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Hot Time in the Old Times!

In August of 1922,  Alfred T. Neal,  proprietor of the Royal Hotel, purchased from Judge James Parker  a strip of land at Crowe Lake,  including the beach and the "Marble Rock"  now known as Marble Point. By April of 1923 he had started construction of a dancing Pavilion,  complete with  a 50 by 30 foot hardwood  dance floor,  a Delco lighting system and dressing rooms for bathers below.  It was known as  the MARBLE CLIFF PAVILION.

The music for the dancing was furnished by the Myers Orchestra of Toronto,  who were so popular they were contracted for the whole season. Wynn Myers was the conductor and violinist; his brother, H. Myers, pianist, and Fred Boland, drummer. Besides the week night dances,  a concert is given in the pavilion every Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock and it is nothing unusual to house over 300 guests at these affairs. Many of the guests at the hotel are lodged in cottages owned by Mr. Neal and situated in a beautiful grove on a high hill overlooking the lake.

As badluck would have it, however,  the Pavilion burned down less than two years later.  Due to popular demand,  it was rebuilt and became known as MARBLE POINT LODGE.  (Now privately owned.)


The Pearce Company Ablaze

When walking down by the Marmora dam today and passiing the many different relics of days gone by,  one can't help feel the ghostly presence of the hive of activity that once existed there.  Most of the ruins visible today are the left overs of the Pearce Company dynasty,  started in 1873 to mill  and sell everything from lumber to gold.

Click on photos for larger view

But while the sky seemed the limit,  the Pearce family was soon to learn how quickly all can be wiped out by fire.   On May 18, 1905,  the Herald described the fire that wiped out a section of Main street,  from Reginald Street to Madoc Street.

 "The fine 'Arcade" Block', containing several stores, the "Herald" printing office, and upstairs offices, was totally destroyed, entailing heavy loss to the occupants. J. W. Pearce, M.P.P., occupied the largest premises in the block, with a large general store and he will be a heavy loser. 

Then again,  On August 20th, 1920,  the Pearce Company's office,  planing mill,  dry kiln and two long sheds containing a considerable quantity of lumber were totally destroyed....."  Because of that event,  all company books prior to 1920 were lost,  as were the public and cotinuation school records.

With hardly enough time to recover from that disaster,  in September of 1921 the alarm rang out a third time for the Pearces,  this time with a massive fire that would destroy the woollen mill, the old electrical plant and the stables.  When the firehose was discovered to be deliberately slit,  the village requested an investigation and offered a reward of $200.00  to find the arsonist,  and within two weeks,  William Bayett was arrested.

             JUST CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT                                     THE PEARCES AND THEIR DYNASTY



In the perfect little community of Deloro in the early 1900's,  crime existed as in any little community,  however,  Deloro had the added enticement of carloads of silver being shipped out on a daily basis. In 1909 William Kevz from Finland seems to have been running a second career with Deloro silver.  (see left).   On February 10, 1910,  the Marmora Herald wrote,  "It is alleged that Deloro Works have been systematically robbed for some time. Three arrests have already been made and a considerable quantity of refined silver and silver ore have been found. The Crown is taking active measures to protect the property of the Company."

A foreigner, who went by the names of Hill and also Lappe, came up before Judge Deroche on Wednesday of last week for stealing a quantity of silver from Deloro Mining & Reduction Company. He was sentenced to the Provincial Reformatory for two years less a day.
February 3, 1916

In Sept  1918,  William Hymen and Joseph O'Brien of Montreal,  employees at Deloro, spent a night in the cells of the Marmora Town Hall,  charged with stealing silver.  They pleaded guilty in front of Magistrates B.C. Hubbel and William Bonter,  but claimed they only wanted a little bit as "souvenirs".  As their fine and costs amounted to more than the combined resources of the two,  it was agreed they might go and find a new job somewhere else.  They were 16 and 17 years old. 

