LIFE ON THE CROWE RIVER

“TWENTY bridges from Tower to Kew -
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:”
Rudyard Kipling

 

A SHOWCASE OF TALES THE CROWE RIVER TOLD

 

IN THE OLDEN DAYS.........

THE OLD SOAP FACTORY

This building which stood just south of the dam on the east bank of the Crowe River, was probably the potashery noted on Hayes' original map.  It was later Marmora's school house (attended by C.A. Bleecker)   and then a boarding house lived in by John Burns and his wife,  Carries Tennyson. Some time around 1918,  Mr. William Fraser Bowen, (brother of Mrs. Reginald Pearce and grandson of Daniel Bowen)   a former Polmolive Co, salesman,  opened his "Marmora Vegetable Oil soap factory in the abandoned building.  He employed a chemist,  and worked with his son,  who had returned from university. It was a small operation,  but they sold soap all around Ontario.   However,  it was three years later,  at 5 o'clock a.m.  on April 14th,  1927,  that the factory burned down with everything lost within an hour.    It was believed to be a case of arson.  Some of the ruins remain.

Railway, Crowe River, Soap factory.jpg

View from the soap factory including the railway line that continued past the Pearce Mills to Cordova.

Anne Marie Willman Spry adds:  ""Mom remembered when the soap factory burned. She said the suds could be seen in the river for almost a year."

Earlier photo of the dam positioned to the north of present location

1920  View of the river looking east at the soap factory with its roof

View looking east across the river  of unknown date,  showing the soap factory with no roof.

 

IN THE NOT-SO-OLDEN DAYS

 

c.1973 One of Marmora's more infamous landmarks,  this boathouse  teetered on the edge of the Crowe River just north of the village (within the village limits) for some years.  The village wanted to tear it down as part of their plan for the riverside parkbut first had to find a new home for the owner-tenant,  Harry Cooper.  After a long search,  the apartment house (the only place in Marmora with a swimming pool in the basement)  was evacuated,  and last Friday,  shortly after this picture was taken,  CVCA and village workmen,  with the help of the Marmora Fire Department,  put a torch to the place.

crowe river boat house

Crowe River Boathouse with violet deacon

1910 Little Colin Smith Drowned

Colin Smith, the little son of Mr. and Mrs. WilIiam Smith, was drowned on Friday last,
while he was playing on the ice on Crow River. He was taken from the water by Casha Boyd
assisted by Mr. A. Smith, and hurried to the residence of Dr.
McDonald but the little lad was already past help. The funeral was held Sunday in St. Paul's
church, Mr. Ralph Fulcher preaching the sermon and the
interment taking place in the Marmora Protestant Cemetery.
Marmora Herald
March 17,1910

1916 RIVER DROWNING

August 24, 1916      WILLIAM EDWARD TERRION was drowned on Monday forenoon while fishing with his little son.  Apparently Mr. Terrion lost his balance and fell out of the canoe.  Jason Leonard,  who was nearby in another canoe, rescued the little lad but the father went down and did not come up again.  The body was recovered by Alphonso Shannon,  who, with others,  was diving in an effort to locate it.  The accident occurred near the stave mill.  Dr. Thomson and others did everything possible to resuscitate him but to no avail.

A 1926 photo of Alphonso Shannon,  who recovered the body of William Edward Terrion

Double Drowning 1917

Two bright young lives were suddenly cut off last Sunday afternoon
when Charles Ronald, son of Mr. and Mrs J. J. Moloney, and Wilbert, son of Mr. and Mrs Wm.
Houghton, were drowned. The former was 14 years of age and the latter nearly 12 and were almost
inseparable chums. The boys were bathing in Crow River and were
walking along a rock which was slimy and slippery when they suddenly shot off into a deep hole.

