Saturday, 31 March 2012

March is going out like a lion...

With all that gorgeous weather mid-March there is something normalizing by having a snowstorm last night.  Nothing serious and barely a skiff on the ground but a reminder that we normally still have ice in the lake.

Research has slowed at this point as we work to get the doll cottage completed for the Easter weekend and the launch of the raffle.  The doll cottage will be on display at the Park during the Easter Eggstravaganza on  April 7th (start time 1:00pm with the Easter Egg hunt beginning at 1:30pm).

Campbell Doll Cottage
Based on #25 1st Street, Sturgeon Point
Designed by Liane Kennedy.  Built by Jason Vehrs.

And another peak inside...
Interior of the Campbell Doll Cottage
Tickets for the Raffle will be $5 each or 5 for $20.  The draw will take place Saturday, August 11th at the Sturgeon Point Union Church.  The money raised will go to support the History Project's work.

On a slightly different topic, with Easter coming many of you will be coming north.  The History Project is collecting images of "Sturgeon Point on the Water" for the Canada Day display and of 2nd Street for the Civic Holiday display.  We hope that you have spent the winter looking through your albums and have some great images for us.  Please drop us a line or give us a call if you have any pictures.

And if you kindly left albums in my care last Fall, I need to be getting them back to you.  So if you are up, please swing by or give me a call.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Ice is Out!

It is an amazing thing to see the lake ice free this early and to listen to the migrating birds coming in...  The ice went out on the morning of Friday March 23rd.  I have been told that it is the earliest on record.

I went and checked Anne Langton's journals to see if there was anything noted:

Wednesday, April 10th  It has been raining heavily the greatest part of to-day, which will help the opening of the lakes.  This event takes place rather early this year.  The 12th of April is the soonest John has known it, the 7th of May the latest.

Friday, April 12th  This morning I thought there was as much ice on the lake as yesterday, but a breeze sprang up soon after breakfast and in a few minutes it had all floated out of sight.  There is not a vestige left, though I suppose lower down the lake will still be covered.  John has been preparing his canoe for a paddle up to the Falls tomorrow.  I hope that he will bring down some letters.
(Source:  A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada - The Journals of Anne Langton, edited by H.H. Langton, pp87-88)

The Front Road is open again past the Upper Warf and we are seeing more people coming back to open up.

A reminder to all to keep the speeds down on the roads - the kids are all out and wobbly on their bikes after a winter's inaction.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The History Project's 2012 Fundraiser

As mentioned in an earlier posting, The Sturgeon Point History Project will be raffling off a doll cottage built to replicate the Campbell Cottage - #25 1st Street.

The doll cottage is now built! Here is a teaser...

The Doll Cottage
Designed by Liane Kennedy / Built by Jason Vehrs

A Peek Inside the Doll Cottage
Designed and furniture by Liane Kennedy / Built by Jason Vehrs
The doll cottage will be on display at the Easter Eggstravagenza in the Park on the Saturday of Easter Weekend (please see the SPA website for details). Tickets will go on sale that day at a rate of $5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20.  Tickets will be on sale for most of the summer and the draw will take place on August 11th at the end of the Speakers Series.

We look forward to your support!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sturgeon Point artist Joan Horsfall Young

Joan Horsfall Young is honoured to have two of her extraordinary paintings included in two prestigious and juried art shows.  If you are going to be in Los Angeles, we hope that you will be able to attend the shows.

Three Onions
by Joan Horsfall Young
oil on board   6" x 6"    $525

The painting Three Onions will be shown at the 101st Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the Autry National Center (4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027) from April 1-22, 2012.

The Osprey
by Joan Horsfall Young
oil on linen    30" x 20"     $2,900
The second painting, The Osprey is currently being shown at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (Barnsdale) (4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027) through May 6, 2012.

We wish Joan all the best and hope to see a gold medal hanging in the Museum. 

If you would like to see more of her art work, please take the time to look through her website at

Saturday, 10 March 2012

1885 Letter to the Editor

Printed in Toronto on 7 Aug 1885

To the Editor of The Mail.

Sir, - I have read your editorial in to-day’s Mail on “The Holiday Season and Summer Resorts” with unusual interest, for the fact that you seem to be trying to divert the Toronto tourists in this direction.  In enumerating the beautiful Canadian places for summer resorts you have omitted, perhaps, the most beautiful of all – Sturgeon Point – and certainly the most convenient for the people of Toronto.  The Sturgeon Point hotel, under the excellent management of its present well-known and gentlemanly proprietor Mr. Dunham, is fast becoming a popular resort for tourists.  The point is a lovely place; free from musquitos and sand flies, cool and healthy, with communication twice a day with Lindsay by boat.  The point is so desirable a place that eight permanent summer residences have been built in the vicinity of the hotel by gentlemen of Lindsay and are now occupied by their families.  On leaving Toronto by the morning train the point is reached at 3pm, and by leaving Toronto at 4pm the hotel is reached at 9pm.  On leaving the point in the morning Toronto is reached by 11am, almost in time for the day’s business.  If any of my friends in Toronto who may be about to take a holiday trip, and may not be able to afford to climb the mountains of Switzerland or go a great distance from home, and may have any doubt whether “the home article be as good as the foreign one” let them give the benefit of the doubt in favour of the point, and I am sure they will be pleased.
Yours, etc.

