The inn that’s never out

scotto

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Posted with permission from the Hamilton Spectator
_________________________________________________

Feb 15, 2012

Brant Inn


By Jeff Mahoney

Walking out onto the sloping grounds of Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, at its far western reaches, I ask Stewart Brown where the old place used to stand, expecting him to point into the distance, where the lake meets the shore.

I know the Brant Inn looked out over the water, one of its countless charms.

But Stew answers, “Right about here.”

Standing beside the recently installed Brant Inn plaque, we’re still a ways yet from the beach.

What gives?

“That’s all landfill,” he explains, referring to the considerable tracts of park, field and breakwater that now drop away from Lakeshore Road to the south.

If we’d been standing in the same spot 74 years ago, we might’ve heard the sounds of Benny Goodman floating over our heads (Benny pulled in a fat two thou for that gig) or watched as young Doc and Dick Washington fell out of a tree and into the Brant Inn’s outdoor Sky Club.

The branch broke. They couldn’t get in to see Goodman because they were black.

Such different times. Yet, when you stand where it was, by the stately plaque that recalls details of its colourful history, you can still feel the ripples of that not-so-distant past. Like the place, the time was not as far away as it may seem.

It’ll feel very close on May 12, when a group of Brant Inn enthusiasts puts on a concert to commemorate the legendary lakeshore nightclub.

The concert was Bert Allen’s idea. Stew Brown got right behind it. Stew’s the former Spectator writer, drummer and Brant Inn champion who wrote Brant Inn Memories, a richly evocative chronicle (from which the tree story comes), covering its heyday from the 1920s to the 1960s — Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Sophie Tucker, Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Guy Lombardo, even Jayne Mansfield. Everyone but Sinatra.

But where do you find a band these days, a 20-plus-piece ensemble, to re-create the incredible swing music of those times and that place?

Russ Weil’s renowned Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, all teens and 20-somethings, is champing to get their embouchures around this timelessly robust material. A perfect joining of generations.

I got together recently with Russ, Bert and Stew, as well as Ken Davy from the Burlington Historical Society. The society sponsored the plaque, installed in November, as well as Stew’s 2008 book and video.

You could feel their excitement. A chance to relive the inn. Russ, director of the jazz band, is already poring over musical choices.

“We want a repertoire that defines the inn,” he says. “But it has to be more than a concert.”

There’s also the lore. Stew is ringmaster of the circus of memory that still swirls around the place.

His father, Gordon Brown, was reed man for the Gav Morton Orchestra, house band at the inn for years, and so the place is tangled up with Stew’s personal heritage. When he was a boy, his family vacationed in the old housekeeping cabins (you had to clean up before the next renters moved in) on Lakeshore Road by the inn.

“Interspersed with the songs, there’ll be pictures and memories on the screen,” says Stew.

For a touch of historical fidelity, they’ve lined up TV/radio personality Alex Reynolds as host. He introduced acts, Stan Kenton among them, for the CBC’s weekly national broadcasts from Brant Inn back in the day.

The organizing group is asking you for memories (we’ll print some in this column) to be highlighted during the concert, orally and on screen, and they’re also looking for local musicians who played at the Brant Inn.

The Brant Inn concert happens Saturday, May 12, 7:30 p.m., at Redeemer University College, 777 Garner Rd. E., in Ancaster.

To submit memories (and please do) or make inquiries, email Russ Weil at businessmanager@hamiltonallstarjazz.org. It promises to be a soaring, sentimental show.

jmahoney@thespec.com
 

scotto

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Scott, was the Brant Inn, located to the east or west of the railroad tracks?
The Brant Inn was east of the tracks, located on the shore of the lake.

Collection's Canada (taken Oct. 24th 1927);
BrantInn4.jpg


Old Post Cards;
BrantInn3.jpg


BrantInn2.jpg


PC133.jpg


Edit;
I have added another picture of the Brant Inn from 1927;
BrantInn.jpg

Courtesy Burlington Archives.

BrantInnaerial934.jpg


Courtesy Burlington Archives.
 

scotto

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David has asked for built date for the Brant Inn, I have gone through many of the books on the subject and a clear date doesn't come up.
I have attached some parts of few books on the subject, however it is difficult to separate the history writings of the Brant Hotel and the Brant Inn, so I have added both here;

COLEMAN, A.B.
From; Burlington, The Growing Years by Dorothy Turcotte
(condensed, unrelated history skipped)
Alfred B. Coleman was born in Woolwich, England in 1865, and came to Canada with his parents when he was still a boy. The family settled first in Hamilton, then came to Burlington.
In 1899, he purchased the Brant House property and built a huge modern hotel on the site. This was called the Brant Hotel, and immediately became the holiday resort of choice for many Canadians and Americans. Steamers came from Hamilton to dock in front of the hotel in Brant's Pond, bringing crowds of guests for picnics and day trips.