Silver was not the only motive for theft, however.  In March of 1911, Frank Gunyar,  an employee in Deloro  (formerly working for the Pearce Lumber Co.)  stole $50.00 from a foreign workman there and enjoyed 30  days in the County jail.  In February of 1917,  an employee of the company stood before Magistrates H.R. Pearce and B.C. Hubbell on a charge of stealing a quantity of Stelllite.  Found guilty,  he was fined $5.00 & costs,  plus the value of the stolen material,  worth less than $10.00.

But our favourite act of deceit was performed by H.H. Duquette,  who,  having borrowed a suit from Harold Bartlett,   a Deloro  employee,  liked it so much,  he didn't give it back.  He was arrested in Springbrook,  and  brought back to Marmora,  where he was committed to Belleville jail to await a trial!  We never found out what became of Monsieur Duquette,  but we now know they are tough in Deloro when it comes to stealing their clothes!

Bad luck at the Free Methodist Church


On the closing of  St. Andrew's Presbyterian church  in 1923, the remaining members of the congregation attended· the Marmora Methodist Church.  In 1925 "The Little Church on the Hill" was sold to the members of the Free Methodist Church.  But in 1958 bad luck struck and the Free Methodists were forced to tear the building down.



Aug. 8, 1938 - Marmora Song To Be On Radio

William John Cottrell was a popular man about town in Marmora,  in the 1930's to the 1960's.  He arrived from England as a young man,    working in the silver plant of the Deloro Smelting and Refining Co..  There   he found time to be a local news reporter for the Toronto Telegram,  the Peterborough Examiner,  Marmora Herald  and the Belleville Intelligencer.  He was a story teller,  a lecturer,   a writer and historian. He served in WW1 and was a Legion member,   His community service involved  lay reading at  St. Paul's Anglican Church,   choir membership, and writing the history of the church.   He was enrolled  in the Masons,  the Orange Lodge,   and the Order of the Odd Fellows.  However,   according to an article in the Marmora Herald on August 8, 1938,  he was also a song-writer:


 "Contented Valley, the first song written in Marmora to be heard on a broadcast is to be included in the initial program of "Songs of Canada" the Canadian Song Writer's own program to be heard over CKOC on Monday, Sept. 12th, at 8 P.M. The vocalist will be Howard Jerome, organist of Trinity Baptist Church, Hamilton.........................

.................................. The author of "Contented Valley" is W. J. Cottrell and the composer is Charles Wellinger.*    Owing to difficulty experienced in this district in getting CKOC, Mr. Wellinger is endeavouring to arrange for "Contented Valley" to be sung over CFRB in which event, due notice will be given residents."

Mr. Cottrell died in the Queensborough Nursing Home on on Sept. 4, 1968,  where he had lived for the last 15 years of his life.  In the future,  we hope to share some of his stories.  Stay tuned.

*Charles Wellinger was a well known Canadian writer of Ragtime music, living in Toronto.

On November 9, 2018, Coralie Fountain wrote:

I am W.J. Cottrell’s grandaughter. My mum was his daughter Ruth. I had a sister and brother, who unfortunately are both dead . I was so chuffed to find this as I did not know a great deal about him . I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the Contented Valley and any other information you may have .It was so nice to know he was so well respected by the people of Marmora.


March 9, 1967

Six Year Old David Deering regained consciousness last Friday evening after five days in a coma. David was injured when struck by a car while sleigh riding on the road through Deloro. The youngster was rushed to Belleville where he underwent an emergency operation and then was moved to Kingston where several more operations were performed to save this six year old's life. The injuries suffered by Dave were a fractured skull, bruised section of the brain, broken hip and many less severe cuts and abrasions. A great load was lifted from the inhabitants
of Deloro when word was received that David was off the critical list and had been moved to the pediatrics section of the Hotel Dieu Hospital.




