Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Old Postcard Wednesday--The Old Charming Inn, Victoria, B.C.

In 1913 my grandparents sold their home and property in Kansas City, Missouri, and began what would become a lifetime of moves, as my restless grandfather considered each move an opportunity to better their condition. Before calling numerous U.S. cities home that first move, the one from Kansas City, was to Victoria, B.C. This was before my mother was born, and the family at that time included my grandfather's two girls from his first marriage (wife deceased), and the three boys from his marriage to my grandmother, Nellie. The eldest boy was Jim, who 35 years later would mail this postcard to his widowed mother Nellie when he and his wife traveled to Victoria, B.C.

Note his message to her discusses that the building on the postcard (The Old Charming Inn) was known in his boyhood days as the Oak Bay Hotel, and that it was located across the street from where they lived! Nellie's handwriting is at the top of the card, noting the former hotel name and including a request to "return" it to whomever it was that she shared it with. I loved seeing her handwriting with the same ink color that she used in all her letters to my mother when I was a kid. No one else wrote in that color, and I thought that was because it was the color of her eyes and made for her alone.

I've been unable to find history indicating when the Oak Bay Hotel closed and The Old Charming Inn began operating.
I have found that there is an Oak Bay Beach Hotel located off Beach Drive that has enjoyed a status reputation since 1938. It must have acquired the use of a portion of the former Oak Bay Hotel's name after the latter became The Old Charming Inn. One thing is absolute, however, as proven by this video and that is that The Old Charming Inn was demolished in 1962.

The person who submitted this video at YouTube included these notes: This is a regular 8mm movie that my Dad took of the demolition of The Old Charming Inn on Beach Drive in Oak Bay. The condo that took its place is called the Rudyard Kipling after the author, who once stayed there.


For a real estate ad featuring a condo in the current Rudyard Kipling building found on the site where The Old Charming Inn once stood, click here. There are views of Oak Bay from inside the condo. It's interesting to see the view that guests once enjoyed while staying at The Old Charming Inn and at its predecessor in my grandparents' day, the Oak Bay Hotel.


Carlos said...

It is always interesting to know about our grandparents' past. Yes, the ink is beautiful and so must have been the eyes. By the way, I understand perfectly how it feels when you say in your profile that you had a dream of being seated at the bottom of lake Tahoe. I have dived often and staying there watching surface from below is one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences in this world. I do like your profile words.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I think the joy of history is to discover it yourself - it must have been amazing to find this postcard and then discover the history of the associated place.

In my family i've had 30 years of my great-grandfather this-and-that to the point where i didn't want to know anymore. I don't think my dad will ever understand that he should just have left me to discover it myself!

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

For a condo!?!? Argh.......I much rather stay at that quaint little inn.

Mibsy said...

Beautiful old inn, I was sad to see it demolished! My grandfather also had the moving bug just as you describe, always moving his family to a "better" place. Hey, this gives me an idea for a post...someday!

francessa said...

The views from the Rudyard Kipling building are wonderful - the condo is not!! Ugly thing! What a shame that charming inn couldn't have been preserved. It looks so stable and cozy!

Katie said...

Delightful to see this postcard and read more about your grandparents. It's so nice to have such a solid connection to one's past. I too was heartbroken to see such a beautiful inn being knocked down. Sigh.

Lydia said...

I appreciate your thoughtful and kind comments. Diving must be so spectacular; thanks for appreciating the underwater beauty for those of us who haven't done that!

Uncovering that Victoria B.C. history really was amazing; also, once again I'm thankful for YouTube! I do hear what you're saying about feeling inundated with family stories. After my mother passed away, I uncovered some mysterious and meaningful pieces of information about her and her family on my own. She'd given me solid background stories but never told me about these particular things, and I think that's because they didn't interest her - - - but they were and are fascinating to me!

WW and Francessa,
You both keyed in on the condo aspect of the piece, and I agree it was a total shame to replace the charming inn with that really ugly condo. And the price for the units? Ridiculous!

Mibsy and Katie,
You both keyed in on the grandparent aspect of the piece. One thing I've enjoyed as an adult is developing my own "relationship" with my grandparents, long after their deaths, by discovering things about them that are special to me.



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