The Coleman-Sheridan Building
Historic Patio Project

The Coleman-Sheridan Building

Connie is a well-known local story-teller and professional who has a passion for the history of the City of Belleville, in particular, the downtown streets.

This story is one of five included in our Historic Patio Project, encouraging those passing through the streets of Downtown Belleville to learn more about its history.

In 1846 Charles Lester Coleman was given a block of land that had been in his family from 1814 to 1917. Charles commissioned the erection of a three-story cut stone building on the 40-foot lot. The Intelligencer newspaper advertised the grand opening 1854 of a new store in the Coleman Block as being operated by W.P. Wilson. 

In the early 1860s, our town held social occasions at ‘Coleman Hall,’ which was on the third floor of the building. This third floor was removed in the 1950s for reasons unknown when Zeller’s Department store owned the building.

Plain stone pilasters divide the facade into five bays, and the sills for the second-story windows create a stepped-out band of stone across the entire face. Between the second-floor windows and would-be third-floor windows are two courses of prominent stepped-out stone running along the width of each bay. The space between the courses of stepped-out stone has a thin rectangular panel carved in them.

Belleville’s downtown Zeller’s Department Store opened its doors at 238-240 Front in the mid-1930s, just before World War 2, when our city boasted a population of 14,500 residents.

In 1945, at the war’s end, a brand new radio station, CJBQ, announced that Zeller’s had a stock of nylons in! Nylons were rationed and virtually non-existent during the war. This shortage created total chaos when the store opened that morning. The ordinarily genteel shoppers grabbed nylons from their neighbour’s carts, shoved them down their bras, and ran back for more. A mob scene scared the employees so much that they called the police for help and locked away the nylons!

The store closed its doors in 1973, and Top Discount Drugs took over the business but closed its downtown location when the new Zellers store opened in the mid-1990s just west of the city limits.

From 1974 to 1978, Top Drug Mart occupied the building, and from 1980 to 2009, Shopper Drug Mart was listed as the tenant of the building. In 2011 Greg and Tina Sheridan opened the newly restored and very successful Cafe Sans-Souci Banquet and Conference Centre at 238- 240 Front Street.

If you would like to read more of Connie’s work about Belleville’s history, check out The Tin Box Memories series.