This small motel was located just outside of the eastern limits of the City of Brockville along Highway Number 2. Unfortunately we do not have much history on this business, and if anyone knows anything about it we would appreciate hearing from you.
We are fairly sure that it was converted into individual apartments in the early 1970’s.
Butternut Bay is located at the very western edge of Elizabethtown Township in the First Concession along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
In Thad. W.H. Leavitt’s book “History of Leeds and Grenville” published in 1879 he writes the following about Butternut Bay: (It was originally called “St. Lawrence Central Camp Ground”
“This beautiful and healthful summer resort and Camp Meeting Ground, is situate on a high bluff of the St. Lawrence, in the first Concession of the Township of Elizabethtown. The ground is admirably located, commanding a fine view of the majestic river. Nature has done much to make the spot a coveted summer retreat. The grounds, embracing some twenty-five acres, are finely wooded, being in that respect superior to the Parks located on Well’s Island. To the untiring exertion of the Rev. A.D. Traveller, assisted by other ministers, is fue the honor of having established the first permanent Park upon the Canadian side of the river. In 1875, the land was purchased and is now held and controlled by the Bay of Quinte Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A spacious Tabernacle, a Boarding House and about thirty beautiful Cottages have been erected, and others are in the process of completion. Two sessions of religious services are held each year, one in June and the other in September. Among the contemplated improvements is the establishment of a Telegraph Office, a Post Office and a Custom’s Office. At the close of the season (1878), six series of religious meetings had been held upon the grounds. It certainly is not asking too much of Canadians to expect them to cordially assist the undertaking. The Park is only three and a half miles from Brockville, with which it is in constant communication through the medium of a comfortable steamer, during the sessions of religious service. A special feature of attraction is the establishment of a Sunday School Parliament, which assembles annually during the June Session. The price of lots has been placed very low, to enable all classes to secure a summer home, the intention being to make the Park not only a Camp Ground but also a permanent place of residence during the summer months.”
In Alvyn Austin’s book “Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships” pub 2009 we learn the following about The St. Lawrence Campground (Butternut Bay).
“Rev. A.D. Traveller, the minister of George Street Methodist Episcopal church in Brockville, bought 25 acres of Jessup’s Tract in 1875, a bluff surrounding a little bay in the river. He planned a religious campground like the famous Chautauga, with lectures and music in addition to the religious sermons. There were several religious campgrounds on the American side, at Morristown and Wellesley Island, larger and more urban than Butternut, as well as further afield like Old Orchard Beach, Maine. There were only in Ontario, the St. Lawrence Campground and Grimsby, which has disappeared.
The Camp meetings promoted a teaching called Holiness, an important evangelical doctrine which permeated Canadian churches into the 20th century. Holiness teachings (also called Entire Sanctification by John Wesley) stated that believers could by conscious diligence live without sin. Moreover they should expect an intense religious experience, a “Second conversion”, in secular terms ‘regeneration’, and thereafter would live the Higher (or Deeper) Life, free from sin. The best place to induce this emotional fervour was a ‘primitive’ woodland setting, ‘a grove of trees to shade the worshippers, log seats, an elevated stand for the preachers, tents, a spring of clean water, burning pine knots for light, and a way of dealing with rowdies and liquor sellers’
At first the people lived in tents, and the meetings were held under a large marquee ‘tabernacle’. The land was surveyed into lots 30 by 40 feet, and leased to church members for $10. for a tent lot and $25. for a cottage lot “and an annual rental of one peppercorn, for a period of 999 years. The building committee set a standard design for the cottages, a small farm house ornamented with a square, mansard-roofed tower and deep overhanging gingerbread, far out of scale with the house. A frame tabernacle, a post office and telegraph, general store and custom’s house were added. One advertisement enticed prospective buyers with “good lodging, abundant and healthful food, beautiful lots for those who wish to pitch tents or erect cottages, wide streets, broad parks and a fresh water ocean, well stocked with fish, boats, good society, and the very noblest of intellectual and religious entertainment.”
