Archives: old factory

studebaker

When I used to work in the North End I would sometimes bike between the Bennetto and Keith neighbourhoods crossing over the tracks at Victoria Avenue. Taking a few neighbourhood side streets, to avoid the industrial highway of Burlington Street East, I would always pass by a huge old abandoned factory. You would’ve seen it too if you’d ever driven down that way.

On Victoria Avenue North past the General Hospital and just before Burlington Street East you would’ve seen the old Studebaker factory. It’d be hard to miss. It was a 4 block monstrosity of a factory, where in all honesty at least 3 football fields could’ve fit inside its 7.5 acre lot. I used to marvel at it every time I passed by.

photo taken from www.studebakerhistory.com

 

Like many of the older factory and industrial spaces tucked into Hamilton’s landscape this one too had been empty for some time. The last Studebaker to be rolled off the production line at this factory was in 1966.

Studebaker 1946 -image from www.curbsideclassic.com

 

image from www.cursideclassic.com

 

Recently there was some talk of the space being repurposed as a film studio (would’ve been awesome). But as per the fate of many of these industrial relics, it is currently in the process of being torn down. A new industrial complex will be built in its spot. (for more info see an article from The Spec here).

Just last week I paid my respects to that old factory. It is currently being torn down to the ground into a rubble of red Hamilton bricks. I was able to snap some photos of whatever reminants of it that remained.

In its former industrial incarnations it housed production for everything from Otis elevators to the classic Studebaker -it was even used a weapons factory during World War I and II!

the studebaker factory getting plowed down to the ground

I was happy to note that the corner portion of the building will remain intact to be a repurposed as part of the new industrial development.

Not to mention, I was pleased to see that it wouldn’t end up as just another brown field like the one directly across the street from the Studebaker lot.

 

Hamilton, the times they are a changing.

 

 

 

270 sherman

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of finally checking out 270 Sherman – the old Imperial Cotton Mill in the north-east end of town – which has been transformed into artist’s studios and other creative spaces. The area has a real historic industrial Hamilton feel and I was intrigued by the neighbouring buildings.

I wondered a little about how 270 Sherman came to be what it is today and had heard a rumour once that someone from the Zeidler family may have bought the building.  FYI – the Ziedler family own both 401 Richmond and The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto.  The transformation of 270 Sherman into a creative space would then all make sense, knowing that 401 Richmond is a transformed industrial space that is now home to artist’s studios and galleries, as well as various other creative workspaces.  And The Gladstone is a refurbished boutique hotel that supports the Queen West art scene with gallery exhibitions, Come Up to My Room, and numerous other artistic events.  Hmmm… I wonder.  The rumour was recently dispelled as I learnt from a reader and staff member from 270 Sherman that in fact the building is locally developed and managed by The Crerar Group from right here in Hamilton. Sorry for any perpetuating of false rumours!

In any case I loved the 1900′s turn of the century factory -what a fabulous space!  According to its history Hamilton was apparently not just a steel town but also a garment and textile town too with a multitude of textile factories spattered throughout the city.  In the building there were still remnants of the former factory: old worker’s lockers, patches on the hardwood floor where the workers and factory machines treaded, and the steel plates on each of the steps leading up to the factory floor boldly embossed with Imperial Cotton Co. Ltd. 1900.

270 Sherman, Hamilton, Ontario

I was also really excited to check out the TH&B (2) exhibit that was being put on in the old factory space of 270 Sherman.  I wasn’t living in Hamilton for the first TH&B but had read about it, and so I was super excited to kill two birds with one stone by seeing the building space and opening night of TH&B2 all in one go!  The opening was amazing!  A great show of support for the arts from local Hamiltonians.  A bus load of folks from Toronto’s OCAD even came for the opening night.  It felt so good to be a part of something like this, and to know that there ARE great artistic things happening in this city.

I enjoyed the exhibit and the building so much that I wanted to check it out again in the day light for Doors Open Hamilton.  Here are some of the day-time photos of the exhibit and the building.

The night of the opening behind David Hind and the Aluminum Quilting Society’s piece there was some live aluminum quilting going on.  The artwork above is actually the front of a mini enclosed workspace, where artists were working to etch and engrave steel plates live!  It was pretty cool. Throughout the gallery space and the opening you could hear the industrious muted sound of metal being ground and worked.

The TH&B2 exhibit is on until May 12th.

 

*270 Sherman Ave. North, 905.547.8256

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