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.
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.