I have always been a fan of this house on Windermere Rd in Walkerville, just south of Niagara. The City Heritage Inventory lists this one as being built in 1916 by J.C. Pennington, but I think that that notation refers to an earlier house on the property, also owned by Porter.
An article appeared in the paper in 1926, with the photo above, crediting the house to Pennington & Boyde. Pennington & Boyde only formed their partnership in 1920, and it is unlikely that a 10 year old house would grace the building section of the paper, especially in the boom years before the depression. A quick check of the historic land registry books for the lots the house was on, notes a high value transfer to Charles S Porter in 1925. I suspect that Porter lived in a house on Windermere at the same address from 1916 to 1925, albeit a much more modest residence, also designed by J.C. Pennington. As Porter rose in prominence, he must have purchased additional building lots, and had this much larger residence erected for him and his family.
Porter would live in this house until his death in 1933.
Charles S Porter Dead at 57
Auto Sales Firm Leader
Was Noted Cyclist In Youth; Pioneer In Motor Industry
Had Been Ill Month
Came to Border Cities In 1912 to Join American Auto Trimming Co.
Charles S. Porter, 57, president of Charles Porter Auto Sales. Limited, and also secretary-treasurer of the Curtis Company of Windsor and secretary of Border Transit. Limited, died last night at his home, 176 Windermere road, Walkerville, after an illness of one month.
NATIVE OF MICHIGAN
Mr. Porter was born in Ovid , Mich.. on May 31. 1875. and was educated first in the schools of that town, and later in Detroit. Since the turn of the century he had been identified with the automotive industry. From 1900 to 1905 he was employed by the Anderson Carriage Company, of Detroit. as superintendent of the trimming division. In 1905 he became superintendent of body construction with the Maxwell-Briscoe Company, of Tarrytown. N.Y., where he remained until he took a similar position with the American Auto Trimming Company, at Walkerville, seven years later.
Mr. Porter’s advancement was rapid and in 1915 he was made general manager of that company. In 1920 the Gotfredson Corporation, predecessor of Trucks & Parts, Limited, acquired the American Auto Trimming Company, and he became secretary and managing director of Gotfredson.
IN OTHER FIRMS
When Border Transit, Limited, was organized in 1925. Mr. Porter was appointed secretary. He held this position up to the time of his death. and was also secretary-treasurer of the Curtis Company of Windsor. Mr. Porter remained as secretary and managing director at Gotfredson until 1928, when he formed the Charles Porter Auto Sales, with the Chrysler agency.
In his youth, before the days of the automobile, Mr. Porter was a cyclist of championship caliber at long and short distances. His athletic ability extended to other fields, however, and during the period from 1897 to 1900 he was an assistant physical director at the Chicago Y.M.C.A.
MEMBER OF CLUBS
Mr. Porter was a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner, a past-president of the Windsor Rotary Club, and a member of the Border Chamber of Commerce and the Windsor Auto Dealers’ Association. Formerly, he was associated with the old Beach Grove Country Club, the Windsor Club, and the Detroit Athletic Club.
Much of Mr. Porter’s time and means were spent in boy welfare work, and he also gave generously, even lavishly to other social betterment and charitable activities.
On June 25, 1907, he married Tracie M. Griener, of Saginaw. Mich., who survives him. Two sisters, Mrs. Harriet Corlett and Mrs. C. E. Christianson, both of Walkerville, also survive. Funeral services will be held at Morris Funeral Home, Walkerville at 3 three o’clock Thursday afternoon with Rev. H. P. Westgate, rector of St. John’s Church, Sandwich, in charge. Meanwhile the body will remain at the residence.
Pallbearers will be J. H. Barth. Frank J. Mitchell. J. A. MacArthur. W. R. Woollatt, A. J. Moriarity, and Norman Holland of Montreal.
Charles Porter was a prominent local businessman, and an early industrialist who made his name in the early days of the automotive industry, he’s sadly been mostly forgotten, and is a footnote in our local history. He did however leave behind a beautiful residence and his legacy lives on, on Windermere Road in Walkerville.