Saturday, 31 December 2011

Farewell 2011!

Well... 2011 has been a great for The Sturgeon Point History Project!

We have received hundreds of new images and through the displays at the Canada Day BBQ and the Civic Holiday Running Races, and through this Blog have been able to share a great many of them.  This Blog began the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and since then we have had over 1,660 visits - 900 from Canada, 74 from the US, 40 from the UK, 21 from Germany with additional visitors from Ireland, Indonesia, France, Australia, and Brazil.  Amazingly we had over 100 visitors from Russia - although they might have been looking for a different Sturgeon, they hung around long enough to take a look...

Turn-out and response to the displays at the community events has been very encouraging.  Each event resulted in more information and more images coming to be scanned. 

In addition to the displays at the Point, I gave two talks on Sturgeon Point - one at the Church and one in Fenelon for Kawartha Heritage.  We also participated in community history days at Maryboro Lodge Museum (Fenelon) and at the Lindsay Armouries with the Victoria County Historical Society.

We also had a great deal of luck in tracking down former Sturgeon Point community members and many of them have contributed very early images.  We are now also starting to get home movies (VHS and DVD formats only please!) and I have been threatened with cases of slides - hopefully, I will be able to take those in the near future.

I had a lot of help and while many do not wished to be thanked in a public forum - their help was essential and really appreciated.  My thanks to all the volunteers.  We are looking forward to a terrific 2012!

Thanks for a terrific 2011!  We'll see you all in 2012!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our thoughts go out to all of you on this day...  I hope that Santa found you all as he found a few other community members...

The Rutherford family, 1960

May you all have a wonderful day filled with love and laughter and lots of family and friends, tons of food and football, a few drinks... and a walk around the Point to work it all off...


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve at the Point

Well the prayer for snow has been answered and the ground is covered and everything looks lovely.

The cookies are baked and the gingerbread house is built...

The tree is decorated and presents wrapped... This evening, we will join with many others in the churches in Fenelon for an evening of carols and to hear the Christmas story.  Then home to hang our stockings...

However and wherever you and your family celebrate, my family and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A White Christmas would be nice...

Well here we are on the 22nd of December with nary a snowflake in sight...  It has been raining cats and dogs and I am beginning to think we are going to have a very wet and English Christmas.  So I have turned instead to the archives to look at snowy Point pictures.

This was taken about 1966 or 1967 and gives a side view of the Barrett's...

and then on 2nd Street in 1985...

And that same year on Lake Avenue

And this great one of the Callis family all lined up on the ice in 1956 - and no none of that yet either. 

No hockey games this Christmas but please check-out the SPA website for details about the annual shinny game.

If you have winter pictures at The Point, please send them through.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Horses at The Point

Many of us are used to seeing the cottage name "Obabika" attached to the second drive on the right as we enter The Point.  Originally, it was the name of the cottage at No. 99 Fifth Street belonging to the Jeffers family.  Recently, their daughter was kind enough to send this picture of the cottage before it became a year round home.

It is a great picture for any number of reasons, not the least because it is the only picture we have of saddle horses at The Point.  We have horses drawing carts and wagons, but Sunshine and Torpedo are the only two known saddle horses.

Do you have any pictures of horses at The Point?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

SLSC's new facility taking shape

It was great to drive by this afternoon and see the new building going up at the Sailing Club.  Despite the grey skies and snow squall lines coming though, the guys from Cornerstone were hard at work.

SLSC, December 2011

It made me think of a letter and memorandum I had seen recently dated 29 Nov 1955 from Philip Wisner to John Kennedy in which they discussed the building of the original club house.  It read in part:

"It is planned to erect a building of rough construction, 40' x 18'.  The lower floor will divided into boat storage and dressing rooms and will have four 10' doors.  The upper floor will be one large room, approached by stairs outside of the building.

A cash estimate of costs has been made to include, electrical wiring--sash and doors (old, but adequate window frames and a door are available).

The building is plain, but it will not be an eyesore, as it is a simple structure...

Charlie Grey has made a careful estimate of the cost and he has arranged with the carpenters and other labor required, to work at minimum rates.  The lumber is being supplied by Handley in Fenelon Falls at the lowest price possible and the electrical work will be done by Hartland Clerk on the same basis.

