilton Times ran a lengthy article about the new Summer hotel, written by a reporter who clearly enjoyed his weekend sojourn at the Ocean House: "Few of our readers know, and fewer still avail themselves of the pleasure and healthful enjoyment, which is almost we might say, at their very door.
"People rush away to fashionable watering places, incurring the inconvenience of long and dusty journeys, to find themselves eventuality landed in a place where real comfort gives away to fashion.
"Now five miles from this city there is and always has been, a delightful summer resort. Till lately, the accommodation there has been scanty, but lately, a good and first class hotel has been started.
This evening was a delightful one, and rowing on the Bay and bathing were freely indulged in. Sunday opened gloomily, and the dull roar of the waves rolling from the lake was the first sound which greeted the ear on awakening.
"On looking out from the windows of the hotel on to the angry lake, the view was a fine one. Wave after wave rolled in majestic grandeul on the sandy shore. A few venturesome spirits determined on a swim, and were well repaid for their trouble, the water being refreshing and the excitement of being knocked over every other minute by some curling wave."
Walking over to the canal, the Times representative watched a steamer pass from the Lake into the bay, handkerchiefs being waved by both those on shore and those on board.
THE REPORTER'S afternoon was spent in utter relaxation: "The afternoon passes pleasantly along, and last evening, as if specially ordered, the sunset was one of the most magnificent we have ever witnessed. About 6 o'clock, the dull leaden sky cleared and the most beautifully tinted sky was overhead.
"Some ladies were overheard to remark: 'What a pretty color that would be for a dress.' Gradually, the color deepened, and while northwards the sky was a deep red, in the east it was a beautiful cerulean blue. Again, far away towards the south, set in a darker cloud, appeared a space like a lake, of a pale blue, fringed with a bright, silvery shore."
First thing on Monday morning, the reporter availed himself of the Ocean House breakfast menu before heading back to the city "like a giant refreshed." The second year of the operation of the Ocean House saw the hotel's proprietors greatly expand the resort's recreational facilities. A new building, 100 feet long and two stories high, was built to the south of the original hotel building.
As described in the Spectator, the wooden structure was designed for recreational pursuits: "On the ground floor is a bowling alley, 65 feet long, also a billiard room for three tables, a retiring room and bar-room. On the second story is a ball room the full width of the building and 70 feet long, attached to which is a refreshment room and a ladies' dressing room.
"One of the chief objects in the construction of the new building is to withdraw from the hotel proper, the confusion attendant upon crowds of guests who visit the Beach for an afternoon merely, and thus leave it more quiet and retired for its permanent guests.'
Twenty years after its opening, the Ocean Hotel was a much different kind of place, as was the Beach Strip itself. As noted in the Herald, the Beach had changed from " the old-time lounging place," and had developed into " a Saratoga, and the rough and tumble style of the Bohemian out for a genuine holiday rest is giving place to the manners of fashionable folk who feel that they have a duty to perform to society and must dress for it three or four times a day."
IN JULY, 1895, Edward J. Howes, a member of the reportorial staff of a Temperance newspaper, the Templar, claimed to have seen flagrant infractions of liquor laws at the Ocean House on a Sunday afternoon.
When called by license inspector Macklem to present his charges in court, reporter Howes testified that he had gained access-to the bar by going through the bowling alley. In the bar he said he saw two bartenders busily serving drinks to between 20 and 25 men.
Under cross-examination the lawyer for the Hotelkeeper's association, Howes admitted that, as a temperance man, he could not exactly tell which "liquid poisons" were being consumed. Magistrate Jelfs decided that the onus rested on the prosecution to prove what was being sold contrary to the law. As this had not been done, the case against the Birely Brothers, Proprietors of the Ocean House were dismissed.
About 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 17,1895, the Ocean House was filled with guests and day excursionists who had come down to the Beach to watch a sailing regatta, sponsored by the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club in partnership with the Victoria Yacht Club. The hotel's dining room was resplendent with white linen, and glistening silver and glass placing and a fresh breeze carried strains of music through the open windows. ;
By six o'clock that same evening, the Ocean House would be nothing more than a pile of smoking ruins.
Ed Birely was standing in the bar-room of the hotel's annex when he noticed a thin cloud of smoke rising from the wooden sidewalk just outside the door. Birely told a Herald reporter that "one of the bartenders opened the cellar door, and such a gust of smoke and fire came dashing out that he was almost suffocated on the spot, but he managed to get away. One of the bartenders grabbed the cash register and made his escape as quickly as possible."
Within minutes the whole wooden annex, tinder dry because of lack of rain, was engulfed in roaring flames. Realising the hotel proper was in danger, hundreds of willing hands set about evacuating the clothing, furniture, and other goods belonging to the hotel and its guests.
ACCORDING to the Times report, the bayshore in the vicinity of the Ocean House resembled "the shore of Lake Michigan during the Chicago fire — on a small scale. All along the Beach there were piles of furniture and bedding of every known style; kitchen ware, crockery and glass ware, food of all kinds, clothing, trunks, and boxes " The hotel itself was soon aflame and beyond rescue.
Newport, the confectioner who had an ice cream parlor at the north end of the hotel told some of the volunteers that if they dragged out the cans of ice cream they could have the contents for free. For many, the free ice cream proved to be a counter attraction to the fire and the ice cream was quickly consumed.
Back in Hamilton, the Ocean House fire could be easily seen. According to the man from the Herald, "The spectacular effect was grand. Many people gazed at it from the tower of the City Hall and other vantage points. The bay and lake were dotted with yachts, and myriads of skiffs and rowboats were scattered over the waters." In commenting on the fiery end of the Ocean House, an editorial writer with the Times noted that "it has not been an easy time to make the old hotel pay, for the season of active operations is short, and the expenses are heavy. Hamilton people who lived at the Beach, found too little privacy at the Ocean House, which really did duty to a large extent as a railway station as well as a hotel, and most of them soon built or rented cottages."
The Ocean House would never be rebuilt as the nature of summer vacations at the Beach had changed with the times.

More;
http://1876inhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/05/may-2-1876.html

The Ocean House, courtesy HPL
Ocean House.jpg
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#80
Beach Strip the place with new hotel

Hamilton Spectator
July 20, 1985
J. Brian Henley
EARLY IN the month of February, 1875 the winter's stillness along the Beach Strip was disturbed as construction of a large and commodious pleasure hotel, to be called the Ocean House, began.
When the spring of 1875 arrived, the Spectator attempted to satisfy public interest in the new hotel by describing the plans for the facility in some detail The building would be two and a half stories high, containing 42 bedrooms, four parlor and sitting rooms, the usual offices and reading rooms, a dining room and a separate ballroom.
An update, the Spec historian Brian Henley writes that the Ocean House was built in 1875, attached is a newspaper advertisement stating that one year later the Ocean has been renovated and ready for guest in 1876,

Courtesy, Hamilton Public Library.

OceanHouse1.jpg


A slightly less dated picture, courtesy HPL
ocean119a.jpg

One more from the canal, Ocean House in the background. (Spectator)
Specollection.jpg
 
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