I was in the drive through at Tim Horton’s listening to the local news on “The Information Station” when a report came on about an inquest into the death of an inmate at the Windsor Jail.
The jail certainly isn’t one of the most modern facilities and is slated to be closed when the South West Detention Centre opens. The current facility is famous (infamous?) for its awful state. You read in the newspaper about people having their time to be spent there reduced because of the conditions. Over the summer, I discussed this with a friend of mine who used to be a corrections officer and he confirmed that it was indeed in need of closing. Like the Goderich Gaol, it will probably end up being a museum at some point.
The building is really old. It’s on the route home from work but I guess I was just a little curious this morning as I listened to the news report.
How old is it really?
As a good digital citizen, I didn’t pull out my phone while in line (that would be wrong and just the outside of the building is a deterrent…) but I did wait until I got home and did some research. It was very hard to find – there are so many stories about the new facility opening and they dwarf anything else. Then, it dawned on me that perhaps it wasn’t in Windsor when it open? Maybe it was in the town of Sandwich. That searching did appear to be more successful and it looks like it was built behind MacKenzie Hall in 1924.
In the process, I stumbled upon just a wonderful collection of resources for anyone interested in the history of Southwest Ontario.
I think that my interest in history has really been renewed with all of the efforts in recognizing the events of the War of 1812.
The result? I’m really getting a kick, and a lesson, from discovering stories and images from this area.
One of the things that I discovered as I searched for the jail history was this resource hosted by the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor. It’s an archive of images from Ontario’s south west.
Nicely indexed, searches can be done based on community, subject, title, type, date, or the creator.
Many, but not all, of the images are in the public domain so you need to be respectful in the use. I just found that the images tell a fascinating story as I clicked around trying to orient the images to what I know today. I just feel sorry that it took this long to find this resource.
I guess the lesson here is that it’s cool and all that to look at worldly pictures like the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes, the best and more relevant things may be just in your own back yard.