Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winchester Hotel

William and Georgina (Atkinson) Ardies rented the Winchester Hotel from
Judge Conmy about 1908 and ran it for many years. This is Georgina and
her daughter Maggie Ardies (scratched-out face) in the kitchen.
[Photo Courtesy: Kent Myrick]
Interior photographs of buildings were not as common a century or more ago as they are today, mainly due to lighting concerns. To come across one of a well-known local business from that time period is definitely a rare treat. The above shot shows the kitchen of the Winchester Hotel in Pembina, originally built by Lucien Geroux1. The photograph was shared with me by a great nephew of the lady on the right, Georgina Ardies.

I didn't realize until I began my recent correspondence with the nephew - Kent Myrick - that the hotel survived as long as it did.  Kent said his father grew up there in the early 1900's...
The Winchester Hotel in Pembina was run by my Dad's "Aunt Eeny", that is, Georgina (Atkinson) Ardies, while my dad was growing up there.
William Ardies was Dad's mother's oldest brother. William's sister Margaret (Ardies) Hensal and her husband George Hensal raised my dad and his brother, (Nathan and Ardies Myrick). She was always called "Auntie Hensal", in the English tradition, instead of using her given name. Probably because the Ardies family came to Pembina by way of Quebec, where they settled when they fled Ireland in the mid-1800s.
She lived in the Winchester for years after being widowed, still lived there in 1949 when we picked her up and took her to live with us. I remember going to that side door of the Winchester which faced Heneman's grocery store.
The mention of Heneman's reminded me of how I knew the store by the time I was growing up - McCall's. It was on the same street as the Spot bar, facing the Pembina River. However, the hotel to its north was long gone - in it's place was a meat locker. Never did I imagine that a grand hotel had once stood there...

Still standing at least until 1949, what was the Winchester's ultimate fate?
1 - Geroux had previously run a much more humble hotel known as the Geroux Hotel in the 1870's, featured in Chuck Walker's SHERIFF CHARLEY BROWN.