The following are excerpts from a booklet published in 2006 “Butternut Bay a Treasured Summer community” by Dr. Reginald Anderson and Bob Anderson:
The ‘Cliff Chateau Hotel’
The original hotel was built in 1885 and was destroyed in the windstorm of 1888. It was rebuilt in 1889 by Mr. M.B.Slack of Lyn and was known as the Cliff Chateau. It extended along the front of the adjacent woods, facing the river. There is no record to tell when the last guests were accommodated but apparently the hotel was still in operation in the 1920’s.
A brochure for the hotel reads as follows:
The Cliff Chateau- This spacious hotel is situated in a beautiful park, known as Butternut Bay, about six miles above the City of Brockville, on the St. Lawrence River, at the beginning of the Thousand Islands. The hotel is built on a cliff, 75 feet above the river and 50 feet from t, commanding an excellent view of the St. Lawrence in all directions and making it the coolest summer resort on the river. It has been thoroughly renovated and contains large, airy double and single rooms. Spacious upper and lower verandahs. Good home cooking, particularly homemade bread. Cliff Chateau can be reached from Brockville by the Str. Missisquoi on Mondays and Fridays, leaving Mather’s wharf at 1 PM, giving you half and hour’s beautiful sail through some o0f the islands landing at Butternut Bay, three minutes walk from the hotel or any day by conveyance of auto, cab or motor boat. Excellent boating, safe bathing, good fishing, tennis lawn, telephone, daily mail. This hotel opens June 20 and closes October 1st.
Rates of the Cliff Chateau
2 persons in a room- $20. to $28. per week
1 person in a room- $10, $12 and $15 per week
Reduced rate for children occupying Parent’s or Nurses’ Room
Rate by the day $2.50, single meals, 75¢
Thos. C. Kemp, Prop. and Mgr.
RR #3, Brockville, Ont.
Because of very poor roads and unreliable early model automobiles, except for the last year of two of its operation, all the hotel guests would have arrived by steamship. (The S.S. Brockville was still bringing cottagers to Butternut Bay as late as 1920) One wonders about staying at the hotel in September, noting October 1st as the closing date. The weather can be chilly in September and it is difficult to visualize how the “Large airy rooms” could have been heated. It is interesting to recall that in the early 1920’s there still remained an indication of the lawn tennis court in front of the hotel.
The following photos are undated, but will give you some idea of what Butternut used to look like:
The Long Beach Motel is the last stop on our drive through the southern part of Elizabethtown along Highway No. 2 going from East to west.
This hotel is now gone and nothing remains of a building that held wedding receptions, dances, great meals and rooms for overnight travelers.
It started out as a small two story hotel and restaurant with rooms attached. Unfortunately there was a fire and the eastern part of the building burned and was removed leaving only the main building hat now stands today.
We are very short on the history of the Long Beach Motel, the name was later changed to The Flying Dutchman. The one thing that we do have are some photos of this one time great motel.
A Brief History of Motels
The 1950s and 1960s was the pinnacle of the motel industry in the United States and Canada. As older mom-and-pop motor hotels began adding newer amenities such as swimming pools or color TV (a luxury in the 1960s), motels were built in wild and impressive designs. In-room gimmicks such as the coin-operated Magic Fingers vibrating bed were briefly popular; introduced in 1958, these were largely removed in the 1970s due to vandalism of the coin boxes. The American Hotel Association (which had briefly offered a Universal Credit Card in 1953 as forerunner to the modern American Express card) became the American Hotel & Motel Association in 1963.
As many motels vied for their place on busy highways, the beach-front motel instantly became a success. In major beach-front cities such as Jacksonville, Florida, Miami, Florida, and Ocean City, Maryland, rows of colorful motels such as the Castaways, in all shapes and sizes, became commonplace. [Wikipedia]
Motel building boomed in the ‘50s and ‘60s and establishments began to offer families the adventure they were seeking right at the site. Tourists could engage in recreation at the motel site, keep their cars outside the door, lock their belongings in the room, and employ a chain lock to keep out intruders; adventure and security offered in one package. The enormously popular Holiday Inn formula moved the trend in lodging more toward the old hotel form and started eroding the original motel form. Motels bypassed by the interstate system left once thriving businesses [America’s Roadside Lodging: The Rise and Fall of the Motel Lori Henderson]
Here was another popular place to stay if you were travelling along Highway No. 2 in the 1950’s and 60’s. The Brock Tourist Villa was on located on the north side of the highway just east of the now Hwy 401.