As soon as the hotel was completed, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. was involved in several major building projects. In 1909, the family moved back to Burlington, taking up residence in the Annex, a building next to the hotel which had been built around the original Brant home. Around this time, Coleman purchased a small piece of property across the road on the lakefront and built a wooden building which he called his "country club" This was meant as a place for men folk to gather to drink, smoke, play cards or billiards and otherwise socialize.
Meanwhile, A.B. began to develop the nearby Indian Point property at the mouth of Waghuata Creek, as the Indians called it, or Indian Creek as' we know it now First he made the Point accessible by building a road and a footbridge, then he laid out a six-hole golf course. Next he built several large bungalows which he rented to wealthy patrons. This later became an exclusive residential district, with attractive stone gates at each of the two entrances. However, A.B. retained ownership of the houses until his death in 1939. At that time, the estate sold the homes and gave the roads to the town of Burlington. For a long time, the streets were unnamed, but in 1951 members of the Coleman family chose names such as Algonquin, Iroquois, Indian and Mohawk for the streets.
When the federal government expropriated the Brant Hotel as a military hospital in 1917, Coleman turned his attention to his "country club" He expanded it into a first class hotel with fine dining and dancing. While Coleman was always interested in building, he was not interested in management. The Brant Hotel had always been managed by others; so was the Brant Inn. In 1937, the managers were Murray Anderson and Clifford Kendall. When A.B. Coleman died in 1938, this team purchased the Brant Inn and turned it into one of the most famous night spots in North America.
 

scotto

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From;
Remember The Brant Inn
By Dorothy Turcotte
In 1892, the Brant House property was sold to A.B Coleman, a well-known local builder. An item in the Hamilton Spectator on July 28th of that year read "Since Proprietor Coleman took possession, the house has been rebuilt and refurbished, the grounds newly laid out, pavillions and cottages erected, and other improvements made."
Coleman was a long-time resident of Burlington. In 1887 he built the red brick house at 470 Nelson Avenue, and in 1893, he constructed and moved to the unusual "Gingerbread House" at 1375 Ontario Street. He was a man with a heart full of dreams, and when he took over the Brant complex, it underwent a transformation.
Early in 1900, workmen were busy building an entirely new hotel on the Brant property, next to the original house. Bricks were brought across the ice on the Bay from the brickyard in Hamilton to construct a four-storey building that would accommodate 300 guests in pampered luxury. According to initial advertising, the hotel was fire-proof, with elevator, electric lights, hot air furnaces, bells for summoning service people and plumbing that "is open, sanitary and modern." Room rates began at $2.50 a day.
The dining room was a magnificent salon with beamed ceiling and verandahs on either side. Gardens on the premises provided fresh fruit and vegetables for the menu.
The huge ballroom featured a fine hardwood floor that was excellent for dancing. Orchestras were engaged to play for regular dancing and concerts.
From the ballroom, hotel guests could saunter onto the famous Roof Garden to view Lake Ontario, Burlington Bay, and the escarp¬ment rising to the north. From time to time, the Roof Garden was also the location for vaudeville acts and other performances. During the hotel's opening week, for example, the Roof Garden featured the Flammere Sisters who were billed as character change artists, Zartini, the juggler; and Alf Holt, "the Human Mockingbird."
Monday, July 2nd, 1900 was Opening Day at the new Brant Hotel. The building was open to the public who came in crowds to have a look. All were amazed that Mr Coleman (almost always referred to as A.B.) could have created such a marvellous hotel in such a short time. He had plenty of help from his family. His brother James was a carpenter, while C.F. was a painter, so creation of the building was a family affair. C.F Coleman was also well-known in Burlington for he was one of its first mayors, and had one of the first telephones. His number was 5. The Coleman children used to chuckle because the number of the railway station was 222.
Although A.B. was a master at planning and creating buildings, he was not interested in running the hotel himself. He hired the team of Wachenhusen and Boggs as managers.
Soon after the completion of the hotel, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. took on more large construction. Meanwhile, the Hotel Brant could not help but succeed. Strate¬gically located, it offered recreational facilities that both Canadians and Americans were coming to appreciate in the new century. Furthermore, it was much more accessible than the Muskokas and other Ontario resort areas.
An advertising brochure of the time provides a map showing how easily the Brant Hotel could be reached from places like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The elite did come from these far places, for the hotel register contained signatures of members of the Mellon and Dupont families, as well as celebrities such as William Jennings Bryan. Unfortunately, the register was lost many years ago in a fire at Indian Point.
At the time, no accessible resort surpassed the Brant Hotel.
The Coleman family returned to live in the original Brant House in 1909 At this time, A.B. began to expand his Burlington complex by putting a six-hole golf course on Indian Point which was separated from the rest of the property by Big Gut, as the mouth of Indian Creek was called. The golf course was reached by a foot bridge.
Twenty-five Tudor-style bungalows were also built on the Point and offered for rent by the season. These comfortable houses each contained from five to 12 rooms. They were equipped with fireplaces and all modern conveniences for the use of family groups. Bungalows rented for from $100 to $500 which included electricity, hot water, ice and janitor services. Bungalow guests could provide their own meals, or could arrange to have them at the hotel. For those who chose to "eat in", supplies were delivered to the door each day.
In 1910, the hotel itself underwent changes. Hot and cold running water and telephones were installed in every room, and the entire building was redecorated. At this time, furnaces were installed to provide steam heat so that the previously seasonal hotel would operate all year. A little track ran from the back entrance of the hotel to the railway station across the road. When guests got off the train, their luggage was loaded onto little cars which took it to the hotel so that it could be waiting when they reached their rooms.
At the Brant Hotel, the guest was unquestionably treated like royalty.

