Fred C. GORDON – Brockville Sketch Artist

Frederick Charles Gordon (1856-1924), a native of Cobourg, Ontario, was a young artist who arrived in Brockville about 1887 to teach art at the Brockville Business College. This was a starting job for a budding professional artist who had trained in Paris before returning to Canada.

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Brockville Business College logo -brown- (Gordon)

This College advertisement shows the hand of Art teacher Fred Gordon.

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 cover - Brockville, The City of the Thousand Islands 1888

The above booklet entitled Brockville Illustrated, The City of the Thousand Island, designed by Fred Gordon, was published for the Canada Carriage Co. in 1888.  The complete publication was filled with on-the-spot drawings created by Gordon in the first two years he lived here.

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Title Page 1888 Booklet -brown- (Gordon)This was the title page in which the artist combined his love of hand lettering and illustration.  All the following pages are copied from this booklet.

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BROCKVILLE  BUILDINGS  OF  INTEREST

 
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Court House Square 1887
First Presbyterian Church and the Brockville Court House on Court House Square.
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Old Post Office -brown- (Gordon 1888)
The Dominion Post Office & Customs House Building,
opened in 1885.
 
Fulford Buildings -brown- (Gordon 1888)
The Fulford Buildings, including the earlier structure at the corner, which was the drug store of William M. Fulford in the 1860s. The larger addition on the right was erected by his younger brother George T. Fulford, the proprietor of the Dr. Williams Medicine Co. in about 1886.  The Brockville Business College was renting space on the second floor and Mr. A.C.J. Kaufman had his musical instrument store on the ground floor at the time this sketch was finished in about 1888.
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Comstock Block -brown- (Gordon 1888)
The Comstock Building, erected in 1888
for William H. Comstock, the proprietor of the Comstock Medicine Co.  This building remained here until about 1965 when it was demolished by the family to avoid paying property taxes.
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Two Churches -brown- (Gordon 1888)
On the left, the interior of St. Francis Xavier R.C. Church, opened in 1856, and on the right, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, opened in 1832.

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Recreational Activities of Brockvillians

Picnicing -brown- (Gordon 1888)

Picnicing

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Skating on the River -brown- (Gordon 1888)

Skating

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Sailing Races -brown- (Gordon) 1887
Sail Boat Racing
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Fishing -brown- (Gordon 1888)
Fishing
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Gun Sport -brown- (Gordon 1888)
 Hunting
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Transportation

Armstrong Railway Ferry -brown- (Gordon 1888)

The Armstrong Railway Ferry, from Brockville to Morristown, NY

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Brockville & Westport RR -brown- (Gordon 1888)

Scenes along the Brockville & Westport Railway

Water Tank in Farmersville (now Athens),  the Unionville Station,  and the Newboro Bridge.

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Tunnel & Docks -brown- (Gordon 1888)

The Canadian Pacific Railway steamboat wharf and the Brockville Railway Tunnel.

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SS Corsican + 2 Sailing Skiffs -brown- (Gordon 1888)

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Other Scenes Along the St. Lawrence River

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Brockville Business College -brown- (Fred Gordon)

Fred Gordon’s school, the Brockville Business College upstairs at 2 Court House Ave.

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GORDON, Fred - Highbury 1891 -brown-

The old Highbury Brewery, facing the Swiftwaters Channel, west of Brockville.

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Jones Creek -brown- (Gordon 1887)

On Jones’ Creek, west of Brockville

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GORDON, Fred - Smuggler's Cove 1894 -brown-

Smugglers’ Cove, on the river, west of Brockville

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From the High Rocks -brown- (Gordon 1888)

Fred Gordon sketching from the High Rocks, east of Brockville.

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Hillcrest -brown- (Gordon 1888)

Hillcrest, west of Brockville

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Houses in Town and Outside

Oriental Island -brown- (Gordon 1888)Two Homes on Oriental Island, west of Brockville

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Idlewilde -brown- (Gordon 1888)

77 Hartley St., Brockville

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Fairhaven -brown- (Gordon 1888)

On the River, west of Brockville (now demolished)

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Buell House -brown- (Gordon 1887)

Margaret & William Buell Sr. House, 16, 18 Home St. at Water St. W., demolished in 1974

In spite of the claims of the owners, this was not the first stone house built in Brockville.

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Rockford & Highbury -brown- (Gordon 1887 )

Rockford on the Prescott Road, east of Brockville, near North Augusta Rd.

Highbury at the foot of Elizabeth St., west of Brockville

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GORDON, Fred - sketched himself  -cropped-

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His Later Life after Brockville.

Fred Gordon, left his artistic mark in this way in Brockville, but he was looking to his future and moved to New York City for more adventures.  He enrolled at the Art Students League to pursue his art studies and mix with other young artists.

His art career was established for many years as he worked for the Century Magazine as a staff artist submitting decorative work to that publication for many years.

