Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Log Structures in the Village

While the vast majority of buildings at The Point are wood frame (with one notable and not being discussed at this point brick house) structures of one and two stories, there are a number of log homes.  Some like this one on Henry Street are relatively recent and fairly modern in style...

Other new ones, like this example on Irene Avenue, are built to replicate older-style log cabins.

Then there are a few that are much older, like the Golf Club's club house.  In her publication The Village of Sturgeon Point From Incorporation to Amalgamation 1899-2000, Patricia Aspinwall notes that:
"In 1906, a clubhouse was erected on the property.  This was a log cabin purchased from Albert Ellis for $96.00 and moved to its present location by fremont Crandell." [p27] 

The Ellis family owned the farms on the north and south side of County Road 30 (Red Rock Road) at County Road 25 (Sturgeon Point Road), so moving the log cabin over the big hill and straight down the road to the lake would not have been a big challenge.  This cabin is typical of the first log homes built by settlers in the area.  The first generation house would have been a shanty used for the first winter or two.  The second generation house would be a log cabin. The third was a frame house and the fourth might be a brick home or the re-siding of the frame house with brick.

Another early home is tucked in off the Old Sturgeon Point Road.  The road, now just a track, ran from the Lower Warf, up between the buildings of the original Sturgeon Point Hotel, through Dr. Graham's farm, and still comes out just at the property line between the Rutherford and Graham farms, where it joined up with County Road 25.  This road appears in the 1871 and 1877 maps but is not shown on the 1884 map of the village as planned by George Crandell.  For much of the Village's history, the cabin was actually outside of the Village's original boundaries. 

A prior owner advised that when he purchased the home, it originally had a barn.  As they did not require a barn, they sold the building to the Bensons and it was moved to Crandella.

The same prior owner has advised that they purchased the property from the descendant of a sister or daughter of "old, old Mr. Graham".  From the mid-1930s until the mid-1960s, it was owned by a family named Smith and there is some suggestion that he worked at Swananowa as a gardener. While the origins of the hosue are a bit misty, we do know that it is not the original log cabin built by the Graham's in 1866, which stood where the brick farm house now stands.

Graham Family Log House, c1890s

Perhaps most familiar to us is the little log cabin at the top of 1st street. Busy as we are and it is simply part of our visual vocabulary, most of us don't give the cabin much thought unless a visitor inquires. The cabin was built by Gratton Rutherford's father to provide Rev. Archibald Gordon Sinclair with office space to write his sermons.

When A.G. first came to Sturgeon Point, he used to pitch a tent on the Swananowa property, but with a wife and a bevy of daughters a cottage and an office had become necessary. The cabin became his sanctuary – a place to retire and find some peace and quiet – and he would on occasion invite one person in for tea, which was always served on fine English porcelain.
A.G. graduated from the University of Toronto in 1896 along with fellow Sturgeon Pointers - Frances Neelands, James S McLean and Adam F Barr. He obtained his MA from U of T in 1898. Also attending the University of Toronto was John Walker MacMillan who also became a minister and a fellow 1st Street Sturgeon Pointer.

The style of the cabin is much more in keeping with the cabins that A.G. saw in Dawson City, Yukon, where he served for a number of years as the miniter at St. Andrew's.  There the Sinclairs became close and live-long friends with the poet Robert Service.

If you know more about the history of any of these buildings or have any pictures, I would really appreciate learning more.

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