The funerals took place on Tuesday, both starting at 9 a.m. where service was held in the R. C. Church for Charles
Moloney after which the remains were
interred in the R. C. Cemetery, and at the same time service was conducted in St. Paul's church for William
Houghton, after which the remains were interred in Marmora Protestant Cemetery.
Marmora Herald
August 9,1917
CROWE LAKE

Glenn Mawer and his Sea Flea

The Mawer house that burned in 1960

The Mawer house that burned in 1960

Comments

Leo Provost:   If I remember correctly Harry's boat house was built by a man that was employed at the Marmoraton Mine in the early years & he boarded at Tom & May Smiths

Dennis O'Connor: Remember the time he came into the Marmora hotel looking for a sump pump to pump out his basement

John E Hutchings: I remember him saying he was the only guy in Marmora who could catch fish in his basement

Tom O'Neill added:   Used to park the boat inside and go to the midnight movies in the 60's

Larry Somerville  sent this message:   Been in it a number of times, the stories were priceless. A lot of people looked down on the cooper's but they were great people.

Glenn Mawer  wrote:  Been in that mansion several times as a teenager , likely drinking bee

Wayne Vanvolkenburg tells a great story about the Cooper Brothers:

In the 1970's, at a Natural Resources function, I ran into John Shannon, a former Game Warden.  He was, in fact, related to the Shannon families north of Marmora..  While checking fishermen on the Crowe River, John encountered Percy and Cecil Cooper, fishing in a small boat. At that particular time of year the season was closed for Bass and Musky.  John asked them if they had caught anything and they stated that they had not.

The boat that they were using leaked badly and had several inches of water in the bottom of it. They had rubber boots on so weren't concerned about this situation.  As John was questioning them about fishing a Musky swam from under a seat in the boat.  Cecil looked at his brother and said "Who put that fish in my boat"?

1954 Divers Borden Bell, Jack Fraser,  Doug Vilneff, Bob Sanderson,  Don Shannon,  Bert Gray (800x722)

               THE DIVERS -   The Underwater Association

Skin Divers Are Common Sight at Marmora

Globe and Mail     June 28, 1955
People in the Marmora district are getting used to seeing strange looking figures rise from Crowe Lake and River, strings of bubbles rising around them and masked faces, metal tanks on their back and frog like rubber suits giving them the appearance of Men from Mars.

The swimmers are all members of the Marmora Underwater Association, a club formed by district men interested in the art of skin diving. At present the club has20 members. The club is a combination of pleasure and business.

 

They do some commercial jobs, such as recovering lost outboard motors, removing buried logs
from proposed camp swimming holes and even recovering false teeth and othersmall articles.

The money they get from commercial jobs goes into the club fund to buy more equipment for more members. At the present they have two rubber suits, three aqualungs and a number of snorkel tubes. They are building their own 14 foot boat and are fixing up a clubhouse. Members themselves pay an annual club fee. They have their own .air compressor, representing a sizeable investment.

Skin diving is not just a matter of putting on a mask and aqualung and diving into the water. There is plenty of danger associated with it and very important safety rules must be followed. Under the direction of Bert Gray and Jack Fraser, who have been appointed safety directors, the members progress from the use of a snorkel tube to the use of the aqualung with its compressed air tanks which allow the divers to descend deep into the water for lengthy periods.

Marmora Club divers have gone down beyond 100 feet, the deepest water they have encountered so far.
 Each diver carries a special knife, with a cork handle to allow it to float if lost, with which to cut himself free from entangling seaweed, interlaced branches of sunken trees or tangled fishing lines.  Once underwater everything takes on a markedly different appearance. Even a lily pad, appearing suddenly in front of the diving mask, can startle a diver. The members are urged to report every strange effect they see, rather than disregard it because they might be thought timid, so that other members will know what they face below the water.

As a public service they stand ready, 24 hours a day, for any emergency requiring their type of operations. Police, civil defense and flying personnel can call on them at any time.

The Marmora group, believed to be the only one in Canada, has rigged up a telephone system, which can be used with the rubber suits. It enables the diver to keep in constant contact with someone on the shore. The telephone wire is rubber covered and the set operates from batteries. Club secretary Bob Sanderson runs thephone from the raft while the diver goes down.