Sometime during this period, A.B. Coleman had another idea. It was to build a second building on the waterfront across from the Brant Hotel. He called this new project his "country club" There are two different stories about why this came about. One is that he wanted to serve liquor at the hotel, but Wentworth County was "dry" The triangular piece of land across the road was in Halton County which was "wet", so there were no such restrictions on an establishment there. Coleman's son, Brant, says that wine was always available in the hotel dining room, but the Country Club was meant as a place where men could do their hard drinking, away from the tender company of the ladies. At any rate, Coleman got the land for $50.
The new wooden building was erected to provide bowling, billiards, a smoking room, a card room, lockers, boating, fishing and swimming. Although women were not barred, they were not en couraged to frequent the place, either. The Country Club was basically a masculine preserve.
From street level, the wooden building looked much like a residence with its wide verandah and Victorian gables. However, a large lower level provided access directly to the waterfront. In the early years, an ice cream parlour was built onto the north end of the Country Club. This was operated by Ernie Jarrett who had previously managed the concessions at the Canal, and who later moved on to operate Wabasso Park.
Life was indeed wonderful at the Brant Hotel. Even the advent of World War One did not dampen holidayers' enthusiasm much. However, the bubble burst on July 17th, 1917 when Mr. Coleman was notified that the federal government was going to take over the hotel for use as a veterans' hospital. The news came as an unpleasant shock, especially since the notification stated that the hotel would have to close for good on July 31st, a scant two weeks' away.
Hundreds of guests who had bookings for the rest of the season had to be notified that their reservations were cancelled.
A.B. Coleman immediately started legal action against the government, asking $500,000 for his fine building and property. The suit dragged on until 1926 when he was awarded $159,000.
When the government took over the hotel, many changes were made. The famous resort was transformed into the Brant Military Hospital. The spacious verandahs were boarded up and converted into extra rooms. Most of the time, the ballroom was empty, sadly echoing the gaiety of the past, but from time to time entertainers were brought in to perform for the patients.
In 1923, the government suddenly announced that the hospital was no longer needed. This was also a surprise, for the government had recently boasted that the Brant Military Hospital was the most economically operated of such institutions in Canada. Those patients remaining were transferred to Christie Street Hospital in Toronto. This decision was just as unpopular as the one which created the hospital, for most of the patients had family in Hamilton or the surrounding area. Having to travel to Toronto for visits would be a hardship for them after the convenience of the Brant location.
When the old hotel was vacated A.B. Coleman simply didn't have the heart to revive it. The good old days were gone forever, and there seemed to be no point in trying to re-create themThe Brant House stood vacant.
Inevitably, the building deteriorated. The fine hardwood floors rotted. Vandals set fires. The cost of bringing the building back to life escalated. On February 1st, 1937, the disillusioned old building kept a date with the wrecker's ball.
With the hotel gone from his life, A.B. Coleman began to improve on the Country Club which he renamed the Brant Inn. The building was promptly remodeled to provide fine dining and dancing as well as rooms for overnight guests. The exterior of the building was attractively finished in brown shingles and stone.
In 1925, the original wooden building was destroyed by fire. A newspaper report said that the fire was caused by defective wiring in the ceiling of the ballroom, although some believed it was ignited by a cinder from one of the coal-burning trains that ran by the door. The fire was so intense that canoes pulled up on the shore caught fire. Traffic was tied up for hours. Not an easily discouraged man, A.B. Coleman was quick to start rebuilding. He first built a large Dutch barn-style building which he called the Annex. This served as the dining room, and later was joined by a short walkway to the large brick building that contained the lobby, hotel rooms and a dance floor called the Indian Room.
In the late 20s and early 30s, when Brant Coleman, A.B’s son, was still a very young man, he took on managerial duties for his father.
 

scotto

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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.
In 1899, Coleman bought what had been the immediate Joseph Brant land and built a four-storey luxury hotel for $100,000, which opened in July of 1902. The Brant Hotel could accommodate 300 guests. It had electric lights, a wrought-iron elevator, hot air and hot water heating, private and public bathrooms, an 8,000-square-foot dining room, and a rooftop garden offering vaudeville entertainments with a 12-piece orchestra that also gave band concerts on the grounds. The daily rate was $2.50 and up. The previous resort, the Brant House, was retained as an annex to the new hotel.
There was one catch: the Brant Hotel was in Wentworth County, which was dry. Meanwhile, Halton County a stone's throw away on the Lake Ontario waterfront - was wet. So A. B. Coleman built his Country Club, an essentially-male sanctuary where guests from the hotel could go to drink liquor, smoke, play cards and billiards, swim, fish and go boating. It was this Country Club that would eventually develop into the Brant Inn.
After he built the Brant Hotel, leaving others to manage it, Coleman centred his business ventures in but he retained ownership of the Brant Hotel and, after a few years in Toronto, returned with his family in 1909 to live in Burlington.
In July, 1917, the federal government told Coleman it was going to expropriate the Brant Hotel for a veterans' hospital to care for wounded Canadian soldiers returning from the First World War.
The Brant Military Hospital operated for six years then closed in 1923, moving the remaining patients to Christie Street Hospital in Toronto. Coleman sought $500,000 for his building and property; his lawsuit against the government was finally settled in 1926 for $159,000. The building basically sat empty and deteriorated to the point that it was torn down by wreckers in 1937.
Meanwhile, Coleman concentrated on developing the Country Club, which he renamed the Brant Inn. He added dining and dancing halls and rooms for overnight guests, renting the facilities to others to operate.
"Dad never ran anything," son Brant Coleman told the Burlington Post more recently. "He just owned it and told people what to do. He ran people, not things."
Then, on June 9, 1925, the Brant Inn, a frame building, was destroyed by an afternoon fire. Defective wiring, sparks from a passing train and children setting a bonfire were conjectured as causes; authorities favoured the wiring theory since the blaze began between the ceiling of the ballroom and the floor above. Burlington firemen were twice called away from the blaze to deal with residential fires - started by flying embers from the Brant Inn - in other parts of town.
Undaunted, A.B. Coleman rebuilt the Brant Inn, with a main brick building to the west, housing the lobby, rooms and indoor dance hall, known as the Indian Room. A walkway joined this building to a new annex on the east side, which included a dining room and staff quarters beneath a barn-like gambrel roof. The rebuilt Brant opened in 1927.
(Stewart Brown's book, Brant Inn Memories and many more like it, can be purchased at the Different Drummer book store in Burlington;
http://www.differentdrummerbooks.ca/Home.html )
Photo by Alan Harrington
Harrington.jpg
 

