Windsor Museum hosts historic Riverside walking tour

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Armed with umbrellas and warm coats, a dozen history buffs took a historical walking tour of Riverside on Saturday hosted by Museum Windsor.

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The small group gathered near the Veterans Monument at Farrow Riverside Miracle Park, where they were greeted by Windsor Museum tour guide Walter Petrichyn.

“We come together here because it’s the heart of Riverside,” said Petrichyn. “At the beginning of the 20th century, the city started with the community church, the Church of St. Rose.”

He said the church initially served 150 families after it was built and that by the 1950s the congregation numbered over 1,000 families.

Petrichyn then took the group on a two-hour tour of the area around the church, sharing stories behind the street names, highlighting the neighborhood’s important architecture, and explaining the important relationship of the nearby Detroit River.

“They swam in the Detroit River, they boated and they skated on the river. The hockey teams trained on the river, ”said Petrichyn.

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The walking tour precedes the official reopening of Museum Windsor on Tuesday.

Walter Petrichyn of Museum Windsor is leading the Riverside History Walking Tour on Riverside Drive East on October 30, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

“It’s actually the first thing we did,” museum curator Madelyn Della Valle said of an extended layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour was conducted in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the town of Riverside. It was incorporated in 1921 and annexed by Windsor in 1966.

As part of her research, Petrichyn interviewed Windsor City Councilor JoAnne Gignac, whose family roots run deep in Riverside.

Petrichyn led historical tours through Walkerville, Sandwich West and Ford City.

“As far as I know this is the first time the Windsor Museum has done a Riverside tour and I’m just happy and lucky to be able to do so.”

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