Tag Archives: Walker


The Mettawas (part II)

No comments yet

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


The Mettawas (part I)

No comments yet

Categories: Maps & Plans - 1880s, Maps & Plans - 1890s, Tags: ,

Lake Front of Proposed Hotel at Kingsville Ont.

As it was later written, “Hiram Walker, the whiskey magnate, deserves the credit for having made the cool breezes of the northern shore of Lake Erie more accessible to Detroiters during the summer months.” In February 1889, Walker purchased property on the south side of Park street, east of Division Street South for $3,000 from Dr. S.A. King. Detroit architects, Mason and Rice, were commissioned to design Walker’s ‘mammoth summer hotel’ as seen in this rendering illustrated by Albert Kahn, architect of the Kingsville railway station. Construction began in March under the supervision of Dr. S.A. King and by April, 150 men were working to complete the hotel for the summer season. As reported at the time of construction, “The estimated cost of building and furnishings will be $200,000.”

Plan No. 269 (1884)

On Part of Lot No. 1 in the Broken Front Concession, East of Division Road in the Township of Gosfield, The Property of Messrs King & Smart.

In 1884, the land south of Park Street and east of Division Street South was divided into 18 building lots, each with 66 foot frontage. It was these 18 lots that Hiram Walker purchased for his new hotel.

Big Strike in Gosfield South

Natural gas was struck, Wednesday, below Kingsville, at a depth of about 980 feet, and the roaring noise can be heard for a long distance. Great excitement prevails in consequence of the find. It is thought the pocket struck is inexhaustible, but the company will continue to go farther down.

Amherstburg Echo, January 25, 1889 p.4

Work has commenced on the new $50,000 hotel, on Monday. It is to be 266 feet long. About 20 Italians are at work excavating for the foundation. Large maple and elm trees are being planted in double rows on Lansdowne Avenue. Some of them taking four horses to move them.

Amherstburg Echo, March 22, 1889 p.5

Walker & Sons’ mammoth summer hotel is going ahead in rapid style, and an addition of 100 feet has been added to original plan. About 150 men are at work on this structure. The estimated cost of building and furnishings will be $200,000. Dr. S.A. King has the general supervision.

Amherstburg Echo, April 12, 1889 p.6