Day 3: Tully’s Restaurant

Tully's Restaurant

Tully’s Restaurant was located at 20 Cross Street and opened sometime between 1948 and 1950. The Tulumello brothers, Peter and Michael, owned and operated Tully’s throughout the 1950s. Their other brother Joseph was also involved in the business. Their brother Anthony Tulumello became a dentist with his office located on the same street. Before the restaurant was established, Peter, Michael, and Joe Tulumello were the proprietors of Checker Cabs and United Cabs. While the restaurant was in operation they continued to operate their taxi business, although United Cabs changed to United Taxi.

This image shows the interior of Tully’s in the 1950s. The woman on the left is unknown, while the woman on the right is Zorina Putnik, who later married Dr. Anthony Tulumello. In 1960, Tully’s Restaurant was no longer listed at the address, instead being replaced by Charlie’s Restaurant for a short time and then Colombo Caterers for a year – a business which also featured Joseph Tulumello.

The bar seating seen in this image is iconic of diners in the 1950s and 60s. Diners became popular in the post-World War II period as an easy way to start a small business. As diners were originally wagons, train cars, or trailers, bar seating was used to save room in the small area. Companies even made prefabricated buildings to sell as diners.

*Please note that changes to this tour have been made due to additional resources being provided to the Museum.

Day 2: A&W Riverside Drive

A&W Riverside Drive circa 1960s

The A&W drive-in has an iconic place in North American history that causes many people to reminisce on the golden days. A&W opened its first Canadian drive-in restaurant in 1956 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A&W drive-ins became much more than just a place to eat. These spots were community hangouts in many towns and also had a large influence with local car enthusiasts. Iconic features, such as root beer served without ice in a chilled mug and the Great Root Bear, helped to make A&W even more popular.

The A&W on Riverside Drive was first listed in the city directory in 1962 and was a popular spot for those in Welland as well as nearby cities. Many people can remember working at A&W, going for dinner with their family, or even meeting their future spouses while hanging around the restaurant. The drive-in on Riverside Drive was also memorable for its feature of “pole sitters” in the 1960s. Pole sitters sat on top of telephone poles or sign poles for extended lengths of time to show endurance. There were records held on the length of time upon the pole, although some of the events were political statements or protests.

The A&W was renovated in the summer of 1976 to become Gillespie Pontiac. Gillespie Pontiac continued on the property, ultimately receiving word of their closure from GM in 2009. The property is currently the site of Welland Honda and some members of the public have claimed that walls of the original A&W building are still within.

Day 1: Fowler’s Café

Fowler's Cafe

Fowler’s Café was located at 145 East Main Street, on the corner of East Main Street and Hellems Avenue. The two story wooden building was built in the early 1900s and was torn down in the 1950s. The corner lot remains empty today, with a large mural of the Welland Club painted on the side of the building next to it.

W. B. Fowler was listed as proprietor of the restaurant in 1917. In 1937, Pearl Fowler was listed as the owner as she had become a widow. Fowler’s Café was sold for $1,500 to a group of partners in the late 1930s and by 1939 was renamed Majestic Lunch. The restaurant then changed to the United Café in the 1940s and remained the same until it was demolished.

We are fortunate to have an original advertisement listing information for “meal tickets” at Fowler’s Café. Meal tickets were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s with young single workers. These workers would be employed in such roles as store clerks, office workers, or secretary positions. They often lived alone in boarding rooms that did not have kitchens and would frequently dine at local restaurants. Restaurants would sell meal tickets as a week’s worth of meals at a discount. Fowler’s Café sold meal tickets for 21 meals at a price of $5.50, meaning each meal was only around 26 cents. This would be $85.25 in today’s money, with each meal costing $4.03. This would have been a discount from the regular price of the meals. Meal tickets resurged in popularity in post-World War II Europe, as companies offered them as a benefit to employees (they were tax free) and to avoid having to build lunch areas in the workplace.