David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
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#9
scotto
05-14-2014, 12:36 PM
From; Brant Inn Memories by Stewart Brown
(Joseph) Brant's home and lifestyle reflected both his native upbringing and his admiration for things English. He maintained liveried black servants and fine appointments, yet continued to dress in a mixture of native garb and British apparel. From there, he advised and counseled both natives and white governments. It was a relatively peaceful, comfortable retirement, cut short when he died on Nov. 24, 1807.
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.
In 1899, Coleman bought what had been the immediate Joseph Brant land and built a four-storey luxury hotel for $100,000, which opened in July of 1902. The Brant Hotel could accommodate 300 guests. It had electric lights, a wrought-iron elevator, hot air and hot water heating, private and public bathrooms, an 8,000-square-foot dining room, and a rooftop garden offering vaudeville entertainments with a 12-piece orchestra that also gave band concerts on the grounds. The daily rate was $2.50 and up. The previous resort, the Brant House, was retained as an annex to the new hotel....

Scott, do you know what is meant by 'bathing machines'? and in regards to the Brant Hotel, were there any buildings in Hamilton in 1902 that had elevators?
 

scotto

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#10
From Wikipedia,
The proper 1902 woman should not be seen on the beach in her bathing suit — the purchaser of this stereopticon slide likely found it of voyeuristic interest.
The bathing machine was a device, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, to allow people to change out of their usual clothes, possibly change into swimwear and then wade in the ocean at beaches. Bathing machines were roofed and walled wooden carts rolled into the sea. Some had solid wooden walls; others had canvas walls over a wooden frame.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing_machine

I don't know if there was a building tall enough to need an elevator back in 1900, The Royal Connaught Hotel wasn't built until1914.
 

scotto

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Scott, do you have the names of the architects of the Brant Hotel and the Brant Inn? And anything on the cost of the construction of each?
From above;
Coleman bought what had been the immediate Joseph Brant land and built a four-storey luxury hotel for $100,000, which opened in July of 1902

I don't know if A.B. Coleman used an architect as it seems he was an accomplished builder and knew his trade. He also built the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall, buildings at the CNE, Shea's Hippodrome, Fort Erie Race Track and the Westminster Hospital in London.
 

David O'Reilly

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#14
scotto
04-15-2014, 03:59 PM
Posted with permission from the Hamilton Spectator
_________________________________________________

Feb 15, 2012

Brant Inn


By Jeff Mahoney

Walking out onto the sloping grounds of Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, at its far western reaches, I ask Stewart Brown where the old place used to stand, expecting him to point into the distance, where the lake meets the shore.

I know the Brant Inn looked out over the water, one of its countless charms.

But Stew answers, "Right about here."

Standing beside the recently installed Brant Inn plaque, we're still a ways yet from the beach.

What gives?

"That's all landfill," he explains, referring to the considerable tracts of park, field and breakwater that now drop away from Lakeshore Road to the south.

If we'd been standing in the same spot 74 years ago, we might've heard the sounds of Benny Goodman floating over our heads (Benny pulled in a fat two thou for that gig) or watched as young Doc and Dick Washington fell out of a tree and into the Brant Inn's outdoor Sky Club.

The branch broke. They couldn't get in to see Goodman because they were black.

Such different times. Yet, when you stand where it was, by the stately plaque that recalls details of its colourful history, you can still feel the ripples of that not-so-distant past. Like the place, the time was not as far away as it may seem.

It'll feel very close on May 12, when a group of Brant Inn enthusiasts puts on a concert to commemorate the legendary lakeshore nightclub.

The concert was Bert Allen's idea. Stew Brown got right behind it. Stew's the former Spectator writer, drummer and Brant Inn champion who wrote Brant Inn Memories, a richly evocative chronicle (from which the tree story comes), covering its heyday from the 1920s to the 1960s - Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Sophie Tucker, Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Guy Lombardo, even Jayne Mansfield. Everyone but Sinatra.

But where do you find a band these days, a 20-plus-piece ensemble, to re-create the incredible swing music of those times and that place?

Russ Weil's renowned Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, all teens and 20-somethings, is champing to get their embouchures around this timelessly robust material. A perfect joining of generations.

I got together recently with Russ, Bert and Stew, as well as Ken Davy from the Burlington Historical Society. The society sponsored the plaque, installed in November, as well as Stew's 2008 book and video.

You could feel their excitement. A chance to relive the inn. Russ, director of the jazz band, is already poring over musical choices.

"We want a repertoire that defines the inn," he says. "But it has to be more than a concert."

There's also the lore. Stew is ringmaster of the circus of memory that still swirls around the place.

His father, Gordon Brown, was reed man for the Gav Morton Orchestra, house band at the inn for years, and so the place is tangled up with Stew's personal heritage. When he was a boy, his family vacationed in the old housekeeping cabins (you had to clean up before the next renters moved in) on Lakeshore Road by the inn.

"Interspersed with the songs, there'll be pictures and memories on the screen," says Stew.

