As mentioned in the first blog, the Vendome Hotel was a fine example of Queen Ann Style built in Sarnia, work commencing in August 1892. The man who built the hotel was a Mr. Charles A. Hand, who before building the Vendome had been the proprietor of the St. Clair House. The grand hotel would be constructed on a piece of property owned by Hand at the corner of Front and Cromwell Streets.
The work was completed by the end of the same year. The design was that of T. J. Rutley an architect from Chatham. The Gothic towers and slate roofs, common to the Queen Ann style created a stately look for the new hotel. Fancy wrought iron railings that graced the balconies served not only as decoration, but also had a safety function. A night at the Vendome in the early part of the 20th century was between $1.50 and $2.00 per night, at that time considered an upscale hotel.
Sarnia has a very active community when it comes to the town itself and there are many who belong to groups that look back on the history of Sarnia and not to be missed.
I recently came across several pictures of the Vendome by John Rochon that have a ghost like appearance of the old and the new. The picture above is one of them. I delve into the era when I research and I can almost feel like I am there.
I have no pictures of Uncle Billy other than the one I found from an old newspaper. That is the same for his siblings who were the children of my great grandfather's first marriage. The fire in 1879 in Acton where they were living at the time would have destroyed them.
It took me back to Billy and the hotel.
I also received a picture of the crest that adorned the hotel china. I did have a photo of the crest but I did not know how it was created. This crest was created fusing together the 2 surnames Ryder and Hand through symbols.
Unlike today, there were also many people who lived at the hotel as opposed to owning their own homes. Mrs. Hand and her son lived there as well as many of the staff. Other names that appeared were the chief of Bell Telephone and others with substantial posts in Imperial Oil.
The major industrial city had not that long before it had been just a sleepy village.
While perusing the 1916 directory for Sarnia also sent to me from the same gentleman, I found Mrs. Laura Hand and her son Charles jr. as proprietor and manager of the Vendome. The hotel had many ads throughout the directory touting it as the best hotel in Sarnia.
Charles was the eldest son of the original proprietor of the Hotel.
Later in the 80's the first Lambton County League was termed and baseball was firmly launched. Sarnia competed in a circuit that consisted o£ Petrolia, Forest and Point Edward. Rivalry was intense and expenses were high in the two years the organization lasted Petrolia proved too big a handicap for the clubs in that Lambton League as they did years afterwards in another county loop. First Ball Park
Diamond Park, Sarnia's first enclosed baseball plant, went up during the original Lanibton League days. It was located at the corner of Davis and Forsythe streets and was the scene of some torrid struggles. Sarnia's roster included Peter Clark, Tip O'Neill, Gus Spearman, Jim AlcColl, Bill Ireland, Jack and Roxy Ross, Fred Kelly, Bill Leake, Jim Delany and George Clark. William Ryder was Sarnia's principle baseball backer at the time and Sarnia's nemesis was genial Sam Pollard of Petrolia. Interestingly enough Sam was related to Billy through his sister Emma, who was married to Edward Pollard.
Billy was also involved with hockey and lawn bowling. He headed up the first Little Team with himself and Fred Lougheed as officers.
I also found an interesting little new clipping about Billy from the Sarnia Observer June of 1898.
Following is another picture of John Rochon's Ghosts of Sarnia. I can almost see "Billy" in front of the Hotel.