Zion schoolhouse, a Marmora Township landmark since it was built In 1913 (ed. 1903?)  and now the summer home of Mr. and MS. Grenville Lunau of Toronto, was struck by  lightning during a violent electrical storm about 3:00 o'clock Monday afternoon, and completely destroyed by the ensuing fire.

The smoke was first noticed by Jim Young, Doug Carman, and Don Tompkins who were working on the new home of Mr.  and Mrs. Dalton Vilneff, a quarter of a mile away. Mr. Young went to investigate then hurriedly returned for the other two men and they removed the oil tank. They also rescued the family's dog which had been shut in while Mr.  and Mrs. Lunau and their two sons were in Belleville for the day. With the help of Morris VainVoikenburg, who was driving by with his wife, the men managed to save some furniture.

 Mrs. Dalton Vilneflf tried to phone for  the Fire Department from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hedley but their phone was out of order due  to the storm and  Mrs. Vilneif was forced to drive a mile to the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Snider.

Marmora's Voluntary Fire Department responded to the call at 4:05 and fought the blaze until their water supply ran out They were able to refill the tank at a nearby stream but the fire was too well advanced and finally they concentrated on keeping the oil tank from exploding.. The flames and smoke rose to a great height and the heat could be felt across the road.

Mr. and Mrs. Lunau purchased  the old schoolhouse five years ago and had made extensive renovations to the interior, intending to retire there in future. In the meantime,  the family spent holidays and. weekends there and were enjoying a week's vacation when the fire took place..

The house and contents were only partially covered by insurance and represent a: great loss to Mr. and Mrs. Lunau  who collect and restore antiques for sale. They also lost clothing and a minibike belonging to one of their sons.

For the complete details on our schools,  click here.

zION SCHOOL 1903  Ella Faulkner -teacher - Clayton Curtis, J. Wright, W.Sharp, Mabel Bailey,  Hazel McMullen,  Clifford Chard, Myrtle Sharp, Elda Janson, Evelyn Eggleton, Flossie Bailey, Martha Pounder, Percy MacMullen, Iva Maybee, Claude Scott,  Selbourne Sharp, Edith Curtis,  Ella Cummings, Vera Sharp,  Meryl Cummings, Liza Sharp, Myrtle MacMullen, Twins Ida and Ila Sharp, Melville and Melbourne Sharpe,  Percy Lawrence, L. Rupert, Serge Johnson, Roy Scott,   B. Sharp, Clifford Maybee,  Floyd Garrison,  Ernst Curtis, Clarence Maybee

1956 Male Beauty Pageant?

Not exactly,  but all these men  do have something in common.  They were all professional wrestlers who performed  in  the Marmora arena in 1956,  sponsored by the Marmora-Deloro Kiwanis Club!  

Abe_Zvonkin    NYC and Hamilton

Bill Stack The Pride of Bowmanville

 Don Curtis  & Mark Lewin Jacksonville Fl.

Don Curtis  & Mark Lewin Jacksonville Fl.

Karl von Schober  of Minnesota

 PatOConnor, New Zealand

PatOConnor, New Zealand


                                  For more on Marmora Sports,  click here.


On Jan. 18,  1917,  the Marmora Herald wrote a two liner  regarding the great opportunity of obtaining  cheap  grain for feed,  almost as if embarrassed of the circumstances that lay behind the true story.

"A number of the farmers in the vicinity are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a number of carloads of cheap grain from the Quaker Oats Plant at Peterborough,  which was destroyed by fire some time ago.  Some of the grain makes excellent feed."

The "fire" referred to was a devastating explosion and the worst in Peterborough's history,  only five weeks  previous on Dec. 11, 2016.

"A massive explosion and resulting fire levels the Quaker Oats plant in Peterborough, Ontario. In the wake of the disaster, 22 workers are dead—two more would later die as a result of their injuries—with the total damage set at a then unfathomable $2,250,000, not including an estimated $225,000 damage to neighbouring structures. "  

According to Gordon  Young, who wrote the book, 'A Dark Day In Peterborough: A Time To Remember December 11, 1916,     the blaze was "monumental" in the city's history. It put about 500 people out of work who had been busy on three eight-hour shifts daily making food to feed the First World War effort overseas, thanks to a variety of contracts the company held.