For a touch of historical fidelity, they've lined up TV/radio personality Alex Reynolds as host. He introduced acts, Stan Kenton among them, for the CBC's weekly national broadcasts from Brant Inn back in the day.

The organizing group is asking you for memories (we'll print some in this column) to be highlighted during the concert, orally and on screen, and they're also looking for local musicians who played at the Brant Inn.

The Brant Inn concert happens Saturday, May 12, 7:30 p.m., at Redeemer University College, 777 Garner Rd. E., in Ancaster.

To submit memories (and please do) or make inquiries, email Russ Weil at businessmanager@hamiltonallstarjazz.org. It promises to be a soaring, sentimental show.

jmahoney@thespec.com

The big band conserts at the Brant Inn were broadcast over the CBC for fourty years.
http://www.hamiltonnews.com/uncategorized/jazz-band-salutes-big-band-era/



________________________________________
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
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#16
Brant Inn


By Jeff Mahoney

Walking out onto the sloping grounds of Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, at its far western reaches, I ask Stewart Brown where the old place used to stand, expecting him to point into the distance, where the lake meets the shore.

I know the Brant Inn looked out over the water, one of its countless charms.

But Stew answers, "Right about here."

Standing beside the recently installed Brant Inn plaque, we're still a ways yet from the beach.

What gives?

"That's all landfill," he explains, referring to the considerable tracts of park, field and breakwater that now drop away from Lakeshore Road to the south."...

Scott, there are several threads that allude to various locations on the beach, where land fill has taken place. 'Brant's Pond' is one, but there are others.

"Attached are a few pictures (one is a painting) of Brant's Pond or Inlet which was located south of Joseph Brant Hospital on the harbour side. Thanks to member Drogo :hail:for the pictures and a little insight into that era (1902)

When these oldies were sent in I asked what the strip of land on the left was in photo#1?



Well you can see Indian Point on the right and it appears the water was fairly shallow and there was land coming in from the left as well. As Indian Point no longer sticks out that far I would guess that it was filled in almost to that point and the inlet that was made with the land from the left. If you look at the width of the Beach Strip at the Brant end you will see that it would have required lots of land filled in to end up with enough to put the road dept. and water ponds behind JB Hospital and have enough to build two bridges and service roads.

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1111.html

would you consider starting a thread documenting these projects, with information on when and why they took place?
 

David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
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#17
scotto
05-14-2014, 12:33 PM
From;
Remember The Brant Inn
By Dorothy Turcotte
“In 1892, the Brant House property was sold to A.B Coleman, a well-known local builder. An item in the Hamilton Spectator on July 28th of that year read "Since Proprietor Coleman took possession, the house has been rebuilt and refurbished, the grounds newly laid out, pavillions and cottages erected, and other improvements made."
Coleman was a long-time resident of Burlington. In 1887 he built the red brick house at 470 Nelson Avenue, and in 1893, he constructed and moved to the unusual "Gingerbread House" at 1375 Ontario Street. He was a man with a heart full of dreams, and when he took over the Brant complex, it underwent a transformation.
Early in 1900, workmen were busy building an entirely new hotel on the Brant property, next to the original house. Bricks were brought across the ice on the Bay from the brickyard in Hamilton to construct a four-storey building that would accommodate 300 guests in pampered luxury. According to initial advertising, the hotel was fire-proof, with elevator, electric lights, hot air furnaces, bells for summoning service people and plumbing that "is open, sanitary and modern." Room rates began at $2.50 a day.
The dining room was a magnificent salon with beamed ceiling and verandahs on either side. Gardens on the premises provided fresh fruit and vegetables for the menu.
The huge ballroom featured a fine hardwood floor that was excellent for dancing. Orchestras were engaged to play for regular dancing and concerts.
From the ballroom, hotel guests could saunter onto the famous Roof Garden to view Lake Ontario, Burlington Bay, and the escarp¬ment rising to the north. From time to time, the Roof Garden was also the location for vaudeville acts and other performances. During the hotel's opening week, for example, the Roof Garden featured the Flammere Sisters who were billed as character change artists, Zartini, the juggler; and Alf Holt, "the Human Mockingbird."
Monday, July 2nd, 1900 was Opening Day at the new Brant Hotel. The building was open to the public who came in crowds to have a look. All were amazed that Mr Coleman (almost always referred to as A.B.) could have created such a marvellous hotel in such a short time. He had plenty of help from his family. His brother James was a carpenter, while C.F. was a painter, so creation of the building was a family affair. C.F Coleman was also well-known in Burlington for he was one of its first mayors, and had one of the first telephones. His number was 5. The Coleman children used to chuckle because the number of the railway station was 222.
Although A.B. was a master at planning and creating buildings, he was not interested in running the hotel himself. He hired the team of Wachenhusen and Boggs as managers.
Soon after the completion of the hotel, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. took on more large construction. Meanwhile, the Hotel Brant could not help but succeed. Strate¬gically located, it offered recreational facilities that both Canadians and Americans were coming to appreciate in the new century. Furthermore, it was much more accessible than the Muskokas and other Ontario resort areas.
An advertising brochure of the time provides a map showing how easily the Brant Hotel could be reached from places like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The elite did come from these far places, for the hotel register contained signatures of members of the Mellon and Dupont families, as well as celebrities such as William Jennings Bryan. Unfortunately, the register was lost many years ago in a fire at Indian Point.
At the time, no accessible resort surpassed the Brant Hotel.
The Coleman family returned to live in the original Brant House in 1909 At this time, A.B. began to expand his Burlington complex by putting a six-hole golf course on Indian Point which was separated from the rest of the property by Big Gut, as the mouth of Indian Creek was called. The golf course was reached by a foot bridge.
Twenty-five Tudor-style bungalows were also built on the Point and offered for rent by the season. These comfortable houses each contained from five to 12 rooms. They were equipped with fireplaces and all modern conveniences for the use of family groups. Bungalows rented for from $100 to $500 which included electricity, hot water, ice and janitor services. Bungalow guests could provide their own meals, or could arrange to have them at the hotel. For those who chose to "eat in", supplies were delivered to the door each day.
In 1910, the hotel itself underwent changes. Hot and cold running water and telephones were installed in every room, and the entire building was redecorated. At this time, furnaces were installed to provide steam heat so that the previously seasonal hotel would operate all year. A little track ran from the back entrance of the hotel to the railway station across the road. When guests got off the train, their luggage was loaded onto little cars which took it to the hotel so that it could be waiting when they reached their rooms.
At the Brant Hotel, the guest was unquestionably treated like royalty.

