Sisters in the Hood: Isabel & Vivian Clark – Walkerville, 1935


Inseparable: Vivian and Isabel Clark in their teens circa 1935, photo courtesy M.A. Bower

“… probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” ~Margaret Mead

One of the best things about publishing our community magazines, “The Walkerville Times” and “The Times Magazines” was the letters we received from our readers. Each one was a rare peek into the lives of local people from days gone by.

Mary Ann Bower was an avid reader who sent me this photo back in 2004. I never had a chance to use it so I was happy to locate it in my old photos email archive. I emailed Mary Ann to let her know I was thinking of posting it and did she have any additional info on these two sisters? Read on…

Vivian and Isabel Clark lived on Windermere Road just north of Ottawa Street in the heart of Walkerville until they were young adults. They were born in 1918 and 1920 respectively and attended King George Public School on Ottawa Street at Kildare Road [now É’cole L’Envolée, a French public school]. Of course there was only one high school in their world – Walkerville Collegiate. Isabel became a nurse (Grace Hospital grad) and worked and taught nursing at Hutzel Women’s Hospital in Detroit.

Vivian worked in the office at the brewery, which later became the temporary home of the Art Gallery of Windsor. Their father, Roy Clark, along with his father and brother (Elmer) owned and operated Walkerville Printing. They produced a weekly newspaper [possibly The Walkerville News which ended after the town amalgamated with Windsor in 1935] plus had various printing contracts. A major one was printing part of the Hiram Walker & Sons’ bottle label. For a small company that was a blessing.

The Walkerville Printing office was located on the west side of Lincoln Road just north of Wyandotte [sounds like that’s now the Cabinet Gallery at 553 Lincoln]. It moved out to the Devonshire Mall area (address was on EC Row before it became an expressway). The business was sold to and possibly renamed Sumner Printing and Publishing. If my memory serves me correctly, Roy was on city council or the planning board.

In the early 1920s Isabel contracted polio. With a lot of special attention she survived. The family was told walking on hot sand would help so they bought a cottage in Rondeau park. Weekends and summers were spent at the cottage. They were blessed to have a car to travel in those days.

Neither woman married; they lived with their parents. Both continued to live together until Isabel died. In 1954 they moved to the yellow brick house on the corner of Vimy and Kildare. Their mother, my great aunt Nell, always admired the house. The sisters noticed it for sale one day and bought it almost without a viewing.

Their family was very involved with Chalmers United Church. As an adult, Isabel was involved with Willistead Art Gallery as well as the Pilot Club – a ladies’ service club. Vivian was not as social; her interests were the church choir and Rondeau Park.

Both women were very proud of their Walkerville heritage. They used to anxiously await each edition of The Times Magazine. Until recently, Vivian could describe each home on many Olde Walkerville streets and who lived in it during her day. Isabel died in the fall of 2004 at 84. Vivian is 93 and resides at Huron Lodge in Windsor.

Mary Ann Bower

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About Elaine Weeks

How history was taught in my day: memorize lots of boring dates and facts, watch corny old black & white history films. There was one bright spot, however. Grade 9 history at Walkerville Collegiate with Miss Falls (Georgina) when she taught a section on local history and took us on a field trip to explore some of Windsor's built heritage. Due to a peculiar series of events, celebrating local history became part of my business. My company, (partner is Chris Edwards,) Walkerville Publishing Inc., launched "The Walkerville Times" in 1999, which in due course became "The Times Magazine". Our goal was to make history real. I am a writer, editor, blogger, photographer, mother, wife, sister, activist, traveller, gardener, knitter, masters track & field competitor (when I have time), glass is nearly full person.
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One Response to Sisters in the Hood: Isabel & Vivian Clark – Walkerville, 1935

  1. Mary Ellen (Beveridge) Cooper says:

    Oh how I wish my memory was as good as yours and that I could remember these things. When I went to King George school from Gladstone Ave, I use to take my bike and ride through Kildare and Monmouth Rd, looking at the houses and visiting my friend Lois. Getting home late for supper was not a good thing although I did it frequently. Thank you for these memories. Mary Ellen

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