Very popular in its’ day when staying in these small cabins was the only way to travel.
“A 1927 New York Times article declared “touring motorists can now sleep in bungalows if they do not want to pitch tents—large roadside industry developed.” Precursors to the motel, these cabin camps were only the beginning of a large roadside industry. The article reported that the growth of the bungalow camp “has been sensational” particularly in the west and that “these camps are nearly all privately owned and they are in direct competition to the municipal camp.” This article also foretold the future of competition among roadside cabin camps and their descendants, the motel, describing the different amenities provided by different proprietors. Some operators brought guests flowers and others provided hot water.” 
America’s Roadside Lodging: The Rise and Fall of the Motel by Lori Henderson Lori Henderson
This building is now a private residence located on the south side of Highway No.2 just east of the Halleck’s Road.
It was operated as a restaurant in the late 50’s or early 60’s. Unfortunately at this time we don’t have much history on the business If anyone knows anything about this we would appreciate hearing from you.
Heading west along No. 2 highway the next place you would come to would be on the river side of the highway. A good place to spend the night or a few days vacation as they had cabins and a small beach on the river. The court was operated in the 1950’s and 60’s. With the introduction of ‘motels’ and the opening of Highway 401 in the mid 1960’s the traffic along Highway 2 decreased and so did their business.
On the north side of the highway just west of the McLean house was Latimer’s Store. The store was a very small building that had the basic groceries that you would need, they also had candy and ice cold bottles of soda for the kids or thirsty travellers.
The little business was run by Mr. Lytle James Latimer (b1873) and his wife Adella Deborah (b.1877).
Out in front of the building stood two old gas pumps, the ones with the glass containers on top into which you would pump the amount of gas you wanted and than after reaching the desired quantity, gravity would take over and when the trigger on the
pump was pulled it would flow into your tank.
There were also several cabins located on the property where the traveller could spend the night. The cabins were called Cedarholm.
The old brick house painstakingly constructed by hand in 1823 with every brick handmade on the land surrounding the dwelling was built by Robert McLean. Five generations lived in the house until 1933 when it was sold.
The Building of the McLean House and early life living there
The building of the McLean house was a Herculean effort by man and beast. Early in its history the McLean homestead was known as Pinehurst Farm. Construction of the brick house started in 1823 and the McLeans moved in two years later.
The house was built at a total cost of about $1,600. The red clay bricks, 65,000 in all, were made on the farm, with oxen stamping the clay and water mixture into a pliable condition. The bricks were then moulded by hand into brick size wooden containers.
The 12 inch thick beams were hewn by hand; the foundation was composed of stone and cemented by hand. The interior walls and partitions were made of solid brick and plaster. The interior woodwork and doors were made of red pine planking and all the flooring consisted of wide pine planking. All the interior doors were made in the “Bible” design, sometimes called “prayer doors”. The design had a white cross in the upper panel.
There are five fireplaces, three on the first floor and two on the second floor. The mantels are of red pine. The kitchen fireplace was equipped with a crane, from which the cooking pots were hung. At one side was the oven. It is believed that in baking, a wood fire was kindled in the oven, and when the fuel was reduced to coals, they were raked out and the freshly kneaded loaves of bread placed inside to bake.
As was the tradition of the times, two of the first floor rooms were reserved as bedrooms for the elders of the family.
The barns were built with high stone walls topped by lumber sawn from the trees felled to clear the land. The farm had stables for horses, barns for cattle and folds for sheep.
McLean house was the locale for husking bees, sugar making, quilting bees and dances, and headquarters for and barn raising bees in the area.
For more information on the McLeans go to “Our People, Our History” on this website.
Continuing along Highway No 2 from east to west, just after passing Grant’s Creek and St Lawrence Park you would come to the Rock School House.
The new Rock School, which stands today as a home, was built in 1937. The school was built of native granite quarried a few yards distant from the school. This new school is located on Hwy 2 west of Brockville, and west of Oakland Cemetery. It is regarded as a model rural public school with accommodations for over 30 pupils, indoor toilets, two cloak rooms, a teacher’s room, store room and a basement playroom.
The original Rock School was built in 1844, and stood to the west of the present site. Prior to this stone school and earlier log school stood on the bank of Grants Creek further east of the present location.