Sometime during this period, A.B. Coleman had another idea. It was to build a second building on the waterfront across from the Brant Hotel. He called this new project his "country club" There are two different stories about why this came about. One is that he wanted to serve liquor at the hotel, but Wentworth County was "dry" The triangular piece of land across the road was in Halton County which was "wet", so there were no such restrictions on an establishment there. Coleman's son, Brant, says that wine was always available in the hotel dining room, but the Country Club was meant as a place where men could do their hard drinking, away from the tender company of the ladies.”

This allusion to the county line between Halton and Wentworth running down the centre of the beach is verry troubling. This page seems to suggest the line ran across the beach.

“construction of the Burlington Bay Skyway Bridge (Figure 7) prompted a reconsideration of the way in which the beach was governed, and led, finally, to the annexation in 1957 by Hamilton of the beach community south of the Halton county line.”

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/"The+...inst+Them:"+Class,+Environment,...-a081762577

and, the author says, “Sometime during this period, A.B. Coleman had another idea. It was to build a second building on the waterfront across from the Brant Hotel. He called this new project his "country club" There are two different stories about why this came about. One is that he wanted to serve liquor at the hotel, but Wentworth County was "dry" The triangular piece of land across the road was in Halton County which was "wet", so there were no such restrictions on an establishment there.”

But there is nothing said about the second story.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#18
scotto
05-14-2014, 12:33 PM
From;
Remember The Brant Inn
By Dorothy Turcotte
In 1892, the Brant House property was sold to A.B Coleman, a well-known local builder. An item in the Hamilton Spectator on July 28th of that year read "Since Proprietor Coleman took possession, the house has been rebuilt and refurbished, the grounds newly laid out, pavillions and cottages erected, and other improvements made."
Coleman was a long-time resident of Burlington. In 1887 he built the red brick house at 470 Nelson Avenue, and in 1893, he constructed and moved to the unusual "Gingerbread House" at 1375 Ontario Street. He was a man with a heart full of dreams, and when he took over the Brant complex, it underwent a transformation.
Early in 1900, workmen were busy building an entirely new hotel on the Brant property, next to the original house. Bricks were brought across the ice on the Bay from the brickyard in Hamilton to construct a four-storey building that would accommodate 300 guests in pampered luxury. According to initial advertising, the hotel was fire-proof, with elevator, electric lights, hot air furnaces, bells for summoning service people and plumbing that "is open, sanitary and modern." Room rates began at $2.50 a day.
The dining room was a magnificent salon with beamed ceiling and verandahs on either side. Gardens on the premises provided fresh fruit and vegetables for the menu.
The huge ballroom featured a fine hardwood floor that was excellent for dancing. Orchestras were engaged to play for regular dancing and concerts.
From the ballroom, hotel guests could saunter onto the famous Roof Garden to view Lake Ontario, Burlington Bay, and the escarp¬ment rising to the north. From time to time, the Roof Garden was also the location for vaudeville acts and other performances. During the hotel's opening week, for example, the Roof Garden featured the Flammere Sisters who were billed as character change artists, Zartini, the juggler; and Alf Holt, "the Human Mockingbird."
Monday, July 2nd, 1900 was Opening Day at the new Brant Hotel. The building was open to the public who came in crowds to have a look. All were amazed that Mr Coleman (almost always referred to as A.B.) could have created such a marvellous hotel in such a short time. He had plenty of help from his family. His brother James was a carpenter, while C.F. was a painter, so creation of the building was a family affair. C.F Coleman was also well-known in Burlington for he was one of its first mayors, and had one of the first telephones. His number was 5. The Coleman children used to chuckle because the number of the railway station was 222.
Although A.B. was a master at planning and creating buildings, he was not interested in running the hotel himself. He hired the team of Wachenhusen and Boggs as managers.
Soon after the completion of the hotel, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. took on more large construction. Meanwhile, the Hotel Brant could not help but succeed. Strate¬gically located, it offered recreational facilities that both Canadians and Americans were coming to appreciate in the new century. Furthermore, it was much more accessible than the Muskokas and other Ontario resort areas.
An advertising brochure of the time provides a map showing how easily the Brant Hotel could be reached from places like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The elite did come from these far places, for the hotel register contained signatures of members of the Mellon and Dupont families, as well as celebrities such as William Jennings Bryan. Unfortunately, the register was lost many years ago in a fire at Indian Point.
At the time, no accessible resort surpassed the Brant Hotel.
The Coleman family returned to live in the original Brant House in 1909 At this time, A.B. began to expand his Burlington complex by putting a six-hole golf course on Indian Point which was separated from the rest of the property by Big Gut, as the mouth of Indian Creek was called. The golf course was reached by a foot bridge.
Twenty-five Tudor-style bungalows were also built on the Point and offered for rent by the season. These comfortable houses each contained from five to 12 rooms. They were equipped with fireplaces and all modern conveniences for the use of family groups. Bungalows rented for from $100 to $500 which included electricity, hot water, ice and janitor services. Bungalow guests could provide their own meals, or could arrange to have them at the hotel. For those who chose to "eat in", supplies were delivered to the door each day.
In 1910, the hotel itself underwent changes. Hot and cold running water and telephones were installed in every room, and the entire building was redecorated. At this time, furnaces were installed to provide steam heat so that the previously seasonal hotel would operate all year. A little track ran from the back entrance of the hotel to the railway station across the road. When guests got off the train, their luggage was loaded onto little cars which took it to the hotel so that it could be waiting when they reached their rooms.
At the Brant Hotel, the guest was unquestionably treated like royalty.