The fire is believed to have broken out in Building 11 before spreading to the boiler room, causing an explosion so massive blocks from the structure were thrown across the river. It burned for four days and when it was put out, most of the factory was in ruins.

For an excellent video visit

PS    If you see a resemblance in the architectural styling for these buildings to those of the General Electric Factory , you would be correct. The early 20th century architect for both factory complexes was George Martel Miller, a prolific architectural craftsman. Miller was born in Port Hope in 1855, started working as an architect in 1880 in Toronto, and before he died in 1933 had numerous high profile residential, ecclesiastical, industrial, institutional, and commercial works under his belt, including the Lillian Massey Building,  Toronto's Gladstone Hotel,  Wycliffe College, and the iconic Massey Music Hall in Toronto.  Closer to home,  his work including the Hastings County House of Refuge,  the Tweed Methodist Church,  and some mansions in Belleville. 




When reading old newspapers,  you might find the language to be over-flowery and the fashion ads may seem amusing,  but one thing that does not change is the reference to crime.  Fraud,  assault,  embezzelment,  break and enter,  theft,   and even murder are a common thread throughout the  decades of the  old crumbling publications.

The 1914 Herald mentions the crime of three young ladies "corrupting our youths"  in a house of ill-repute  they kept together.  1915 saw offenders of the "forbidden list" making reference to alcohol.

During WW1,  in 1916, a very unpatriotic crime of fraud was committed by a young lady at the Marmora Fair (see right),   while 1917 saw drug related charges and even a charge of family desertion.

Fraudulent cheques, arson,  shoot ups, a grave robbery  and even a tar and feathering.    Marmora has seen it all.

But perhaps one of the most colourful characters of wayward activity was Isaac Sellyeh,  known and appreciated for his skill of escape,  not just from the hands of the law in Marmora,  but from the Peterborough jail and that of Kingston.

Read more about Isaac's shenanigans.  CLICK HERE and  scroll down to the lower half of the page.

                           You'll also find more on crime if you CLICK HERE



While Sandford Lawrence was reputed to be the best woodsman & trapper around,  he was also well respected as a fishing guide well worth the money.  But he was not alone in this endeavour. Also much appreciated by tourists in the area, especially the regular Americans that frequented Crowe Lake were Willie Revoy,  Alphonse Shannon,  Percy Gray Sr., and Percy Cooper.


For memories of Sandford Lawrence at Marble Point Lodge,  by Ralph Neal,  just click here.



While  documents  indicating mining activity in Deloro can be traced back to 1868 with the Severn Mine (Pearce Mine),  it seems life in Deloro 100 years ago was  an action packed going concern.

1916 saw a changed in the name of the company from Deloro Mining and Reduction Company to Deloro Smelting and Refining Company.  By the following year,   the company, supporting the war effort with stellite,   employed 400 men in a series of plants destined to irretrievably pollute the stretch of the Moira River they sat along,  while manufacturing refined silver,  refined arsenic,  Cobalt oxide,  metallic cobalt,  nickel oxide and stellite.

The company was turning into a company town with company houses,  a new school,  an orchestra,  a company bus,  a  company  trading store and even a company thief!

"Extensive building operations are now under way by the Deloro Mining & Reduction Co.   Curran and Clement have a contract for the erection of six double houses,  a store and a new school.  The buildings will be constructed of cement blocks.  The company is also installing a sprinkling system for fire protection." 

Marmora Herald,  June 15, 1916

"A foreigner, who went by the names of Hill and also Lappe, came up before Judge Deroche on Wednesday of last week for stealing a quantity of silver from Deloro Mining & Reduction Company. He was sentenced to the Provincial Reformatory for two years less a day."    
February 3, 1916

On February 18, 1916,  the Marmora Herald reported:  

" On Tuesday night the general store at Delora, operated by P.J. Gillen & Son was totally destroyed by fire. The origin of the fire is unknown.