Few people today realize that the first St. Lawrence Park in Elizabethtown was located several miles west of where the present park is located in Brockville.
This park was located just to the west of Grant’s Creek and was accessed by the King’s Highway or by daily steamer’s that would dock at the park.
If you close your eyes, you can imagine a sunny day in 1865 and taking a horse and buggy ride out to spend the day at the park.
From the advertisements posted in the Recorder newspaper, we get a glimpse into the activities that could be had during a day spent at the park.
The park provided seats, swings, and every convenience for peoples’ accommodation. There was a Dancing Hall 30×70 feet, a large bowling alley, saloon and a dining room, capable of seating 130 persons, and for those who wanted to spend more time, there were bedding accommodations.
The Saloon would have been furnished with the best brands of Liquors and Cigars plus one of the best cooks in the area to prepare your meals.
For those of you who wanted to do something more exciting outdoors, there was a half mile track for racing. Row boats would be available for fishing or just taking you best girl out for a ride.
All kinds of games were also available, such as Quoits, Croquet, Ball and many more. They had set aside a large 20 acre field for games of all sorts.
When you drive by the area 150 years later, no traces remain of this fabulous park, but if you close your eyes you can see and hear the fun that was to be had in this area.
The advertisement as it appeared in the Brockville paper of July 19th, 1875 is reprinted here for easier reading:
St. Lawrence Park, (McDonald Point)
ONE AND A-HALF MILES above BROCKVILLE.
On the right bank of the RIVER St. LAWRENCE, in the midst of the beautiful scenery of the Thousand Islands.
The Proprietor would respectfully notify PARTIES, PIC-NICS &c., he has just fitted the St. LAWRENCE PARK with seats, swings, and every convenience for their accommodation. The PARK has a DANCING HALL 30×70 feet, LARGE BOWLING ALLEY, SALOON, DINING ROOM, (capable of seating 130 persons) and bedding accommodations.
Carriages to be had on short notice. First-class ROW BOATS and FISHING TACKLE. All kinds of Games, such as Quoits, Croquet, Ball, &c. Two large wharves, and everything necessary to make a visit, long or short, most pleasant. It has a most beautiful Grove, and the best fishing bay on the St. Lawrence.
Are furnished with all the best brands of Liquors and Cigars. One of the best Cooks that can be obtained has been engaged. Stabling for horses, and a track of half a mile in preparation. A large twenty acre field for Games. There is no more desirable spot on the whole length of the St. Lawrence. All orders by mail, addressed to A. McDOUGALL, Proprietor, Brockville, ONT., will receive immediate attention.
The Fire Brigade Band
Has been engaged in connection with the Park, and will furnish Music for parties at very reasonable rates. >No Charge for Boats landing at the Wharves. The Boats going East and West pass within twenty rods of the Park.
The “Peerless” can be engaged at reasonable rates for excursions and picnic parties. She is owned and kept at the Park.
Brockville, July 19th, 1875
Another advertisement from the Brockville paper:
Grand Excursion and Picnic.
Under the Management of Prescott Lodge of Good Templars, will take place on
Thursday, 29th June,
The Steamer ‘St. Jean Baptiste” will call at the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Wharf at 10 a.m., and thence proceed to Pic-Nic Ground.
Tickets 15 cents, or Two for 25 cents; to
Be had at M’MULLEN & Co’s. Bookstore.
Prescott, June 23rd, 1865
In an excerpt from Walter Kilborn’s book How Dear to my Heart he tells of going to St. Lawrence park in July of 1881
Next day was a holiday. The Farmers’ Picnic was to be held at St. Lawrence Park, a short distance west of the Brockville cemetery. My cousin had complained in the morning of being uncomfortable from the sunburn he had received the day before, but went with us to the picnic.
Tablecloths were spread on the grass under the trees, and dinner was served, everyone sitting around tailor fashion and enjoying the many good things from the lunch baskets, all but my cousin, who protested he did not care to sit, but leaned against a tree to eat his lunch.
In the afternoon there were swimming races, boat races, and a lot of other fun, but Vernon would not even get in a boat, as it hurt him to sit down, he said. It was a wonderful afternoon. The men got a long rope; choosing sides till twelve men were selected for each team and then had a tug of war. It was a great day, but to soon we were loaded onto the wagons, all but the big boys and girls who were staying for the evening to enjoy a dance at the pavilion.
