Lost WindsorOld Newspaper StoriesOld Photographs

Prince Edward Hotel – 1971

While looking for some information about Patrick Maguire a local engineer who designed many of the high rise buildings in Windsor, I came across this article from 1971, when plans were to convert the Prince Edward Hotel into an apartment building for seniors.

Here lies the Prince … 49 years of nostalgia

By DAVE AGNEW – Windsor Star December 10, 1971

There was no August 1. Time stopped and it’s still 11:06 a.m., July 31, 1967. It was then that the Prince Edward Hotel was put into a time capsule and buried away. But August 1, 1967 came everywhere else and the idle years have left a musty smell that now sears the atmosphere inside the hotel. The secrets of 49 years of living are , still suspended in the walls and empty bedrooms, locked up tightly. The long-gowned dances with full orchestra in the high-ceilinged ballroom. The quiet ex-changes in a corner of the Fishermen’s Cove. The secret business meetings in the Towne Room where a fortune was probably negotiated. The wild revelry with friends in the Picadilly Room on Saturday night. The dazzle of lights and music and life inside the hotel were turned off with the hydro four years ago. The owners said they would no longer invest any money in the debt-ridden building.

And time stopped on that day, July 31, 1967. The electric clocks in the lobby are still waiting for 11:07 a.m. to arrive. And the wall calendars are still waiting for someone to rip off July 1967, so August can begin. H. Parker of Welland arrived at 1 p.m. on one of those days near the end and took a room, renting for $5. He didn’t have much of a choice. Because near the end, in July, no one was sleeping in room 304 or room 415. A note inside the room catalogue drawer at the registration desk reads . . . “Room 304, Out of Order, paint and plaster . . .” And “room 415. . .Do Not Rent .. .needs bedspread.” In fact, near the end something was wrong with nearly every room. The main lobby is empty now. A few boxes piled in a corner. Plaster from the ceiling on the floors. Winston Churchill stares ghostly
over the tom from his perch in a window picture on the mezzanine. The cash register, dusty now, shows payment for a $76.65 bill. It’s Saturday night, July 29, 1967. The cocktail waitresses in the Towne Room notice it’s after 11 p.m. and closing time is at 11:30 p.m. The last drink is served and the last person has left. The girls change and the uniforms still sit in a heap on the floor. as if the girls had to flee quickly. But the full bottles of colored water Canadian Club and White Satin gin and vodka still sit in the glass wall cabinets as if business was to resume.

And in the huge ballroom where the ceiling goes up two stories and the pillars are sculptered (sic). .. the empty orchestra stand that once held big name bands. A round, standing sand-filled ash tray, sits there now. . . holding two cigarette butts. And a sign leaning against the back stage wall blares out. . .Let’s Go Rotarians.
But down in the basement there is a stirring of something that functions. The oil-fired boilers have been rekindled and are chugging out enough heat to keep the temperature in the lower level at 58 degrees. Some hydro has been turned back on. The hotel has been purchased and Patrick Maguire the head of Patrick Maguire and Associates Ltd., is handling the engineering work for the new owners. Mr. Maguire says work on renovating and remodelling the building will begin in early January. He says the house at the rear of the hotel and part of the kitchen are to be torn down next week. The plans now are for the hotel to be remodelled so that there is commercial space on the ground floor, business conference rooms on the second floor and the rest will become apartments. But there will be no more Prince Edward Hotel. It’s now Edward Place.

Above is an old snapshot taken by a traveler on a visit to the hotel. I had previously posted that picture back in 2014. The caption on the back of the photo reads “Clock over desk in lobby of the Prince Edward Hotel, December, 1937”

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