It was 1926 when Mr. James Marrin proudly advertised his disposable containers for ice cream,  purchased from the "Individual Sanitary Service" Company and sold out of his drug store at 4 Forsyth Street.

The birth of the Dixie Cup!

Individual Sanitary Service, Inc. (I.S.S.), the company from which Individual Food Service developed, was created in 1926 by Morris Supowitz as a specialty janitorial and paper products supplier to doctors’ offices throughout downtown Los Angeles. Several years after its inception, I.S.S. began to carry and distribute a new, revolutionary, disposable product, which later came to be known as the “Dixie cup.” I.S.S.’s forward-thinking came at the cusp of the emergence of a brand new market‚ food service to-go. With the help of his sons, Perrin and David, Morris Supowitz took advantage of this rising new market and began putting all of the company’s efforts into this new endeavor. Supowitz predicted that the company would profit far greater in the food service industry than as a product supplier to doctors and dentists‚ he was correct!

Well,  he got that right!

For more on Mr. Marrin,  and all the history of 4 Forsyth Street, 



Marmora Herald - August 19, 1937

Two incidents have occurred during the past week, which have been featured in some of the daily newspapers.

One was the killing of a skunk by Mr. Albert Burridge, while holding a lantern in one hand and a gun in the other. The animal visited his chicken coop about 2 a.m. last Wednesday morning and devoured one spring chicken and was busy on a second when the commotion awakened Mr. Burridge. He hurriedly lighted a lantern and seized his gun and with two shots both of which hit the target, killed the skunk.
Mr. Burridge left the task of disposing of the carcass to his son, who took a labor-saving and effective method of getting rid of it. He poked the dead skunk down a woodchuck's hole and filled the opening with earth. Just what happened to the woodchuck or groundhog is not known, but unless it proved a second victim it likely vacated the premises.

     The other unique event had to do with the fate of a mouse. Mrs. John Gifford, who lives on the Deloro Road, was bothered with mice and set a trap in the pantry. The mouse was caught in the trap, but when Mrs. Gifford heard a disturbance in the pantry and went to investigate, she found a large spotted adder had also got in in some way and seized the mouse by the head and was trying to draw it out of the trap. With the horror of a snake, natural to most women, Mrs. Gifford called her neighbor, Mr. James Murphy, to her assistance. When they entered the pantry the snake was coiled around the trap with the mouse's head still in its mouth.  Mr. Murphy secured a pail of water and succeeded in tumbling snake, trap and mouse into the water. The adder released its hold and was killed by Mr. Murphy. It was found to measure 43 inches in length.

(Added note:  The "adder" referred to was probably the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, often mistakenly referred to as a Cobra or a Puff Adder, though neither of these venomous species occur in Canada.   The hog-nosed snake is harmless to humans.)


"When a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan,  the wind is felt in Marmora"

That's a slight variation on an old proverb,  but for Lem Lung and Lem Jong in Marmora,  and many other Chinese immigrants to this country,  it was more than just a cute expression.   The Japanese invasion of China was a life changing event,  both for those in China and those who chose to emigrate around the world.

Excerpt from Arlene Chan's book

In her book,  "The Chinese in Toronto from 1878:  From Outside to inside the Circle",  Toronto writer, Arlene Chan,  describes the Chinese retreat after the 1937 invasion by the  Japanese.

By this time,  two Chinese restaurateurs,  Lem Lung and his cousin & cook, Lem Jong,  were well established as the "Glossy Cafe"  in the St. James Hotel on the main business section of Marmora.

But according to the Marmora Herald in April of 1938,  the wind of this far-eastern war was felt in Marmora. 