For the complete story and others look on our website under Stories by Walter Kilborn “The Sunburn”
From The Athen’s Reporter and County of Leeds Advertiser Tuesday July 2, 1895 issue–
St. Lawrence Park
A large number of Athenians went to St. Lawrence Park on the excursion last Friday evening. The trip was unanimously voted to have been delightful, and some enterprising local organization should arrange a similar trip to take place at the annual illumination of the islands. It would prove an immense success. The river on Friday evening was simply covered with row boats going and coming from the park. The speakers addressed a very large audience on the general polities of the day but did not as some expected, make special mention of the Manitoba school question. The Athenians rushed home about 1 a.m. very much pleased with the evening’s outing.
The creek takes its name from the original settlers of the area the Grant Family. We are fortunate to have old post cards, prints and photos showing how the original bridge looked. Today as you drive along the highway, you can cross the creek without really even knowing it’s there.
The cemetery comprises 14 acres of land on either side of the highway. It has been owned and operated by the City of Brockville since 1860, when all the older in-town cemeteries were closed and the graves moved into this area.
The land was purchased from the Grant Family. The land south of the highway had been granted by the Crow to Sgt. Allen Grant in 1789. This land was divided into three sections for use by the Anglicans, Roman Catholics and other Protestant denominations.
In 1890 an additional 46 acres were purchased on the north side of the highway and the area was named Oakland Cemetery.
For additional photos of these cemeteries, look on our website for Cemeteries in Elizabethtown.
From the Brockville Recorder
May 16, 1850 On purchasing land for a new cemetery
At a meeting of the town council held on Monday evening previous, tenders were received for land for a public cemetery for Brockville. There were three offers, viz.: A lot of 20 acres belonging to R.Bell, at £15 per acre, one of 15 acres belonging to Mrs. Jas. Dack, at £7 10s an acre, and a lot of 12 acres belonging to Allan Grant, at £13 per acre. It was agreed that the committee should examine the ground and when satisfied as to the most eligible site, call a public meeting of the inhabitants of the town to decide whether the corporation should purchase the ground, or be obliged to private parties for the liberty of interment, or “when this liberty cannot be obtained, that they be compelled to pitch the dead into any hole or ditch that may be most convenient to their dwellings.” Messrs. Rankin and Crawford were the only two members of the council opposed to the purchase of ground from the funds of the corporation.
Just past the Lyn road on the south side of the highway you would come to this next business.
Lancelot de Carle was the founder of the business now known as Brockville Cemetery Memorial Works.
Lancelot de Carle was first in business in Prescott on that town’s King Street one door west of Norton Miller’s bookstore. De Carle advertised gravestones, monuments etc. in marble, granite or sandstone.
His first local plant was set up in 1861 at No.8 Railroad Street, Brockville north to the railway tracks and it is presumed that the marble works were located on the west of the street near its junction with King Street. The street began life with the name Buell Street, but for some years was known as “Railroad St.” n it reverted back to Buell and has been known by that name ever since.
In the 1866 Fuller’s Directory of Brockville, Lancelot’s business was identified as “Central Canada Marble and Stone Works”
In 1875 the de Carle works passed into the hands of Lancelot’s son Leopold. The plant moved in 1869 from Railroad Street to a point on the south side of old No.2 Highway near the Brockville Cemetery.
Leopold called his factory “Brockville Cemetery Marble Works”. The family chose the site in order to be close to the burying grounds However, de Carle stones blossomed in cemeteries throughout the United Counties.
Their two story headquarters was equipped with pneumatic drills for engraving and used the most modern machinery of the times as well as employing highly skilled mechanics.
Leopold de Carle himself was an expert craftsman as well as an astute businessman and a pillar of the community. His literature proclaimed “Always on hand a large stock of finished work fro which to select in marble and granite. I import direct from the famous granite quarries in Scotland and Sweden and also from various quarries in Canada and the United States. Superior Designs and lowest estimate supplied on application”
John Johnston, who lived on the Lyn Road not far from the marble works was employed as one of the stone masons carving and chiselling the various headstones.
