TOWER TERMINAL INN
The Tower Terminal existed only 13 years the on the site on the currently occupied by the Canadian entrance of the Rainbow International Bridge.
In the Fall of 1927, the Tower Terminal Inn was built to provide a new passenger terminal for the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Electric Car Line. It was built along the west side of River Road with the front of the terminal facing River Road and the Niagara Gorge.
Formerly this street car line had a terminal at the base of Bridge Street, where passengers could then board the International Railroad Company (IRC) or Great Gorge Railway.
The Tower in was built in the fashion of a Tudor (Elizabethan era) style. Constructed of stone, this building consisted of three stories.
The top of this building boosted a small tower from which with look-out balconies on three sides provided visitors with a panoramic view of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
Access to the top of the tower was gained by a staircase. It also housed a restaurant and gift shop. The building also served as the terminal for Gray Coach Bus Lines.
The building was designed by architect, Mr. J. Schofield of the Canadian National Railway and was built under the direction of engineer, Mr. E. W. Oliver, the NS&T operations manager.
The Tower Inn was completed and officially opened in July of 1928. The terminal became the center hub of three sets of street car rail lines.
In 1927, the subterranean cut known as Newman Hill which was named after former Niagara Falls Mayor, Charles Newman was extended from Victoria Avenue to the newly created Falls Avenue.
Today this area is part of a subterranean four-lane section of Roberts Street, which extends from Victoria Avenue to Falls Avenue. One half of Newman Hill consisted of tow sets of trolley rails which connected the Tower Terminal Inn to the NS&T trolley line located on Victoria Avenue. The other half of the Newman Hill cut contained two lanes for automobile traffic.
When the Queen Elizabeth Highway traffic circle was built at the western end of Niagara Falls in 1939-1940, the trolley rail bed on Newman Hill was removed and converted for automobile traffic in 1941.
The existence of the Tower Terminal Inn was short in duration. A number of negative factors directly contributed to its end.
The collapse of the Falls View Bridge on January 27th 1938 and the closing of the International Railway Company were the primary factors. The 1932 Clifton Hotel fire and the subsequent demolition of the Lafayette Hotel amounted to the final factors which hasten its demise.
Following the demolition of the Lafayette Hotel, the Tower Terminal Inn stood alone in what was once a busy and thriving neighbourhood.
The replacement Rainbow International Bridge was designed to connect directly to the Queen Elizabeth Highway.
On September 27th 1940, the Tower Terminal Inn was closed and demolished.
The Prince of Wales Club owned and operated by Andy Melbourne and other businesses in the same area were also demolished in the name of progress.
The Rainbow International Bridge opened in May of 1942. A new bus terminal was built on a portion of the former Tower Inn Terminal site with its entrance on Falls Avenue.
Today, much of the landscape has changed. All the remnants of the Tower Terminal Inn and the electric railways have long since disappeared.
Date last updated:
February 13, 2012
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TOWER TERMINAL INN