Subsequently in 19o8, he moved in middle age to Westfield, New Jersey where he established a home studio. He then pursued a free-lance career which involved illustrating books for authors and publishers. Along the way he became involved in the public life of Westfield, serving as Mayor for 5 years.

Frederick C. Gordon lived out his later life in Westfield, dying in 1924 after suffering a sudden heart attack when he was only 68 years old. He had rode his bicycle, as was his daily habit, home from the post office after collecting his mail. He was apparently in good hearth.

click here for

The obituary for Frederick C. Gordon from the Westfield, NJ ‘LEADER’ of 26 March 1924

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Coloured Postcards of Brockville –1908-12

About 1908-1912 a series of coloured postcards became available in the Town of Brockville. These are perhaps some of the most attractive scenes of how the town looked at that time.

The publishers of these cards varied in that, although the fronts are similar, the rear writing surface varied quite a bit.  Some imprints indicated that some cards were printed in Germany.

The following is a selection of 28 scanned copies, taken from the originals, for you to enjoy.

Brockville Asylum c ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

The Brockville Asylum for the Insane

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Brockville from Presbyterian tower ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

A View from the tower of the Brockville Court House

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Fulford Block ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Fulford Building
King St. W. & Court House Ave.

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Brockville Asylum b ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

The Brockville Asylum for the Insane

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Brockville Asylum ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

The Brockville Asylum for the Insane

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Brockville Armoury ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

The Brockville Armoury on King St. East

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Brockville City Hall ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Brockville City Hall at the corner of Market Street

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Brockville Collegiate ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Brockville Collegiate Institute on Pearl St. East

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Brockville Waterfront Regatta ca.1910 postcard (enhanced)

Brockville Waterfront Regatta

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Carnegie Library ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

The Carnegie Public Library on Buell St.

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Court House Ave ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Court House Avenue

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Court House Square ca1910  (enhanced)

Court House Square

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Fulford Place ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Fulford Place on King St. East

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King Street looking west ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

King Street looking west from City Hall bell tower

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Idlewilde ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Idlewilde on Hartley St.

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King St. W. from CHA ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

King St. W. looking westerly from Jones-Harding Building

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St Lawrence Hall ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

St. Lawrence Hall hotel on Church St.

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Wall St Methodist Church ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Wall St. Methodist Church

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Waterworks Esplanade ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Water Works Park on Water St. E.

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King St. E from Victoria Hall ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

King St. E. looking from City Hall Tower

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King St looking west ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

King Street looking west from Victoria Ave.

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Baptist Church ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Baptist Church on Court House Square

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Court House Ave looking south ca1910 postcard (enhanced)

Court House Avenue looking south from Court House Green

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Fulford Place ca1910 postcard

Fulford Place from the gardens

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King St. W looking west from CHA ca1910 postcard  (enhanced)

King St. W. looking west from Court House Ave.

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Brockville Post office on Court House Ave ca1910 postcard

The Brockville Post Office & Customs House on Court House Ave.

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George St. Methodist Church ca1910 postcard

George St. Methodist Church facing Court House Square

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Water Works Park & Bathing Pavilion ca1910 postcard

Lewis Bathing Pavilion in the Water Works Park on Water St. E.

The Molson’s Bank Building

also known by Brockvillians as the old “Orange Lodge Building”

21 Court House Avenue, Brockville

Hubbell Building d - Court House Ave

  • Began as a three-storey stone house built about 1825 for Dr. Elnathan Hubbell.
  • Re-designed extensively in 1858 by Kingston architect John Power for the Commercial Bank of Canada.

This building has a very long and interesting history. The property is a piece of land given by William Buell to his daughter, Sabina Flynn, the wife of David Flynn, in 1810. She retained possession until 1824 when she sold it to Dr. Elnathan Hubbell for £100.

Hubbell had arrived in Brockville from Vermont about 1806. He, at some point, built a brick house on the main street on the site of the former Woolworth Store (36-40 King St. W.). That house was said to be the first brick house built in Buell’s Bay. It is not known for sure when Hubbell built this stone structure on Court House Ave., what its original purpose was, or even what it looked like originally.

The first known reference to this building was an item in the Brockville Recorder newspaper of August 2, 1833: “Henry Sherwood has removed his office into the large stone house belonging to Dr. Hubbell, situated upon the public ground in front of the Court House”. It has been said over the years that this building was used as a hotel during the War of 1837-38. This may mean that soldiers of visiting militia companies were housed here during the “Patriot” crisis. But no definite proof has been discovered to prove this point. However, we do have a lot of evidence of its use as a bank building for nearly 80 years.

Court House Ave 1849 (from the Maple-Leaf)

This 3-storey building, then owned by Dr. Elnathan Hubbell, stands at the top of Court House Ave. on the right, as depicted in this 1849 engraved illustration from a Canadian magazine, “The Maple Leaf“.

