Monday, January 08, 2007

one fine christmas afternoon in amherstburg (2)

Previously...
Park House Park House Sign
The Park House is one of the oldest homes in the region, originally situated along the Rouge River in present-day Detroit. When the original Loyalist owners decided to move to Upper Canada in 1798 (after Detroit was permanently turned over to the US), the house was floated across the Detroit River and erected near Dalhousie and Gore. The building remained there until 1972, when construction of Duffy's Motor Inn resulted in its move north along Dalhousie to its present location at the north end of Navy Yard Park (later expansion by Duffy's resulted in the move of another historic building, the Gordon House).

Fort Malden Road - Closed Fort Malden Road
Fort Malden National Historic Site contains a portion of the originally military grounds - the site was subdivided in the early 20th century after periods as an insane asylum and lumber mill. Though the full site will likely never be reestablished (General Amherst High School would have to be knocked down), land adjoining the park has been reclaimed. Fort Malden Road used to have several homes on it, but one by one they vanished. I hadn't noticed until this trip that the road had been integrated into the park.

I was tempted to hop the fence. Growing up, the park was often wide open for walkers along the river. Local kids used the trenches in then winter for sledding, even though the steep sides meant one came to a dead stop at the bottom. This practice ended years ago to preserve the site.

Amherst Stone Rules for Entering General Amherst High School
Two signs at the high school. The plaque on the left commemorates the near-demise of Amherst in 1991, or "school accommodation crisis" as it is gently worded. Long story short: the space was shared by public and separate schools in the wake of full funding, the public board planned to turn over the building to the separate board, the public school students walked out for a couple of weeks, a deal was worked out where public board kept the building, separate board got a new building in LaSalle. Where was I during the walkout? Doing what I suspect many classmates did: staying at home, watching cartoons.

The signs on the right list a couple of school regulations. The food rules were always a little odd. Once, I was stuck in the front office one lunch hour selling sports tickets. Since I couldn't go anywhere else, I brought my bagged lunch with me. As I tore into it, the principal came up to me and asked what I was doing. Apparently it was illegal for students to eat in the outer area of the office, but perfectly OK if I wolfed down my sandwich at the principal's desk. I don't remember if Dad ever decided to see what would happen if he ate his midday meal down there on a free lunch hour.

Mount Beulah Lighthouse Baptist Church

The walk wound down with a stroll down King St, which was my primary walking route to high school. The street is notable for the number of historical churches along it. On the left is Mount Beulah Church, whose exterior looked the worse for wear in the early 90s. Time has been kind to the building - the exterior used to be white, with a plain orange-brown nameplate where the cross above the door now sits. The building was constructed in 1874 as a school for African-Canadians, then segregated from other local schools.

On the right is Lighthouse Baptist Church, built in 1875 by the Roman Catholic church. Used as a parish hall for St. John the Baptist church (which lies to the east and dominates the neighbourhood), the building was sold to its present congregation in 1971.

Story of Nazrey AME Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church/North American Black Historical Museum
Built in 1848, Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church was one of the terminals of the Underground Railway, a safe haven for those who had crossed the Detroit River to escape southern slavery. It is now part of the North American Black Historical Museum.

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