Sometime during this period, A.B. Coleman had another idea. It was to build a second building on the waterfront across from the Brant Hotel. He called this new project his "country club" There are two different stories about why this came about. One is that he wanted to serve liquor at the hotel, but Wentworth County was "dry" The triangular piece of land across the road was in Halton County which was "wet", so there were no such restrictions on an establishment there. Coleman's son, Brant, says that wine was always available in the hotel dining room, but the Country Club was meant as a place where men could do their hard drinking, away from the tender company of the ladies.

But Scott’s post in the ‘Hotel Brant’ thread consisting of a 1877 Globe News Paper article, seems to indicate that Wentworth County, wasn’t dry.
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1771.html

““Returning to the Brant House, we find that the proprietor has provided, along the waterfront of about a quarter of a mile, swimming for the children, tables and benches under trees for picnic parties, and a large marquee, 60 by 30 feet, for dancing, which are provided to excursionists free of charge. Along the beach are row-boats, yachts, and bathing machines. In the house are provided temperance drinks, tea, coffee and ices for excursionists, About 50 yards from the house are the bar, billiard room, and a double bowling alley.”

So I wonder if origenally, Wentworth County wasn’t dry, but by the time A.B. Coleman bought the Brant House in 1902, the law had changed.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#19
scotto
05-14-2014, 01:26 PM
David has asked for built date for the Brant Inn, I have gone through many of the books on the subject and a clear date doesn't come up.
I have attached some parts of few books on the subject, however it is difficult to separate the history writings of the Brant Hotel and the Brant Inn, so I have added both here;

COLEMAN, A.B.
From; Burlington, The Growing Years by Dorothy Turcotte
(condensed, unrelated history skipped)
Alfred B. Coleman was born in Woolwich, England in 1865, and came to Canada with his parents when he was still a boy. The family settled first in Hamilton, then came to Burlington.
In 1899, he purchased the Brant House property and built a huge modern hotel on the site. This was called the Brant Hotel, and immediately became the holiday resort of choice for many Canadians and Americans. Steamers came from Hamilton to dock in front of the hotel in Brant's Pond, bringing crowds of guests for picnics and day trips.

As soon as the hotel was completed, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. was involved in several major building projects. In 1909, the family moved back to Burlington, taking up residence in the Annex, a building next to the hotel which had been built around the original Brant home. Around this time, Coleman purchased a small piece of property across the road on the lakefront and built a wooden building which he called his "country club" This was meant as a place for men folk to gather to drink, smoke, play cards or billiards and otherwise socialize.
Meanwhile, A.B. began to develop the nearby Indian Point property at the mouth of Waghuata Creek, as the Indians called it, or Indian Creek as' we know it now First he made the Point accessible by building a road and a footbridge, then he laid out a six-hole golf course. Next he built several large bungalows which he rented to wealthy patrons. This later became an exclusive residential district, with attractive stone gates at each of the two entrances. However, A.B. retained ownership of the houses until his death in 1939. At that time, the estate sold the homes and gave the roads to the town of Burlington. For a long time, the streets were unnamed, but in 1951 members of the Coleman family chose names such as Algonquin, Iroquois, Indian and Mohawk for the streets.
When the federal government expropriated the Brant Hotel as a military hospital in 1917, Coleman turned his attention to his "country club" He expanded it into a first class hotel with fine dining and dancing. While Coleman was always interested in building, he was not interested in management. The Brant Hotel had always been managed by others; so was the Brant Inn. In 1937, the managers were Murray Anderson and Clifford Kendall. When A.B. Coleman died in 1938, this team purchased the Brant Inn and turned it into one of the most famous night spots in North America.”

Scott,

The reference to ‘Indian Point property’ caught my attention. Was this on the east side of the beach where Coleman was building what would become the Brant Inn, or on the west side, where the Brant Hotel was located? Because the Brant’s Pond thread, refers to a ‘Indian Point’.

“scotto
10-04-2007, 02:55 AM
Attached are a few pictures (one is a painting) of Brant's Pond or Inlet which was located south of Joseph Brant Hospital on the harbour side. Thanks to member Drogo :hail:for the pictures and a little insight into that era (1902)

When these oldies were sent in I asked what the strip of land on the left was in photo#1?




Well you can see Indian Point on the right and it appears the water was fairly shallow and there was land coming in from the left as well. As Indian Point no longer sticks out that far I would guess that it was filled in almost to that point and the inlet that was made with the land from the left. If you look at the width of the Beach Strip at the Brant end you will see that it would have required lots of land filled in to end up with enough to put the road dept. and water ponds behind JB Hospital and have enough to build two bridges and service roads.


