I love old buildings WAY too much.


This photo has been perched on my virtual desktop for over a month. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of it and I would tell myself, Ok, DO SOMETHING with that photo so you can get it off your damn desktop!

The building had caught my eye in the spring when I was stopped at a light on Ouellette Avenue a few blocks north of Tecumseh Road. I grabbed a quick shot with my trusty pink pocket camera.

Such a beautiful structure – simple in design but with nice little touches like the arched doorway, the recessed façade with that sort of checkerboard area at the top, and those groovy decorative cement accents at the roofline.

Ouellette south of Elliot Street is dotted with several other charming old apartment buildings. I have one particular favorite that I must take a photo of one of these days. It’s yellow brick and has aqua downspouts, which were once shiny copper color I imagine, running down the facade. I think it is possibly Art Deco in design.

I was once so madly in love with that building it was my number one choice as my first apartment when I moved out of my parents’ house in the early 1980s. My emotional attachment was so strong in fact that I ignored what my gut was trying to tell me when I met the manager. Alas, shortly after moving in he showed his true colors (ie., creepy pervert) so sadly, I had to vacate my beloved apartment to a nice old building on Giles.

I’m sure the creep is long gone but happily, the building he managed still stands. Along with the Prince of Wales, I hope it never has a date with the wrecking ball as so many gracious old homes have on Ouellette.

Segue time: And speaking of yellow brick buildings, you might enjoy this story I wrote many moons ago for My Old House, a regular column in our former publication, The Times Magazine. It’s called:

The Yellow Brick Question

McEwan Manor at 131 McEwan was originally owned by John McEwan, sheriff of Windsor/Essex and editor of Windsor's first newspaper. In 1854, he and his wife attempted to save Norwegian immigrants stricken with cholera.

A reader’s architectural query opens the door to an astonishing time in Windsor’s history.

I moved to Windsor in 1969. The Windsor, Walkerville and Sandwich areas are such great places in which to live. My question is, why are there so few soft yellow brick buildings this side of Chatham? If one travels to Chatham, Sarnia or London, the number of soft yellow brick buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s is significant. Why does Windsor and amalgamated communities have so few of these brick buildings? The only one from that era I can think of is McEwan Manor at 131 McEwan. Robert Schmidt, Windsor

read the fascinating answer to Robert’s question here.

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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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5 Responses to I love old buildings WAY too much.

  1. Hi, History Babe,

    Thanks for your photos.

    I love old buildings so much that I´m even on an undertaking to rebuild some of them in São Paulo.

    Do you find it too insane?

    Anyway, here it is
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/99070?a=569426

    Kind Regards,

    Denis Augusto

  2. Brenda Newman says:

    I was told long ago that the clay deposits around London are the reason there are so many yellow brick buildings around there. Hauling clay would have been expensive, so if you see a yellow brick building it Windsor, it was probably for someone wealthy enough to pay the extra charges. I’m not sure what the local (Windsor) clay colour is, but my guess would be in the red-brown range, based on the colour of the brick buildings there.

  3. Aaron says:

    I think the apartment building you’re talking about is “Casa del Mara”

    http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=42.303286,-83.029876&spn=0.000002,0.00283&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=42.303286,-83.029876&panoid=t47ErlNrkLn8xPM38lvAEg&cbp=12,55.01,,0,-13.65

    It’s a Moorish type of architecture, and modeled off of a famous building of the same name in Spain.
    She is a beaut!

    I used to live across the street from Prince of Whales, at a smaller place called Mayville. Now I’m in Windsor Court.

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