The Brockville agency of the Bank of Montreal was established in Brockville in the year 1843. We don’t know where they first located the bank that year, but the first agent is known to have been James Stevenson who remained in Brockville until 1849. The next agent was Thomas Lee, and a business directory published in 1851 gives the information that the Bank of Montreal was located on Court House Square and, therefore, was leasing space in Hubbell’s Building by that time. The Brockville map of 1853 shows the “Bank of Montreal” on this site and lists F.M. Holmes as the agent.

Map of Court House Square (w label) 1861

From the 1853 map of Brockville, during the period that the Bank of Montreal leased this building from Dr. Elnathan Hubbell.

Dr. Hubbell died on April 8, 1866 at the age of 74, and his property passed into the control of his sons. This was also the time that the directors of the Bank Of Montreal decided to build their, own building. They chose a site south of the Wesleyan Methodist Church (now, Wall St. United Church) on the east side of the Square, and were able to move into their new building in 1857. The same year, one of their competitors, the Commercial Bank, decided to take over their old location on Court House Ave. James and Henry Hubbell sold their father’s building to the Commercial Bank on December 16, 1857 for £1387. James Bancroft is listed as the manager that year and also in 1861.

A recent discovery was made that referred  to this building, in a microfilmed copy of the Brockville Recorder, dated January 14, 1858. It was the announcement that tenders are invited from “parties willing to contract for certain alterations to be made to a house and appurtenances at the corner of Court House Square and Court House Avenue”. The small ad was placed by John Power, Architect of Kingston for the Commercial Bank of Canada. This is the answer to a question about when the building received the alterations that created its present appearance. This is the common look that many Canadian banks were trying to present in the mid-1850s. The Bank of Montreal in its new location looked very similar when it was built the previous year.

The last record we have of the Commercial Bank of Canada, Brockville branch, was in 1867 with J.H. Roper as manager. It is known that later the Commercial Bank failed and had to close all their branches. The Merchant’s Bank of Canada took over their assets, including this building, and put it up for sale in 1869. A Brockville merchant, Thomas R. Sheffield purchased it for $5000.
For two years, while owned by Alphonzo Brooks, a civil engineer, there was no bank here, but on January 3, 1873, a new branch of the Molson’s Bank opened up at 21 Court House Ave. That same year, Brooks sold the building to Mrs. Margaret Hargraves for $6500. The first manager of the Molson’s Bank in Brockville was James W.B. Rivers, who held that position until the end of 1885. The bank, meanwhile, in January of 1874 purchased the building from the widow Hargraves for $8000.

Brockville- Hubbell & Comstock-buildings-1895

In this 1895 photograph, the Molson’s Bank Building is on the left.

Altogether, the Molson’s Bank carried on business here for a total of 51 years, during which time the name “Molson’s Bank Building” became attached to the building previously owned by Elnathan Hubbell. Over the years there was a total of eight managers in charge of the Molson’s Bank in Brockville, but none served as long as James Rivers. While the ground floor was the banking hall it appears that a number of the managers following Mr. Rivers, lived upstairs during their stay in Brockville. In 1925, Molson’s merged with the Bank of Montreal and sometime after, the bank in this building closed.

In 1927 the Directors of the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1 purchased Hubbell’s Building from the Bank Of Montreal, and for the next fifty years the upstairs housed the Ogle R. Gowan Temple and the Orange Hall.

Later, in the 1950s, another tradition started on the ground floor when the law firm of Jack and Ned Stewart rented office space here. They were the sons of the former Federal Minister of Public Works, Hugh A. Stewart. In 1954, a second law partnership, made up of John Corbett and Howard Musclow, became tenants in the small annex (now demolished) on the south side of this building. In 1956 the two firms were merged and the new firm took the name “Stewart, Corbett & Musclow”. In 1967, Bob Barr joined as the fourth senior partner. The later firm of Stewart, Corbett, Musclow, Barr & Simpson purchased the building in 1976 from the Orange Lodge who had built themselves a new lodge building just to the east of Hubbell’s Building. The law firm took over the entire building for their own purposes, carrying out extensive renovations in 1977.

Presently the two firms of Stewart, Corbett Law Office [John D. Simpson, James N. Eastwood & Michael M. Johnston]  and Michael J. O’Shaughnessy are housed in the building.

Architecturally, Hubbell’s Building is a special example of a large 3-storey office building created in a earlier period of local branch banking. Its present appearance is representative of a style of building erected by the early banks as a symbol of strength and taste.

Historically, it is very hard to determine why this building was built in the first place. As far as can be learned at this point, Dr. Hubbell did not live here at all, or did members of his family. As well as being a medical man, his Interests included operating a grist will on the mill pond west of the Grand Trunk railway station on Perth St.

In any case, this building stands today in a proud position on the edge of
Court House Square and has a lot of tradition contained in its stone walls.