Word of the group's activities is spreading. The club is getting more and more calls to recover lost articles. There are about 100 other swimmers who are interested in joining. When the equipment is available they will be admitted.
Globe and Mail

Placing of the Village water pipe across the river

Three Boys Rescued After Homemade Raft Capsizes

MARMORA (Special) - "For God's sake help us - we're not fooling".   The desperate cry came from  three teenage boys clinging to their home-made raft floating  in "The Cove"  on the south side of the Crowe River yesterday afternoon.   An hour later Brian Monk,  13; Paul McTaggart, 13 both of Marmora and Brock Cooper, 11 of Peterborough were takento safety soaked and chilled by the coldwater of the river.    Mrs. RoY Barker heard their cries and called her son, Jack, 15, and Dave McManus,  who  rushed to a nearby boathouse to secure a boat.  The Marmora Fire Department raced to the scene and assisted in bringing the boys to shore.   The youngsters set out in the raft for an hour' s fun. Suddenly it  capsized throwing all three occupants into the water.   Cooper, it is stated, went down twice before he was haul- ed to safety by his friends.   Authorities here say it is a miracle the trio did not drown.   How the boys got back aboard the raft is still a big question .   They lost rubber boots and raincoats when the raft upset,  also the single paddle they took with them.  The water of the river is very deep at this point.  Except for the shaking and  chilled bodies,  the boys are none the worse for their misadventure.   Jack Barker and McManus lwere forced to carry the rescue boat some distance before they could launch it.

Brock Cooper adds:
I remember that afternoon pretty well even though it was 50 years ago. I was reminded recently about the incident and thought how lucky we were that Jack Barker was around to help us. That water was sooooo cold and we were quite a ways from shore We wouldn't have made it without any help. Stupid things kids do!!!!
Brock Cooper, Kingston On   Apr. 29, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fanny Mikola andOtto Mikola, with the famous sauna on Sauna Road,   Crowe River

A visit to the Marble Point Road farmhouse of Fanny & Otto Mikkola was always a memorable experience for the kids from the area. Many enjoyable hours were spent in the barn, exploring its
mysterious nooks and crannies. The loft, heaped with sweetly-scented hay fresh from the fields, provided endless opportunities for feats of athleticism. Secret hideouts within the cavernous barn were ideal for sharing tales, while below us the holsteins, held fast in clanking stanchions, awaited the end-of-day milking,one of the many farm chores young visitors volunteered to do.
There was so much work to do: milk to separate, hay to harvest, eggs to collect, coops to clean and chickens to feed.
Later, the youthful workers were rewarded with a cool drink of sima mead, a fruity beverage fermentedto perfection in the dark recesses of the farmhouse cellar.
SIMA MEAD        FINNISH MAY DAY DRINK
10 Its. fresh pure water,  2 1/2 cups brown sugar,
1/3) cup dark corn Syrup, 2 '/2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast2 lemons

Finns Find Crowe Camp Has Great Beauty

There is a growing Finnish Community in Marmora and among the cottagers on Crowe Lake and now a site on the Crowe River has become the home of a Finnish Bible Camp. Established a year ago, the property. was donated to the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Toronto some years ago by long time Crowe Lake
residents Fanny and Otto Mikkola. It was not until recently however that the church received its own full time pastor and, with him, the impetus to establish a bible camp.Pastor Aulis Jalonencame to Toronto from the NewYork Finnish Lutheran Church two and a half years ago. Under his guidance the site (off the Marble Point Road where the river forms a small bay) was cleared, a hall-bunkhouse erected and a beautiful outdoor chapel was constructed. This year, for the second year running, the camp will hold two weeks of bible study, one for adults in the first week of July and one for children in the second. Pastor Jalonen feels the camp gives an added dimension to the Finnish Community and their church. "We are very impressed by the natural beauty of what is here" he said.
Marmora Herald
July 11, 1979

To Expand Tourist Accommodation

On his retirement from the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 30th, Mr. Gordon Bennett and family have moved permanently to Wanganui Lodge on the Crowe River. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have 4 boys, John who has just completed his 2nd year Engineering at Carleton University, Ottawa. He is spending the summer at Cold Lake, Alberta. Bruce and Lionel are both attending high school and their youngest son, Mark will be going to public school in Marmora. Gordon and Stella have operated Wanganui Lodge during the past 19 years except for four years when Mr. Bennett served with the R.C.A.F. in Metz, France. Now that they are here permanently they plan to expand their cottage, boating and family picnic facilities.
Marmora Herald July 15, 1965

THE 1976 FLOOD

"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BASS"

THE CROWE TODAY