I went to the Windsor Archives at the downtown Windsor Public Library with Lee Rodney’s Border Culture class on Thursday. The city’s archives are uninsured and sit in the basement, in the same room as the water main for the building, with some record books, maps, and architectural drawings un-boxed and unprotected, though most looked to be in acid-free (though certainly not water-proof) boxes.
The map above was one of the many articles from the archive we got to see, and I think it dates to sometime in the 1950s. Interestingly, there are these areas marked as abandoned, and it made me think back to our beginnings at a Google map that marked out, among many things, some of the abandoned properties (in particular, the abandoned big-box stores).
I’m curious as to why these areas were ever marked as abandoned, though unfortunately I didn’t note what kind of map this was. If anyone has any guesses, let me know.
So, the Windsor Archives are a really interesting place if you’ve never been, and the archivist that we met with seemed very eager to help with researching. With over 10,000 photos alone, on top of thousands upon thousands of other documents, I think it’s worth exploring further.
They also accept contributions.
8 Replies to “Windsor Archives”
That’s where Andrew spends a lot of his time. Not sure if you saw Tom’s post about the story in the paper about him and how they mention you and the BCL site too !? I’m downtown at the Coffee Exchange now and will be trying to take photo of a hockey experiment happening soon.
Ahhh… I was wondering about that. I had asked the archivist we met there if he ever ran into Andrew, and he said he wasn’t sure, though he knows about his blog.
Is the hockey experiment today? I’m sure it’ll be lots of fun! And yeah, I caught that article in the Windsor Star, Don contacted me for it (after Tom pointed him in my direction), I’m really glad something positive made it into the paper!
It was a ’67 Centennial map if I remember correctly. Those used to be horseracing tracks, but were closed well before the 60’s (can’t remember exactly when). One became Devonshire Mall, the other a subdivision.
the lower track was where i would go for horseback riding in the early 80s. i don’t remember the track, but there was a place you could go there that would let you ride their horses. i ended up going to another place though further down howard toward the 401.
I loved the archives, particularily the old maps of Windsor. It is such a shame that Windsor thinks so highly of it’s past that they feel compelled to only work into the budget one main Archivist and a shoddy basement storage area which resembles a glorified janitors closet. Why am I not surprised?
Not to mention they probably only fund it because some documents; as the archivist said, had to be there by law. Not because they are an informative part of Windsor’s history. I would be so satisfied if we were able to kick everybody on city council out, and just replace them with new, fresh people who actually care about Windsor and are ready to do it justice.
Anyways. Thats really neat that the’Abandoned’ lots on the map used to be horse tracks.
Crap, I didn’t know that the Border Culture class was back. I had heard people talk about having taken it a few years back, and how great it was. Hopefully Lee offers it next year, and hopefully it’s open to non-Visual Arts majors (like me heh)
I think there’s the potential for it to be offered on a more regular schedule, and Lee seems quite open to having non-Visual Arts majors in the class. If you haven’t already seen it, here’s the blog from this year’s class… http://borderculture2009.blogspot.com/
The entrance to the racetrack on the westside of the tracks in the picture is still there today. Windsor was once the horseracing capital of at least south western Ontario. On Felix Ave, in the west end, there is a red brick building with arched entrances, that use to be another racetrack club… my dad loves windsor and to talk about its history…
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