The Brandon Sun published five weeks of feature articles detailing the history of the Prince Edward Hotel, from its pre-1912 construction through its heyday and decline, evental demoltion and ending with the lot's current use as a skateboard plaza.
Each article was laid out on the page in a way that somewhat echoed newspaper layout and design at the time.
Of course, modern computer programs were used, which can't always replicate the hand-made look and feel of a century-old newspaper. Nor would that be desirable — these features included many more photos and better reproduction than newspaper even a couple of decades ago could have hoped for.
Although extensive additional information was included online, there is something to be said for the physical page.
After nearly three decades laying fallow as a parking lot, the former site of the Prince Edward Hotel was finally developed. It opened in late 2010 as a skateboard park, the Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skate Plaza.
The park was designed to incorporate historical touches that reflected the site's past as a hotel, and portions of the plaza are named after sections of the famed hotel.
Here are some images of the site, at Ninth Street and Princess Avenue, as it is used these days. |
Despite the fact that the Prince Edward Hotel was knocked down more than 30 years ago, there is a surprising amount of the hotel still lingering around.
Many people have mementos from the hotel — acquired legally or not — in their homes. Pieces of railway silver, room keys and souvenir postcards are stashed away in many collections. Even today, furniture from the hotel turns up regularly in classified sales or estate auctions.
Some of the wood from the hotel's oak staircase was turned into clocks and planters, which remain in Brandon homes.
Someone apparently made off with the white marble fireplace, which was notably missing during a final tour of the building.
Within weeks of the demolition of the Prince Edward Hotel, the lot had been graded, cement barriers had been placed in neat rows, and a ticket-dispenser had been installed, charging motorists 25 cents for two hours parking where the hotel had once stood.
It was an inglorious end for a one-time jewel in Brandon's downtown skyline. But the city didn't expect it to stay that way for long.
Many plans for the lot would be debated over the coming weeks and months, but eventually it fell off the development radar — until a group of skateboarding fans headed by Steve Malkowich and Jordan Ross approached city council with a plan for a skateboarding plaza.
Here are selected news articles telling those stories:
The date and time were supposed to have been a secret.
But word got out, and hundreds of Brandon residents crowded at Ninth Street and Lorne Avenue for the best biew they could get of the Prince Edward Hotel's last moment.
Of course, the train depot had already been knocked down. And wrecking balls had cut a path right through the centre of the building. And, even after dynamiting half of the hotel, the other half would still be brought down the old-fashioned way -- taking a few more weeks.
But for most Brandon residents, the date of the Prince Edward meeting its fate can be pinpointed to shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, 1980.
As factions in the city fought over how -- or whether -- to save the vacant Prince Edward Hotel, a number of groups got official tours of the building.
Vandals had had their way with portions of the inside, and engineers had drilled holes in support pillars, to conduct studies. Here are some images from those tours.
Above: Battery-powered flashlights were required inside the hotel, where the power had long been shut off. Then-alderman Rick Borotsik is at left. (Dirk Aberson / Brandon Sun file)
Once it was closed, boarded-up and vacant, speculation over the fate of the Prince Edward Hotel ran rampant.
Fights over the cost of renovation, possible future uses for the building -- and then over whether to knock it all down -- dominated the headlines.
Here is a selection of articles from the late 1970s, the last few years of the Prince Edward's life. |
There are a large number of common photos of the Prince Edward Hotel, especially from when it had just opened, and from when it was closed.
But with a little research, it was possible to find some rarely-before seen pictures of the Prince Edward.
They are sorted into a few cateogries:
Aerial and rooftop photosExterior photos in black and whiteExterior photos in colourInterior photos in black and whiteInterior photos in colourClick on any of those categories to be taken directly to those pictures, which are organized near-chronologically.
Once it was up and running -- and until it closed -- the Prince Edward Hotel rarely made the news iteself.
However, as a centre of the city's cultural and business life, the hotel was often mentioned: in announcements, in the social pages, or just in passing.
Here are a few of those articles. |
As the art of advertising evolved, so did the means with which the Prince Edward Hotel promoted itself. Here's a sampling of the ads that the hotel used to attract guests and clients throughout the years.
One of the first ads to appear in the Brandon Sun was for the hotel's barber shop, located in the basement. This ad ran on Jan. 19, 1913. |
The Prince Edward Hotel evokes many memories for Brandon residents over the age of 40.
Newcomers — and people too young to remember the hotel — may have more questions than they have tales to tell.
This page is a place to collect those memories or to answer those questions. Please chime in to the comments below.
Or, email email@example.com to have your story heard.