"Four Chinese from Belleville paid a visit to the Glossy Cafe on Sunday.  They are raising funds to provide raincoats and rubber boots for Chinese soldiers in theEast." 

It seems however,  the Glossy Cafe was not so "glossy" after all.  Having moved to Marmora in 1929,  Lem Lung suffered many losses.  In 1936,  he learned his wife,  whom he had left behind in China,  had died before he saw her again.

In 1939 he was a victim of a terrible assault in his own restaurant that left him almost dead.  In 1946,  a gas explosion in his kitchen obliterated his business and George Aunger's Meat market next door,  and damage was reported to the apartments upstairs and other businesses in the building.

That year   Lem had had enough,  had sold his business to another relative, Lem Sam,  and returned to China.  Luckily for Lem Sam,  he moved his business (which we believe included a laundry business)  to a building behind the library,  for in 1952,  the St. James hotel sufferedits third terrible fire,  at which time it lost its peak roof.

(Photo - Lem Lung and Lem Sam with William Cottrell and Casha Boyd)




Knowing the Marmoraton Mine would close one day,  Reeve Shannon,  in 1972,  saw tourism as the economic hope of the village.  His council purchased the land that would become the Memorial Park,  and dreamed of a beautiful tourist destination.  While he had such a progressive idea,  he never saw the final result.  It was the Lions Club,  years later,  that made the beautiful park we have today..........and the swans arrived naturally.


Feb 9, 2010                   Voice:  The late Bob Gapes


Pulls 4 From Lake in Dark - Two Just About Done

Toronto Star,  June 6, 1950
Four Toronto men saved from possible drowning in Crowe Lake May 24, today regard 17 year old Bill Bonter as Ontario's unsung hero of 1950.

There has been no recognition of young Bonter's heroism, they say. The youth, in a 16 foot, round bottom skiff, located the four in the darkness as they clung, exhausted,  in their over- turnedpunt, and he hauled each one of safety. The four are Bud Eldridge, 28, and his brother, Cameron, 18, Norman North, 19, and Stan Carneigle, 23.

Late on the holiday afternoon the four men rented a punt and an outboard motor from Bill Bonter's father. They headed out into the lake to fish. About nine p.m. Bonter returned from a trip up the lake and tied his skiff at his father's summer resort wharf.
"When I heard them hollering and yelling out there on the lake" Bonter recalled. "I couldn't distinguish words but they were certainly hollering. They had dad's motor and 1 didn't
want to lose it."

"The water was cold," he said, and they were nearly exhausted. They were clinging to the overturned punt and it kept turning over and over as they tired and put more of their weight on it. Even when it was right side up it was about 99 percent submerged.

One of them couldn't swim, or not swim very well, and none of them felt he could swim well enough to reach shore more than a mile away. All they could do was rest their hands on the
punt. Only the buoyancy of the wood in it kept it up. If they put any weight on it, it would go down.

Bill Bonter said if the lake had not been calm he never would have been able to get the men into his long, narrow skiff. Two were just about done for, he related. They had been trying to swim the boat toward the shore, but it kept flipping over and over.  They were in the water about an hour and a quarter, although they said they had been in for longer than two hours.

"One by one I hoisted them into the skiff. Two of them were pretty heavy fellows. But I got them in. They just sat there in the boat and shivered. They all had their clothes on."




March 15, 1917 - Another chapter in the checkered history of Cordova Mines was brought to a close when the big mills, No. 1 shaft house and the black- smith shop was totally destroyed by fire last Monday night.
The origin of the fire was a mystery but it started in the' shaft house. The buildings were all of wood and burned with surprising rapidity.
During the past year the old compressed air system had been done away with and a modern electric power system installed. The mine had been in operation only a few weeks and a number of men were at work below ground where the fire started. All but three escaped through another shaft but the three who were cut off were not rescued until noon on Tuesday. The trapped men succeeded in reaching the third level where there was a storehouse for powder and other supplies and were little worse for their experience when rescued.