Arthur [Milner] and I feel strongly that the cost must be kept with the contract of $3,000.00 and that a portion of this should be raised by the children next summer.

In order to facilitate this, Grey, Clerk, the carpenters and Handley are willing to wait for part of their wages and material bills."

Philip Wisner concluded:

"... Personally, I think we will all agree that if the sailing club can be a made a going concern it will be a good thing for Sturgeon Point. ..."

The Going Concern - 2011 Mid-Ontarios

If you have pictures of the main Club House, either under construction or in its first years, we would love to see them.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Stalwarts at the Sturgeon Point Hotel

The illustration of the Sturgeon Point Hotel, about 1881, for the travel poster found in Manitoba
Used with permission of the Sturgeon Point Association

The Stalwarts were a faction within the Republican party and had been in favour of President Ulysses S. Grant serving a third term.  However they did support the nomination of James A Garfield, who went on to be President of the United States.  The following article appears in the July 1st, 1881, edition of the Canadian Post:

Rochester Stalwarts at Sturgeon Point Hotel
For a couple of weeks a pleasant company of “Stalwarts” from Rochester, numbering nearly a score, have been spending a holiday at Sturgeon Point Hotel, and a capital time they have had.  They are a decided advance in dimensions on the lean, typical Yankee, being fine large men, most of them handsome too.  They left for home yesterday morning by the early train.  Before leaving they held a meeting in the office of the Sturgeon Point Hotel, when it was unanimously resolved: “That their heartiest thanks were due to Capt. Crawford, of the steamer Norseman, for his untiring efforts to make their trip across Lake Ontario, and their brief stay in Port Hope agreeable; also resolve that the cordial reception tendered them by the mayor, collector, editors, capitalists and other good citizens of Port Hope was highly appreciated, and the same would be cordially reciprocated whenever any or all of the gentlemen should favour Rochester with a visit.  Especially they thank the editor of the Port Hope Guide for his picturesque descriptions of the party; again resolve that Sturgeon Point Hotel and its accommodations, the well wooded park of one hundred acres around it, containing two springs of remarkably cool water, and the beautiful Sturgeon Lake in front, they hope to enjoy many times in the futures, but should this hope never be realized, they would at any rate always remember them with the keenest pleasure and would entertain toward Commodore Crandell, the genial owner of the hotel park, and toward his son, F. Crandell, the manager, feelings of the liveliest gratitude for their vigilant assiduity in ministering to the comfort of their guests.  Furthermore, that the would never fail to advise any of their friends who might be looking out for a cool, picturesque retreat for the summer, where the charges are reasonable, and where there purses would not be incessantly assailed by a hoard of greedy lackeys, by all means come to Sturgeon Point.  Signed,
Col. Brackett, Ex-Mayor of Rochester
L.M. Newton, Collector of Customs
J.E. Morey, Prop. Union and Advertiser
A.G. Wheeler, Police Justice
D.J. Hunt, Postmaster
Wm. Mudgett, Banker
Dean Stuart, Judge
D.S. Benjamin, Professor
J.H. Howe, Carpet Merchant
E.A. Frost, County Clerk
H.S. Hebard, Prop., Hebard Marble Works
W.C. Ellis, Lawyer
R.F. Takkman, County Clerk
A. McWhorter, Keeper of State Penetentiary
D. Richmond, Civil Engineer

It is a fascinating list of who was who in Rochester... but it does beg who was minding the shop while the boys were all out of town.  The poster of the hotel that was found in Manitoba dates to this period of time.  It lists the costs of coming from Rochester:

Then this appears in the Canadian Post on 8 July 1881:

