Harmanus “Monty” Crysler was born in 1795 in New York of German heritage. He came to Canada with his parents when he was only several months old.
Monty Crysler became one of the earliest and most prominent of local hoteliers. In 1827, Crysler built the Prospect House on Main Street, which remained in his control until 1837. In 1833, Harmonus Crysler began building the first Clifton House Hotel at the base of Ferry Road (Oakes Garden Theatre). He also, for a period of time, operated the Pavilion Hotel.
In 1841, Harmanus Crysler built his home which he called “Hunter’s Lodge” on a 100 acre parcel of land. His house was located at the corner of Victoria Avenue at Morrison Street (current site of the Niagara Falls Public Library). Crysler’s property was bounded by Morrison Street (north), River Road (east), Jepson Street (south) and Victoria Avenue (west).
In 1857, Crysler put a new street through his property which he named “Simcoe Street”. In July of the same year, he sold an acre of his land to the Town of Clifton school board. This became site of the new Simcoe Street School. This school stood for 113 years before being replaced by a new school with identical name and location.
From 1861 to 1863, Mr. Crysler was a Reeve (Mayor) for the Town of Clifton. In 1843, he was a warden for Stamford Township.
Harmanus Crysler was also known as a clever businessman. In order to supply his cliental of his Clifton House Hotel with ice, he dug a pond along the banks of the Muddy Run Creek. From the creek, he was able to harvest blocks of ice during the winter months. Also his wife, Edna Cook, operated the toll house on Bridge Street near Victoria Avenue for the St. Catharines, Thorold and Niagara Falls Road Company.
Monty Crysler and his wife Edna died in 1884 and are buried at Drummond Hill Cemetery.