The nip of fall is strong now. The geese are leaving en masse and this does not bode well for us winter haters. It is time to think of winter wear.
These items are in the vault of the Costume Museum of Canada
My last post about my teen years and my Great Grandmother’s dress, reminded me that I have a copy of some of my Great Grandfather’s journals. They were more like Captain’s logs with short notes about the day’s events than wordy explorations of the soul and so not earth shattering revelations of the man and the times. I hate to say I haven’t read them all.
Wednesday night I was inspired to read one of the them. Something caught my eye. The entry for April 24, 1890 was positively wordy for him.
April 24 Thursday
We got to Winnipeg before noon & I went to the Rossin House. Also went to the Government Emigration Agent & he gave me the address of some dairy men & so I went to Kildonen & hired out for 6 months at the western & if we suit each other after the first month to be $20. First month $15.
He left from Dunham Quebec on April 21 and traveled the 2,368 km (I assume) by train. I thought about how cool it was that he was once in the old city of Winnipeg during a time that I “play make-believe” about now.
He likely arrived at this train station.
I think this one is gone now and has been replaced by another building in 1904. Anyway, Great Granddad likely arrived at this station and walked up Main st (what is 6 city blocks now and under 1 km) . He went into Rossin House to rent a room.
I had never heard of Rossin House so I went to my handy-dandy internet and did a search. I found a brief notation:
The Leland, which started out as Rossin House, in 1884 boasted richly carpeted rooms featuring walnut and ash furniture.
That sounded more familiar. A search for the Leland Hotel got a short page with this little bit of info.
The Leland Hotel was built in 1883 and was once the city’s most prestigious hotel. It fronted what was Old City Hall and the Old Market Building. It was so successful that four stories were added in 1892. But in 1913 a fire gutted the top three floors.
Those extra four stories went up after my Great Grand Father was there and burnt down sometime after the birth of my Grand Father.
I remember this hotel. It was a bit of a dive when I knew it.
Source for above photo. After many years of neglect and use as a “flop house hotel”, the building sat empty and was purchased by the City of Winnipeg in 1995. Denied heritage status despite a concerted public campaign, the structure was destroyed by an arson fire in January 1999.
This is what my Great Grand Father would have seen.
The middle building was Rossin House. The building to the left was the Union Bank of Canada (now the Royal Bank) and it is still standing. That lovely building to the right was City Hall (and possibly where my Great Grand Father went to see the Government Emigration Agent) and it is now gone. You can read the story of its demise here.
Basically, some thought the Victorian City Hall looked to old-fashioned and didn’t portray Winnipeg as a mover and shaker in the modern world so it wasn’t worth any conservation efforts. And what has replaced this lovely palace? Weep, world, weep.
It is to weep, is it not? Sigh. At the top left of the above photo, you can see that the Union Bank building is still there.
Anyway, Great Granddad got the names of some dairy farmers in Kildonan. This is where it gets a bit fun. Kildonan was a parish north of Winnipeg and its role was to produce the farm goods used to feed the city. In 1903 the street car ran through there and it began to evolve into a suburb of Winnipeg, a city in its own right in 1957 and became part of Winnipeg in 1972. The northern boundary of Kildonan was Oakland Street…where I lived for 15 years.
So I wonder how many times, if ever, did I tread in the exact same place he did?
I couldn’t decide what to call today’s post. I thought of “A year and a half later” because that is how long it took me to stumble on these photos. I found them when I …ahem…cleaned out one of my junk drawers.
I also thought of “The more things change the more they stay the same” because in spite of 30 years and about 90 pounds I can see some of today’s me in these.
A year and a half ago, I posted about a dress I had made, with no patterns, only a huge bolt of cloth and a picture of my great grand parents. It was photos of me in the dress that I finally turned up.
If anything, that hip is worse now!
My longing to be center stage is deeply rooted apparently…
My 1900 widows weeds-spooky incarnation had its inaugural wearing on Saturday night’s Ghostly Carriage Ride. I took most of the photos at home where the light was still available.
I am going on a horse and carriage ride that will have a ghostly theme. Shirley and I are going to wear our widows weeds but they will be spooked up. This is my spooky detail.
The veil is being held up by the wings of fighting ravens. Oooo, spooky!
I plan on painting my hair white and my face a pasty grey. The trick will be doing it without getting it on my dress and cape because I hope to wear it again several more times this month!
We have several friends joining us for this excursion so it should be a hoot. I don’t know how many photos will be taken. It will be night time so most photos wont work out.
This hat will be on offering for one of the future challenges at Historical Sew Fortnightly.
I love capes! They whip up so fast! I used Truly Victorians 1890’s cape pattern TV590. I decided against the tall collar-it looked to regal for mourning…and then I threw on some bling. Go figure.
So for Historical Sew Fortnightly:
The Challenge: 20 Outerwear
Fabric: some mysterious, light sucking poly something, a poly something velvet, and a cotton lining.
Year: The pattern is 1890’s but I’m using it with a 1900 dress. Plausible. My winter coats can last 10 years.
Notions: a fancy metal hook, a beaded ribbon and thread.
How historically accurate is it? 80%? I’m middle-aged so I would be more worried about being warm than being au courant – especially in mourning. It is all machine sewn but that is more than plausible for 1900. Synthetic fibers are also plausible but I have no idea what those fibers are or when they were invented. I did not research how hard-line they were in 1900 for types of fibers used for mourning. The cape would perhaps be considered half mourning because of the beading. (The dress could be considered second mourning because there is some fabric trim on it.) My hat probably needs a veil, which can be worn thrown back over the hat to make it a second mourning hat. But, some of those rules of mourning relaxed after the Queen died in 1901. I think I will eventually add a veil but, I haven’t any in my stash now and finding a black veil material without spiders on it will be a bit of a challenge for a month or two.
Hours to complete: @10
First worn: not yet…I hope this Saturday
Total cost: Nothing. Everything was left overs from other projects.