“Fred W.Grant took over the business in 1946. He joined the firm at 18 in 1927 and retired in 1974. Fred died on January 14, 1983. In 1966 the original building was torn down and relocated a short distance to the east of the original building. The reason for this move was that with a four lane highway running right in front of the door, parking had become almost non existent. The new brick building will feature a modern design and new equipment. It is built to the east of the old one and has ample parking facilities.” (R&T June 15, 1966)
The business was sold to George and Peter Rigos of Kingston.
(excerpts from the R&T- Darling Scrapbook No. 1 pg 135)
If on you trip along the highway your car had problems, you could always pull into Nedow’s Garage on the corner of the Lyn Road and Hwy No. 2. Bill Nedow was the owner and operator of this establishment. He operated a car junk yard and if you were ever looking for a part, you could usually count on Bill to find it for you.
As well as the garage, Bill Nedow also acted as the Willys Jeep Dealer for this area for many years.
The first road leading north from the highway after leaving Brockville is the Lyn Road, almost across from the Skating Rink. The Lyn Road played an important part in the war of 1812, as it was a major link between this area and Kingston. It was a forced road, meaning that it was not a “planned “concession road. People and wagons full of goods would go north on this road through the Village of Lyn and then on to Young Mills and west to Kingston.
Around 2010 the County of Leeds and Grenville eliminated the name Lyn Road and adopted a new name for the road “County Road 46”. The road still goes to Lyn as it has for over 200 years, but this road to Lyn has lost all traces of its historical significance as the Lyn Road, and has been reduced to a mere number.
Across from the mink farm, during the winters of the 1930’s was an open air skating rink that was enjoyed by both the people of Brockville and Elizabethtown.
Located on the south side of the highway, across from the Lyn Road, the rink was lit up at night and if you wanted something hot to drink the Dew Drop Inn was located just to the east of the rink.
This ice skating rink was started by Victor deCarle. He had a strong interest in the development of young hockey players, and formed the Riversides Hockey Club. This eventually led to the building of a large open air hockey and skating rink opposite the Dew Drop Inn, a short distance west of Brockville. He not only engineered the preliminary preparations for the rink, but actively engaged in its construction. (The Brockville Recorder)
I may be off on the name of this business, but not the location or the memories of the odours coming from the buildings at feeding time. If you drove by this operation in the 1950’s and 60’s with your car windows open you would get the fishy smell of the food that they fed to the numerous cages of mink.
The mink building and cages were located to the west (Left) of the building.
Established in 1914 this club was originally a nine hole golf course with 7 holes on the south side of the highway and two on the north side. The original clubhouse was burned in 1937 and a newer clubhouse on the same spot was built to replace it. The clubhouse was located on the south side of the highway and had access to the river.
In 1976 the Country Club sold the existing portion of its property on the south side of the highway, and built a new clubhouse and curling rink on the north side and expanded to an 18 hole course.
The clubhouse and part of the gold course are within the Brockville City limits, while the rest of the course is in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.
We started our trip entering Elizabethtown from the east. Just as we passed the Ontario Hospital we would have noticed the sign welcoming us to Brockville. At this point Hwy No. 2 turns into King St East.
“Brockville was the first police village (1832) in Upper Canada, when its population reached 1000; the first incorporated town in 1850; and finally in 1962 the City of Brockville.” 
The first thing you would have noticed was the magnificent home of George T. Fulford, who made his fortunes selling “Pink Pills for Pale People”. Just down the road and on the north side of the road is the Fulford Home for Women. Another impressive large building built by George Fulford for ageing women.
We would then drive by the large stately homes of the more wealthy Brockville families. Soon we would find ourselves in the downtown core of the town, named after Sir. Isaac Brock, Hero of the War of 1812.
Over the decades the stores would change hands, but the streets and shops would be bustling with customers. If you happened to drive through on a Wednesday afternoon, you would notice closed signs on all the stores, as the merchants would only keep their stores open for a half day.
In front of the City Hall building, King Street would change from King St east to King Street west. You would travel further along King Street West with more stores lining each side of the street, until you reached Perth Street, the old Highway to Perth.
At this point you would be leaving the downtown core. After driving up and over the old railway bridge, with its’ wooden deck known as the Kingston Bridge, you would again find yourself driving along residential lined streets. As you get to the westerly end of the town you would notice a large structure with sprawling buildings knows as Phillips Electrical Works. And across from that was St. Lawrence Park, where many youngsters learned how to swim and had summer picnics with their families.
