Categotry Archives: Maps & Plans – 1900s


The Mettawas (part II)

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Categories: Maps & Plans - 1900s, Tags: ,

As reported in the Detroit Free Press in 1889, “Messrs. Hiram Walker & Sons’ new hotel, the Mettawas, at Kingsville, Ont., opens July 10 . . . This new and delightful summer resort is beautifully situated on the lake shore, only thirty miles from Detroit, and presents the choice of complete retirement and rest or the occasional change afforded by its proximity to Detroit, with which there is connection by rail and steamer.” Construction of this 266-foot hotel (an additional 100 feet was added to the original design) was completed in four months. Although very popular with tourists and accommodating upwards of 250 guests, the Mettawas was not a successful business venture for the Walkers. Within a couple of years of Hiram Walker’s death in 1899, the family sold off all their Kingsville properties and business interests. Demolition of the Mettawas Hotel began in October 1903 and was completed in January 1904. The property was re-purchased by Dr. S.A. King in 1905.

1903 Fire Insurance Plan (revised to 1906)

Plans having been prepared, the erection of a casino for the hotel at the lake, the Mettawassa (sic), has begun. The casino will be a separate building, but convenient to guests and will contain extensive billiard parlors, a bowling alley, smoking, lounging and card rooms, on the first floor, and a grand ball room on the second floor. It will be 100 x 127 feet in size, two stories, and cost $15,000.

Amherstburg Echo, June 14, 1889 p.6

His Honor Judge Horne heard the appeal of the Mettawas Resort Co. against the decision of the Court of Revision on the assessment of their property in this town on Monday of last week. Mr. Coburn, of Walkerville, appeared for the company and Mr. Cowan for the town. Harry Walker took the stand and made the statement that the property was for sale at $25,000. The decision was reserved.

Amherstburg Echo, August 6, 1900 p.6

 Mettawas Closed

The Mettawas summer resort closed to all guests on Tuesday last, and as far as we can learn it has been a very satisfactory season for the proprietor as well as the guests. The house has been fairly well filled throughout the season, while many resorts have complained of poor business owing to the Pan-American. The golf links, than which there are no finer in Canada, have been no small attraction to lovers of this healthful game. The cuisine was excellent, better perhaps than it has ever been before, such is the verdict of those who have always patronized the resort since it started. The place has been conducted on the strictest business principles throughout, and we have yet to hear of any clash between the house and tradespeople or others having business with it. With the proprietor and his assistants, the manager, book keeper and steward, there has been an entire absence of that pomposity and importance which characterized the management in some former years, demonstrating that it is far easier to conduct any business on plain business principles than it is to assume a stilted, keep-off-the-grass style and antagonize all with whom you come in contact. There seems to have been no friction to speak of among the entire staff of help, and there has been less noise and racket emanating from that source than the town has enjoyed before. In fact no one seems to have anything but kindly sentiments to express about the resort and management for season of 1901. The new order of things inaugurated this year, will undoubtedly popularize The Mettawas with resorters generally making the name of Kingsville famous as a summer resort town.

The Kingsville Reporter, September 12, 1901 p.4

The tearing down of the Mettawas continues. All the shrubbery has been taken up and shipped to Walkerville, and the main part of the fine structure is already demolished.

Amherstburg Echo, November 27, 1903 p.1

New Hotel Started.

The management today started work on the new Mettawas hotel. It will be built on the old Mettawas. It is the intention to have the building enclosed before snow flies, so as to work on the interior in the winter and have all ready for next season’s business.

The Kingsville Reporter, October 2, 1913 p.4

Mettawas Hotel To Change Name To Lakeshore

The Mettawas Hotel announced this week that effective January 1, the name of the hotel will be changed to Lakeshore Hotel.

The change is being made, said the management, due to the inability of the average tourist to pronounce or remember the name “Mettawas.” It has been called everything from the “Minnie Ha Ha” to the “Usedtawas.” The new name “Lakeshore” will also inform prospective guests that the hotel is near the water.

The Mettawas has perhaps more colorful history than any hotel in Southern Ontario. It was first built by Hiram Walker in the seventies and was later torn down due to a disagreement over taxes with the council of that time. The present building was erected around 1910.

Many Kingsville old timers worked at the hotel in the early days and the stories they can tell would fill volumes.

The Kingsville Reporter, November 7, 1946 p.1


Lake Erie, Essex & Detroit River Railway


Categories: Maps & Plans - 1890s, Maps & Plans - 1900s

1890 Fire Insurance Plan (revised to 1898)

Usually drawn in either multiples or fractions of 100-foot units, a fire insurance plan is a map or set of maps of a community showing in detail by means of colour and symbol the character of the exterior and interior construction of buildings as well as their height and occupancy. Also indicated are street widths, street numbers, property lines and such fire protection facilities as water pipes or mains, fire hydrants and fire alarm boxes. This highly specialized cartographic product grew out of the need of fire insurance underwriters to understand the physical characteristics of a structure to be insured and the spatial concentration of policy holders so as to limit a company’s losses in the event of a conflagration.

As seen in this 1890 Fire Insurance Plan, the Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit River Railway (LEE&DRR) came through Kingsville midway between the business part of the village and the harbor which turned out to be Stewart Street, where it crossed Division Street South. The LEE&DRR was incorporated by Hiram Walker (of Walkerville) in 1885 and the Kingsville line was completed in 1889.

1903 Fire Insurance Plan (revised to 1906)

Also completed in 1889 was the Kingsville Railway Station, east of Division Street South. The location of the station encouraged further development in the surrounding area including Darius Wigle’s tobacco factory, George Henry’s grain warehouse, Conklin’s Planing Mills and Imperial Canning Company.

1890 Fire Insurance Plan courtesy of

Info on Fire Insurance Plans:

1903 Fire Insurance Plan courtesy of University of Western Ontario Archives