Drive through just about any part of Windsor and you’ll see them. They’re like gaping holes in a mouth full of teeth. Hard to look at and you can’t help but wonder why they don’t get filled in.
Due to the regular periods of recession here, empty lots are a plague Windsor has faced for many years. Many are born when property owners decide to tear vacant buildings down if they have sat empty too long (sometimes years) and there are no buyers. Owning a vacant lot is a lot cheaper than owning an empty building which is costing tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance and property taxes every year.
Fire, of course, is another major contributor to the empty lot phenomenon. The empty lot above, across from a busy commercial block in Walkerville on Wyandotte St. E. between Chilver and Windermere, is one such example.
Below is how the lot looked when it still had buildings on it, abeit burnt ones. This photo was taken by Chris Edwards the day after the massive power outage blacked out the eastern seaboard in August of 2003.
A burning candle in one of the upstairs apartments had ignited curtains and the fire quickly got out of control spreading throughout the units. Thankfully, no one was hurt but there was extensive damage to the four businesses on the main floor. (Three of the businesses never reopened.) The block was torn down within days of the inferno. (I shot the photo below as the demolition began. The tinting was on purpose, by the way. I think I was going for that end-of-the-world feeling.)
After sitting vacant for eight years, the unsightly gap will be filled. Vito Maggio, owner of Vito’s Pizzeria across the street and the Kildare House, (just down the block), purchased the site and is currently using it for parking, but has other plans for it in the future.
(If you like old buildings, you’ll love our new book, “Windsor Then”. Check it out at walkervilletimes.com)