You would soon be driving out of the city and re-entering Elizabethtown on the west side of Brockville, where King Street turns back into Hwy No.2
 Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships by Alvyn Austin
Opened in 1970, St. Lawrence Lodge is a Long-Term Care Home that overlooks the majestic St. Lawrence River and provides care and support to 224 residents. Serving the citizens of the City of Brockville, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, and the separated Towns of Prescott and Gananoque.
The lodge was built across from the Ontario Hospital on what used to be part of the Hospital Farms. It was built in Elizabethtown, but an agreement was reached with the City of Brockville to provide water and sewage
In 2006 the original building was replaced with a more modern structure. The photos shown here are of the original building opened in 1970.
A little further along Highway No. 2 on the north side you would pass several very impressive large stone buildings encompassed by a stone fence. Depending on the time of the year when you drove by, there would have been men working in fields of vegetables on either side of the road. To the south you would get an impressive view of the St. Lawrence River and Morristown, NY on the other side.
Those large buildings were the Ontario Hospital also known as the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital and those fields were the hospital farms. The hospital was built in 1892-94 as a provincial Asylum for the Insane. The farm associated with the hospital was intended to allow the institution to be self sufficient, however the surplus produce was sold at the local Brockville market, and rail cars full of potatoes were shipped to other institutions across Canada.
The following excerpts on the history of the Ontario Hospital are taken from Glenn J. Lockwood’s book “The History of Brockville” published in 2006.
“The Pickens Point property (Lot 6 in Elizabethtown’s First Concession was chosen as a site with land sloping down to the St. Lawrence to provide for the sewer drainage. A stretch of land from the Grand Trunk Line to the river was purchased (110 acres) and more was expropriated (97 acres on Lot 5) from J.J.Henderson. The additional land was needed so the asylum could grow its own food.
The asylum was set up on a farm plan, with a main building commanding the hill north of the Prescott Road. Within a year, six farm cottages flanked it, three on each side, with a stable, carriage house, tall water tank reservoir and hose tower outbuildings.
The asylum was one of the largest residential buildings ever built in Victorian Canada, with a façade 400 feet long and a tower seven storeys high. At the back the kitchen and pantries were flanked by large dining halls. There was a bakery beneath the kitchen and, behind it, a laundry, boiler house and coal vaults. By 1906, the asylum housed 800 residents and employed 75 people.
The extensive grounds had a purpose. It was here the residents worked. We should not assume they were exploited. This was an age when self-sufficiency was a virtue, and it was seen as a disgrace to live on public charity. By giving residents work, the asylum boosted their self-worth and contradicted the view that they were a burden on the public purse. Most patients were soothed by familiar work, and pleased to contribute. Higher functioning patients took charge of others, thus enabling a small staff to manage huge numbers of residents. Evenings were set aside for relaxation, including piano playing, reading, cards, concerts, daces, skating, football, lawn bowling and boating.
The Asylum now known as the Psychiatric Hospital continued to grow and flourish. The number of employees has increased to 107 by 1942. In the 1930’s, electroconvulsive therapy began to be used. Although the process was frightening and painful and had terrible side effects, it was deemed beneficial at the time.
In the early 1950’s the hospital was completely renovated. The ‘outmoded, over crowed facilities of Victorian Standards and design have been transformed in four years into one of the finer mental institutions on the North American continent.
The number of jobs at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital dwindled along with the flow of in-patients in the 1970’s and 1980’s (from 1,618 in 1964 to 748 in 1975, to 237 in 1995). At the same time the flow of out patients grew from 300 in 1984 to 1,200 in 1995. In 1961, a new residential unit was built, but the hospital farm closed in 1967. The treatment of mental illness had evolved. A forensics ward opened in the hospital in 1975. Assertive Community Treatment emerged in 1991 but by 1997, plans were in place to close the facility and to merge it with the Royal Ottawa Hospital, thus removing 374 jobs from Brockville. Deft work by MPP Bob Runciman secured a stay of execution. The hospital was transformed into the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre, with community acute psychiatric care and forensic programs continuing to operate from the site. The result was a net gain of jobs.
