Several months ago I was pawing through a box of photos in a shop and a small b&w snapshot caught my eye. It featured an old bus making its way up a long icy road with several buildings in the background, one that included the bottom edge of a painted sign that read The Park Hotel. The weather, lay of the land and the fact that I found it in a box containing military photos suggested it could have been taken in the prairies sometime during the 1930’s or 40’s.
My initial research turned up nothing so at the end of November I decided to take advantage of The Astonishing Power of Flickr and post my mystery photo to the What’s that Picture? group. At about the same time I was scanning some old wartime photos of my girlfriend’s maternal grandfather who served and died in the final weeks of World War II. I posted them (privately) to Flickr so that she and her brother (the family historian) could check them out.
A few days after Christmas a What’s that Picture? group member solved the mystery behind the ‘Street With No Name’. It was in fact Manitoba Avenue in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan and with that information I was able to pin the photo to Historypin. Mission accomplished and end of story, right? Well, no.
Last night my girlfriend’s brother was trying to download the photos I posted of his maternal grandfather who died in the Netherlands in April 1945. I encouraged him to sign up for a free Flickr account and added him to my contacts list. While do so he discovered the picture of the Park Hotel on Manitoba Avenue. A few moments later he emailed me the obituary I’ve included here. Remarkably his paternal grandfather died while working in the Park Hotel in 1942!