WM. Logan
The Rectory, Fenelon Falls, Aug. 3

The Sturgeon Point Hotel, built 1876

I love that the Rev Logan points out the ease and speed of the trip.  That you could climb on a train in Toronto.  Travel by rail, changing trains in Cobourg, all the way to Lindsay... then take the ferry across the lake and accomplish it all in the space of 5-hours is impressive! 

Lake steamer loading passengers at the Lower Warf in front of the Hotel
Rev. William Logan was the minister of St. James Anglican in Fenelon Falls.  He was born in Scotland in 1824.  He died in Toronto on 10 April, 1896.  His wife was Margaret and they had six known children: Margaret, Charles, Kathleen, and the twins John & William.  The family appears in the Canadian Census for Fenelon Falls in 1871, 1881 and 1891.  They would have be part of the second Anglican Church - the one that now stands is the third church.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Arriving by Train...

Ian K recently told me a story about piling into his mother's car in the late 1940s and early 1950s to go into Fenelon to collect his father off the Friday evening train.

Fenelon Falls Train Station, 1957
From the station, they would drive back over the bridge...

Bridge over Fenelon Falls, 1960
Courtesy of Photographic History of Kings Highway 121
 Through Fenelon Falls...

Colborne Street, Fenelon Falls - 1950s
Interesting how different Colborne Street looks without the unattractive IGA building (now the very useful Bargin Shop) which replaced the attractive red brick buildings on the right of the image.

They would then drive out of town and come down County Road 25/The Sturgeon Point Road, coming up and over the Fenelon Hill...

Looking south down the Fenelon Hill, 1940s
Courtesy of the Thake Family

And into the Village and home...

Do you have pictures of the Fenelon Railway or of Fenelon Falls?  We'd love to see them!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

John E Dunham & The Sturgeon Point Hotel

Everyday, I learn something new about the history of our community.  It is what makes this project so exciting.  Recently, I told you all that one of our community members had the original Sturgeon Point Hotel register.  I have been photographing each page and this book alone could result in a couple of years worth of research... however it was the names that surprised me.  Here is the much written inside leaf:

The original writing on the page says:
Sturgeon Point Hotel
JE Dunham
Below that it says:
Sturgeon Point
Geo Crandall

The next page was much clearer in attributing ownership:

In September 1878 when this book was first used, the hotel's owner was J.E. Dunham.  Now I already knew that a E.H. Dunham had bought the hotel from Crandell in 1881, but I had not been aware of the Dunham family's prior ownership.

John E. Dunham was born in Oswego, NW on 15 Aug 1818.  The second son of the Methodist minister Rev William Dunham and his wife Esther Himes.  John married Susan Carpenter Hubbard (1813-1900) on 4 July 1844.  They had four children: Eber Hubbard Dunham (b.11 Jan 1846, Oswego), William Earl Dunham (b. 13 Jun 1853, Montreal /unmarried /d. Montreal), Walter Jerome Dunham (b.8 Nov 1856, Montreal/ unmarried/ d. Buffalo), and Frances Isabella Dunham (b. 1858, died young).

John's obituary from the Oswego Daily Times of Monday December 19, 1892 (p8) clearly laid out the timeline that brought him to Sturgeon Point.

"Death of John E. Dunham
Mr. C.H. Bond received a telegram from Kingston, Ontario, announcing the death of John E. Dunham, proprietor of the British American Hotel in that city, which occurred on Saturday last (17 Dec 1892).  Mr. Dunham was well known in this city.  For several years he was landlord of the hotel at Seneca Hill.  He left there in 1870 and entered into the employ of O.M. Bond & Co of this city, as foreman and for several years continued in that position at Lindsay, Ont.  Subsequently he went into the hotel business at Sturgeon Point, near Lindsay, and later at Lindsay.  From there he went to Cobourg, where he was the proprietor of the Arlington House.  His next venture was as landlord of the British American Hotel in Kingston, as landlord of which he remained for several years, and till the time of his death.  the remains will be brought here for internment, and will arrive this evening.  Mr. Dunham had many friends here and his death will be regretted by them."

O.M. Bond & Co were lumber merchants based out of the Lake Ontario port of Oswego, NY. and John Dunham had been their man in Lindsay.  We have a tendency to forget that this area was opened because of the vast timber reserves and that millions of feet of lumber went out of here to the US and Britain each year. Oswego was a key player in this because the Oswego Canal was a branch of the Erie canal system and was also a hub for the railway.

This picture of the lumber booms going out across the lake comes from the Phipps family album.  The raft with the tents on them are more easily picked out.  In the 1870s the lumber industry went into a serious decline because of the protectionist policies of the US government and men like John Dunham scrambled to find other ways to support their families.

So it looks like Crandell, who built the hotel in 1876 ran it for two seasons before selling it to Dunham at the end of the second season.  However, Dunham does not keep it and in looking through the book, ownership passes to Franklin Crandell, Fremont Crandell, back to John Dunham, on to his son Eber Dunham and back to George Crandell again.  By using the book, I will soon be able to give a better timeline of ownership.