Looking to play a round of miniature golf, or a driving range Then a stop at Playland Park was a must. There were pinball machines inside to play, and a Teen dance on the weekend. A great place to spend some time. Unfortunately in 2016 the business and buildings were put up for sale, and this icon is gone.
This motel still exists on the south side of the road, but today is under different ownership. It was modern, popular and was a busy spot before the newer motels opened to the north of Brockville next to Hwy 401. It also had a very good Sunday brunch, which was attended by people after their church services finished.
Just past Sharp’s Lane on the north side of the road was ‘A&W’. A drive in that offered curb side service with smiling young ladies hanging trays with your food on the car’s side window. A&W was the place to be and were famous, not only for their burgers, but for their frosty mugs of root beer. If you were driving by on a weekend night you would have noticed all the cars lining their curbs. If you are old enough you may just remember what “Swamp Water” was – a combination of Root Beer and Orange Soda ! (Also a good place to go for a date !)
The next small white concrete building on the north side of the road was “Ralph’s Dairy Bar”. Before the days franchised ice cream stores, this was the place to go for a hand scoped ice cream cone. Unfortunately I cannot find mush information about Ralph’s Dairy. They were one of the dairies that did do home delivery of milk in bottles to families living in Brockville. And as mentioned before on a hot Sunday afternoon this was the place to go for an ice cream treat. Ralph’s was open during the 1950’s and early ’60’s
The first road you come to is Sharp’s Lane. “Sharp’s Lane is named after John A. Sharp who acquired the property in the mid- Victorian era. Although this narrow side road ran little more than a mile north of the river, more contraband goods are reputed to have flowed north and south on this road than any comparable road in Canada, due to tons of supplies being brought in for the Rideau District” (The Story of Brockville by Glenn J.Lockwood pub 2006)
It was the most important Smuggler’s Highway during the War of 1812 between the St, Lawrence River and the Ottawa Valley. “Perhaps more contraband goods have flowed, both north and south, on this road than any other similar road in Canada” McKim wrote “ The fact that it was little used and led directly into the country made it an ideal location for those enterprises. This was no petty smuggling by some farmer, but a wholesale running of goods by the ton to supply the stores in the Rideau District and beyond. Tea, tobacco, cotton and many other articles were delivered at the foot of this road, and hidden in the woods or a farmer’s barn. Many a farmer has uncovered a load of goods in his hay-mow. He said nothing and the goods disappeared in a day or two. Live horses were the principal commodity smuggled south into the United States. The horses were made to swim the river. Adventure, excitement, risk and profit lured the men into the quiet hours of the night on the Smuggler’s Highway. Now all is quiet on the riverfront and few remember the good old days. (Elizaethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships by Alvin Austin pub 2009)
Entering Elizabethtown from the East, the first building you would see on the north side of the road is a large stone house now know as ‘Stone Acres’.
“This home can be described as a ‘Regency Villa’ which was part of the Sherwood grant. Adiel Sherwood sold this lot to Thomas Nisdale, a stone cutter by trade. The front door is exceptional, a wide aperture surmounted by a deep cornice of Adamesque swags. ‘The stone work is a fine example of his skill, especially the large arch which is cut from a single piece of stone. Since then the place has passed through many hands, each adding his contribution of buildings. It was once owned by W.H.Comstock, and Timothy Burns and came into the hands of Mr. W. Ralph in the 1920’s who operated a large dairy operation for many years” (Elizabethtown: The last of the Royal Townships by Alvin Austin pub 2009)
Highway #2 runs along the bottom of the township from east to west. It is interrupted by the City of Brockville sitting towards the easterly end of the township.
Before highway #401 was constructed and finished in the mid 1960’s, Highway #2 was the main road between Toronto and Montreal. There were no rest stops as we find today, but the highway was dotted with small stores, restaurants and gas stations. It was a long trip but it was a leisurely one and afforded the travelled a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding countryside. Brockville was considered the halfway point on the journey between Montreal and Toronto.
Highway #2 entered Elizabethtown on the Easterly end from Augusta Township and on the Westerly end from Front of Yonge Township.
The area and places in between those two Townships is what we will be taking a look at. Transport yourself back at least 50 years and take that journey with us.