They were from about 1902. Don't have exact dates.
When I was copying Corey information from Thompson Diaries at JB Museum there was a reference made by Thompson about two of the Coreys catching a large number of fish in one day in Brant's Pond.

Thanks again to Drogo!”

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1111.html

________________________________________



________________________________________
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
482
4
18
#20
scotto
05-14-2014, 01:33 PM
From;
Remember The Brant Inn
By Dorothy Turcotte
In 1892, the Brant House property was sold to A.B Coleman, a well-known local builder. An item in the Hamilton Spectator on July 28th of that year read "Since Proprietor Coleman took possession, the house has been rebuilt and refurbished, the grounds newly laid out, pavillions and cottages erected, and other improvements made."
Coleman was a long-time resident of Burlington. In 1887 he built the red brick house at 470 Nelson Avenue, and in 1893, he constructed and moved to the unusual "Gingerbread House" at 1375 Ontario Street. He was a man with a heart full of dreams, and when he took over the Brant complex, it underwent a transformation.
Early in 1900, workmen were busy building an entirely new hotel on the Brant property, next to the original house. Bricks were brought across the ice on the Bay from the brickyard in Hamilton to construct a four-storey building that would accommodate 300 guests in pampered luxury. According to initial advertising, the hotel was fire-proof, with elevator, electric lights, hot air furnaces, bells for summoning service people and plumbing that "is open, sanitary and modern." Room rates began at $2.50 a day.
The dining room was a magnificent salon with beamed ceiling and verandahs on either side. Gardens on the premises provided fresh fruit and vegetables for the menu.
The huge ballroom featured a fine hardwood floor that was excellent for dancing. Orchestras were engaged to play for regular dancing and concerts.
From the ballroom, hotel guests could saunter onto the famous Roof Garden to view Lake Ontario, Burlington Bay, and the escarp¬ment rising to the north. From time to time, the Roof Garden was also the location for vaudeville acts and other performances. During the hotel's opening week, for example, the Roof Garden featured the Flammere Sisters who were billed as character change artists, Zartini, the juggler; and Alf Holt, "the Human Mockingbird."
Monday, July 2nd, 1900 was Opening Day at the new Brant Hotel. The building was open to the public who came in crowds to have a look. All were amazed that Mr Coleman (almost always referred to as A.B.) could have created such a marvellous hotel in such a short time. He had plenty of help from his family. His brother James was a carpenter, while C.F. was a painter, so creation of the building was a family affair. C.F Coleman was also well-known in Burlington for he was one of its first mayors, and had one of the first telephones. His number was 5. The Coleman children used to chuckle because the number of the railway station was 222.
Although A.B. was a master at planning and creating buildings, he was not interested in running the hotel himself. He hired the team of Wachenhusen and Boggs as managers.
Soon after the completion of the hotel, the Coleman family moved to Toronto where A.B. took on more large construction. Meanwhile, the Hotel Brant could not help but succeed. Strate¬gically located, it offered recreational facilities that both Canadians and Americans were coming to appreciate in the new century. Furthermore, it was much more accessible than the Muskokas and other Ontario resort areas.
An advertising brochure of the time provides a map showing how easily the Brant Hotel could be reached from places like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The elite did come from these far places, for the hotel register contained signatures of members of the Mellon and Dupont families, as well as celebrities such as William Jennings Bryan. Unfortunately, the register was lost many years ago in a fire at Indian Point.
At the time, no accessible resort surpassed the Brant Hotel.
The Coleman family returned to live in the original Brant House in 1909 At this time, A.B. began to expand his Burlington complex by putting a six-hole golf course on Indian Point which was separated from the rest of the property by Big Gut, as the mouth of Indian Creek was called. The golf course was reached by a foot bridge.
Twenty-five Tudor-style bungalows were also built on the Point and offered for rent by the season. These comfortable houses each contained from five to 12 rooms. They were equipped with fireplaces and all modern conveniences for the use of family groups. Bungalows rented for from $100 to $500 which included electricity, hot water, ice and janitor services. Bungalow guests could provide their own meals, or could arrange to have them at the hotel. For those who chose to "eat in", supplies were delivered to the door each day.
In 1910, the hotel itself underwent changes. Hot and cold running water and telephones were installed in every room, and the entire building was redecorated. At this time, furnaces were installed to provide steam heat so that the previously seasonal hotel would operate all year. A little track ran from the back entrance of the hotel to the railway station across the road. When guests got off the train, their luggage was loaded onto little cars which took it to the hotel so that it could be waiting when they reached their rooms.
At the Brant Hotel, the guest was unquestionably treated like royalty…..”

Scott,

Does ‘plumbing that "is open, sanitary and modern."’ Refer to ‘flush toilets’?

And does this refer to the hotel when it first opened? Because it seems that hot and cold running water was subsequently installed.


‘In 1910, the hotel itself underwent changes. Hot and cold running water and telephones were installed in every room, and the entire building was redecorated.’

Here is a page on the history of the ‘flush toilet’.

“A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human urine and feces. They are often found in a small room referred to as a toilet, bathroom or lavatory. A toilet can be designed for people who prefer to sit (on a toilet pedestal) or for people who prefer to squat (over a squatting toilet).”

“Although a precursor to the flush toilet system which is widely used nowadays was designed in 1596 by John Harington,[5] such systems did not come into widespread use until the late nineteenth century.[6]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flush_toilet#History
 
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