Did You Know Jack? A Walkerville Landmark Is No More

Once upon a time, this fresh empty lot on Monmouth at Ontario was Jack's Corner Store (photo e. weeks)

I nearly ran the stop sign when I noticed the old red brick building on the northeast corner of Monmouth at Ontario was missing. It had ALWAYS been there!! Where did it go??

In fact the little house and the small hairdressing shop front just to the north had vanished too.

Wow. I can’t even count the times when I was a little girl that I walked to this corner  from our house a couple of blocks away with my friend Carolyn to buy some penny candy at “Jack’s”. Old Jack (he could have been just in his forties but he looked ancient to us) would stand on the other side of a big old wood and glass cabinet, patiently filling up tiny paper bags as we painstakingly picked out black balls (3-for-a-penny), caramel squares, jelly beans, black cat or Bazooka gum and red licorice sticks.

I think all that sweet loot cost about a dime, or maybe it was 15 cents. At any rate, it was one of the most satisfying and delicious ways to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Jack also had a very small but really cool soda fountain but I rarely bought a milkshake or float as I didn’t have enough money. He closed up shop many years ago but the hairdresser carried on until, if I’m not mistaken, fairly recently.

post-Jack's and two years before its demolition: a forlorn, tortured building with no soul (photo: e. weeks, 2009)

The two-storey building that housed Jack’s appeared to be a small apartment block. The years after he closed up or sold his store to someone else to operate are hazy. I had moved out of the neighbourhood by then and then away from the city. After moving back to Windsor 13 years I was saddened to discover that Jack’s corner store had been converted into a rather sparten looking apartment. The whole building just looked so forlorn.

And now it’s all gone.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal of course. It was just another nondescript building that anybody who was unfamiliar with its days as the neighbourhood store for kids from blocks around, would not really give a second glance.

In actuality however, it was more than a corner store – it was the common denominator for the children of the working class parents on Monmouth and Walker and those from the better off households along Argyle, Devonshire, Ontario and Richmond. Perhaps not every kid would be able to afford a little paper bag of candy but even if they only had a few cents to spare, they could still buy enough to satisfy their sweet tooth for a little while.

I’m not sure the reason for this demolition. Perhaps it has something to do with St. Anne’s Separate School (located a bit north down the street)’s new playground. Or, perhaps the owner of the property was tired of paying the property taxes so mowed it down to save money (as is often the case in Windsor – read Empty Lot Blues: Filling In the Gaps).

Whatever the rationale, another piece of local history is now relegated to my memory bank, and if you also grew up in that neighbourhood of Olde Walkerville in the 1960s, maybe yours too.

I found some pics of the May 18, 2011 demolition of Jack’s in Andrew Foot’s excellent local history blog, International Metropolis. You can see them here and also check out some other info on the building.

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 series of peculiar events, celebrating local history became part of my business. My company, Walkerville Publishing Inc., (partner is Chris Edwards) launched "The Walkerville Times" in 1999 and we produced 61 issues - the last in 2016. In 2004, we began producing local history books; that year we released "Best of The Times Magazine". Our current titles include 5000 Ways You Know You're From Detroit, 500 Ways You Know You're From Windsor, Walkerville - Whisky Town Extraordinaire, and Windsor Then - A Pictorial Essay of Windsor's Glorious Past. I also wrote a novel, Time Trespasser, that blends time travel with local history. I am working on a sequel. I am a writer, editor, blogger, photographer, mother, wife, sister, activist, traveller, gardener, knitter, glass is nearly full person.
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8 Responses to Did You Know Jack? A Walkerville Landmark Is No More

  1. Mark says:

    The building was taken over by a “restoration” company about 2 years ago. It’s been boarded every since and I assume that it fell into disrepair. It was most likely more expedient to tear it down that to repair.

    • selainew says:

      Hmmmm…. if it was a “restoration” company, why didn’t they restore it? How can a company call themselves a restoration company but does not restore?

  2. Janet says:

    I remember Jack’s store. I had an older cousin who took the train to Toronto. I went to Jacks’ so she would have something to eat during her journey. Candy and shoe string chips.
    My grandmother and I both went to the hairdresser. Paul Martin Sr. wife went
    there to.

  3. Leslie says:

    I love these posts! They are so interesting and so enjoyable! They actually make me miss Windsor and my old neighbourhoods with all the memories that are atttached. Thank you, Elaine. Thank you, Charlie Fox for all your input.
    Sincerely, Leslie Lavery, Newmarket, On. (Prince Edward P.S., 1 year Walkerville C.I. but Kennedy Grad. Windsor Teachers’ College Grad )

    • selainew says:

      Glad you’re enjoying them Leslie! Windsor has some of the cheapest real estate deals in the whole country so if you ever feel like moving back, you could probably retire!

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