Mr. Morey of the Rochester Union and Advertiser, one of the “stalwarts” lately at the Sturgeon Point Hotel, has written an interesting account of his trip and sojourn at the Point, from which we make this extract:- “The train took the party to Lindsay, forty miles from Port Hope, where a steamer was in readiness to convey them to Sturgeon lake, a beautiful stretch of water some fifteen miles long, it bold shores being diversified by every variety of beautiful scenery.  The party landed at Sturgeon Point hotel, that being its destination.  The hotel stands upon a bluff overlooking the lake, in the midst of a fine tract of one hundred acres of primitive oak forest, which form the outlying grounds for this beautiful summer resort.  Two large living springs of pure cold water are at hand to slake the thirst of the pleasure-seeker.  The hotel is the property of Com. Crandell, and his don Fremont, conducts the same in a manner entirely satisfactory to their guests.  The Rochester party remained at Sturgeon Point and vicinity six days, spending time in fishing, sailing and other amusements.  The maskinonge and black bass were plenty, and many were captured.  The hotel proprietors did much to make their guests happy.  The hotel was supplied with all that could be desired.  The hosts gave the party two steamboat excursions to exhibit the scenery of the locality.  One was made to Pigeon lake, about fifteen miles distant, where the day was spent very pleasantly."

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Wilds of Sturgeon Point

Often you hear the children talk about the Sturgeon Point Forest or watch them with glee as the tramp through the woods behind the park.  While the adults worry about poison ivy, the children have become indians slipping silently though the woods to ambush the peacefully chatting mothers. 

Before the gypsy moths struck in the mid 1990s, Sturgeon Point was much more heavily wooded but images such as the following remind us that landscape has become slightly tamed...  The location on the Point for this image is not known, but the metal railing running behind the two men in the top hats is similar to surviving pipe fences...

Dr. Jacob Neelands (on the chair) with his son Ernest Neelands
The other three men are as yet unidentified
Courtesy of the Neelands family

So when thinking about Christmas gifts this year... perhaps we should all be asking for a tree...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lot 11, Lake Avenue

The Land Registry Office can be a great place to go and spend an afternoon.  This week I was looking at Lot 11, Lake Avenue - currently the lot where the Kennedy's have their guest cabin.

The Lot was first sold on 31 July 1884 by Franklin Crandall of Lindsay to Thomas Stewart of Lindsay.  A month later, it was sold on 1 Sept 1884, by Thomas Stewart to Edmund Gregory of Lindsay.

Edmund Gregory owned a drug store in Lindsay.  He had married Mary Wright of Lindsay in June of 1867 and they had one daughter and five sons – Ethelwyn (b. 1868), Alfred (b. 1869), William (b. 1872), Henry (b. 1874), Arthur (b. 1880) and Frank (b. 1883). 

They built the original two story white cottage.  Edmund died in February of 1892 and the family was able to keep the cottage for two more summers before selling it in September of 1894.  The only known picture of the cottage dates to after 1907 and shows the boathouse built by later owners.

The estate of Edmund Gregory sold the property on 13 Sept 1893 to Ernest McGaffey.

Ernest McGaffey was a dry goods merchant in Lindsay.  A life long bachelor, he shared his home with his older sister, Emma McGaffey.  On 30 Dec 1897, the property is transferred to Emma Gregory.

Emma Gregory sold the property on 27 May 1907 to Marjorie F.S. Jones.

Marjorie Campbell Jones was the daughter of Sir Alexander Campbell, Postmaster General of Canada and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.  Sir Alexander had attended the Royal Grammar School in Kingston with Sir John A MacDonald.  He articled under John Cassidy and then MacDonald, before the two men became partners in the law firm MacDonald & Campbell.

Sir Alexander also served in MacDonald's cabinet.  While his "achievements as a cabinet minister were minor, some of his administrative decisions had wide ramifications.  He was minister of justice when Louis Riel was captured in 1885.  Under no circumstances did Campbell want the Metis leader tried in Winnipeg.  As he explained to MacDonald, Riel "should be sent under safe guard to Regina, and there be tried before Hugh Richardson and a jury of six, under the North West Territories Act," by which a prisoner was not entitled to a mixed anglophone and francophone jury.  A trial in Winnipeg, especially with some French-speaking jurymen, could easily have let to a verdict other than guilty, an outcome regarded by Campbell as a possible "miscarriage of justice."  With such a verdict Canada might have been spared the crisis surrounding Riel's execution or experienced a quite different one." [source: ]  This is of interest because the Jones' neighbours at Sturgeon Point included Major General Dr. Sterling Ryerson who had served on the Canadian Militia at the Battle of Batoche and who had treated Louis Riel.

