In an innocent search for information regarding Port Arthur’s oldest apartment building, Maudslay Court, I stumbled on misfortune.
As I mentioned, Maudslay Court is Port Arthur’s oldest apartment building – perfectly situated on Court Street, overlooking the McVicar creek. Its gorgeous setting was the ample area to settle down; it was close enough to downtown and just far enough to be one with nature. In 1914 it was the best of both worlds, and really still is to this day.
One particular family of Suite 20 seemed to experience an immense amount of tragedy while living in the building.
Oscar Troostwyk and his wife Mabel lived in the building with their nine year old son, Freddie. Oscar was a prominent businessman within Port Arthur – an accountant and auditor, as well as a Port Arthur Trustee. Not only was he successful in business, he was a honorary Captain of the ninety-sixth Lake Superior Regiment.
On June 30th, 1924 – Freddie Troostwyk wandered off to play, little did anyone know it was in the elevator of the building…
Somehow, Freddie became crushed between the elevator and one of the floors. He was miraculously found alive, and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead the next day.
The Port Arthur News-Chronicle:
The Young lad who was taken to St. Joseph’s General Hospital, immediately following the accident, showed admirable courage for one so young. He never complained and bore his pain and suffering with valiant spirit not usually found in a lad of nine years. Every aid that medical science could suggest was rendered to the lad, but his injuries were such a nature that life was practically despaired following the surgeon’s examination Sunday afternoon.
Side note: Oh my God! I need a bottle of wine writing this. Not sure if I could continue living here, let alone ride the elevator everyday… if I were his parents.
With Troostwyk tragedy, it doesn’t end here, it simply grows.
I later discovered the Troostwyk’s lost their infant son (Jack) prior to the elevator accident, and soon Mabel Troostwyk would become a widow.
Sadly, only two years later, Oscar Troostwyk was rushed from his suite to St. Joseph’s General Hospital, where he died of Peritonitis – resulting from a ruptured appendix.
Some interesting facts about Oscar:
- Born in England, moved to Port Arthur as a young man
- Secretary of the Port Arthur Club
- Warden of St. John’s Anglican Church
- Life Member of the Montreal Athletic Association
- Fellow of the Royal Canadian Institute
I know what you’re thinking… “why is she blogging about something so depressing?”
Good question, I like to keep things upbeat around here, but this was just so incredibly sad and quite shocking – it had to be told. Oscar seemed to be a pretty decent guy and he suffered so much in such a short life. From all the information I read, he was a community man and very devoted to his family and to his church, St. John’s Anglican.
By no means is this a bad light on Maudslay Court, rather a past look into a historic building where everyday people lived. Oscar Troostwyk and his family lived and loved our city long before any of us. Writing about them is a way to honour their memory. Whatever you take from this post, please remember: we all have our stories, we’re all important to someone and we’re all part of our city’s history.
Sources | Information & Photographs:
- The Chung Collection – University of British Columbia
- Thunder Bay Public Library – The Port Arthur News-Chronicle microfiche