During her father's time as Lieutenant Governor (appointed Feb 1887/died in office 1892), during his occupancy of Government House, Marjorie acted as his official hostess and "performed the social duties incident to her position with grace and tact."  The vice-regal residence, or Government House, was built in 1870 at the south-west corner of Simcoe and King Streets - across the street from Upper Canada college.  It was closed in 1912, and Marjorie and her husband attended the final state dinner.  It was replaced by Chorley park in Rosedale which opened in 1925. 

Government House - Vice Regal Residence, 1890 by Josiah Bruce
Corner of Simcoe & King Streets, Toronto - where Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall now stand
Archives of Ontario, Item # F1125-1-0-0-87

On 3 July 1894 Marjorie was married at St Thomas Church (Anglican) Toronto by Rev J. Charles Roper to William Wallace Jones.  Wallace was born on August 30th 1863, Toronto, one of ten children of Clarkson Jones and Zippa Simpson Roebuck. He was also a lawyer initially with a practice in the Gananoque-Brockville area. About 1900, they settled in Toronto where he initially joined Robert Simpson Co as a legal consultant.

They appear in the Toronto Blue Books in 1903-1904, 1906 and 1910
     Jones, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wallace (Campbell)
     5 Wellesley place
     Receives Monday

It is not known if the Jones’ made any additions to the original Gregory cottage, but they did build the boathouse.
The Jones Boat house, 1935 by Adam F. Barr
Courtesy of the Barr family

In May 1930, Marjorie Jones sold the property to Henry Eber Smith, who sold it several days later to Col. Eric Philips, who owned Lots 12 and 13, next door to the east.  Phillips took the cottage down but kept the original barn, using it as a garage.  A staff house was originally built at the back property line of Lot 12 and after the property was sold to Fred Connell, it was moved to the front of Lot 11 to be used as a guest house.

In 1935, Adam F. Barr, the neighbour to the west, looked at either purchasing the Jones’ boathouse or building a similar boathouse on Lot 10.  He took the only known detailed photographs of the boathouse.

The Jones Boat house, 1935 by Adam F. Barr
Courtesy of the Barr family

The boat house did not survive.  By the early 1940s when the Connell family bought the property, all that remained was a pile of timber and a snake.  Eventually a retaining wall was built and painted blue.  The old decking was filled with cement and it became known as the "Blue Dock".

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It's A Small World...

We all laugh and joke that there are only three degrees of separation here at The Point, but still there are occasions when the small world leads us down some interesting paths.  The one began with this gorgeous wedding picture of Mina Flavelle Barrett with her bridesmaid. 

Her bridesmaid (girl on the left) is Valda Bonnick, whose parents owned one of Toronto's grand Jarvis Street houses that once stood where Mt. Pleasant now feeds into Jarvis.  Their gardens were where the Rogers Building now has its lobby.  Valda Bonnick went on to marry David E. Kennedy of Guelph, Ontario, in 1911.  In the 1940s, their nephew John Kennedy and his wife, Betty, came to cottage at The Point. 

Small world...

Morning Smile

I had the pleasure of chatting this week with Bill Garden.  His family once owned the north part of lot 108/ south part of lot 109 on 5th Street.  It had been a number of years since he had been back to visit but he asked after a large number of people and was really surprised at how many were still here.  He was full of some amazing stories, but this one really made me laugh.

Bill had been working at the Lake View Inn guiding Americans who had come up to fish.  One morning, he took one of the guests out and the man caught a huge muskie.  The gentleman immediately pulled out his gun and fired six time.  Completely missed the fish but put six large holes in the boat, which immediately started to sink.  Bill got them back to shore just in time.

From the Cave family collection

If you have any stories or pictures about The Lake View Inn, we'd love to hear them.

Summer 1947

Jack Fee on his bike

Update - December 2nd, 2011

Ian K e-mailed to add:

I remember the Lake View Inn.... the soda fountain was on the left as you face the front. It had the shiny chrome surround leather top (red) round fixed seats along the counter which ran parallel to the right inside wall. Great sundays and milk shakes with the milk coming from the Rutherford farm. I would often ride there with Tim & Mike S to the Parlor and meet Paddy there. I seem to recall there were some peculiar circumstances when it burn down...

If you can add details to the "circumstances" please add a comment or drop the History Project an e-mail.