Tipperary Hotel 1935

Marmora Herald -   

May 27,1915 -  Stanislaws Bertrand (1860-1957) is building a twenty room summer hotel for Mrs. James McGrath (nee Mary O'Connor) (1867-1960) on the east shores of Crowe Lake. When finished the hotel will be called the "Tipperary".  Stanislaw Bertrand was also the builder of the Marmora Town Hall.

June 7, 1923- Mr. James McGrath will open his dancing pavilion at Tipperary House,  Crowe Lake next Wednesday evening.


By Mrs. Doris Fitzgerald, who spent 3 weeks at Tipperary House while her husband was relieving Mr. Murray at the Dominion Bank, Marmora

In Ontario it is the exception rather than the rule to find a farm which has been handed down from one generation to another for more than 130 years. But this distinction can be claimed for two families in Marmora and Jim McGrath who operates the Tipperary Hotel on Crowe Lake, and his older sisters and brothers are descendants of both.

Back in the early 1800's their great grandfather James McGrath of Tipperary, Ireland brought his wife and two children to Canada, by sailing ship. Why they migrated to this part of Ontario, no one knows. Perhaps it had been rumored that in the wilds north of Belleville, there were lovely little green fringed lakes, and a gently rolling countryside, reminiscent of the 'hills of home'.

At that time the Crowe Indians roamed the district hunting, fishing and campingin the summer in the cedar grove which grew near the site of Tipperary House. Though given to stealing under cover of darkness, they were a friendly tribe and there are many interesting stories about them. It is said that in return for a bob-tailed horse they agreed to vacate the Islands for the McGraths, and move to the other side of the lake. "Anne's Island" is so called because a squaw of that name was paddled over and marooned there by her jealous husband, whenever he went to buy whisky at the tavern. Then there was the old Indian who brought little bits of silvered rock to show the settlers. No one was ever able to discover where he found them, but there was whispering about a wonderful silver cave near Crowe Lake.

Upon James McGrath's death the 200 acre grant was divided between his two sons , Michael and Thomas. Due to subdivision and the raising of the lake level by river dams, the original holding has since been reduced to 43 acres surrounding the old farmhouse. The kitchen wing of this house was built of logs and then was clapboarded over. The first home of the McGraths, also of logs, stood a few hundred yards east.

The McGrath Family at Tipperary
front row: Jim & Mike McGrath middle: Mary McGrath Callery, Mary O'Connor McGrath; Jim & Everard McGrath top: Angela McGrath byrnes, Margaret McGrath Casey, Elizabeth McGrath Forte; Desmond McGrath

In 1914, Mr. and Mrs. James McGrath built a large addition to the farmhouse and opened the Tipperary Hotel, which for many years offered hospitality to thousands of Canadian and American summer visitors. Many of them return year after year to fish and swim and play, or simply to rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery with it's surprising contrasts of field and forest and vast outcroppings of mineral rock. To chat with Mrs. James McGrath is to touch hands with the past, for she has vivid remembrance of the grandfather John Wolfe who lived to the ripe old age of 103.

She heard from him at first hand about those arduous years when mighty trees had to be felled, the ground cleared of stone and roads hewn through the brush before they could receive the title of their land. The first grain grown was cut with a sickle and carried on horseback down a blazed trail to the mill in Belleville. Later it
was teamed in by oxen. The first actual profit made by settlers was from potash (obtained by burning the trees). They took it in to Belleville where it was used in soap making and received household necessities in trade.

Margie Royle writes: These ladies, I believe, would be Grampa's (Ed O'Connor) sister Mary's girls. I remember my Great Aunt Mary who lived well into her nineties. When I was a child, it was her son Jim and his wife Jean (Gauthier) who ran the Tipperary House. This place always held a bit of magic for me!

Mrs. McGrath can remember a stove in her grandfather's house. It had brass legs and a big brass knob on top, and had been made at the foundry in Marmora. She also can remember the iron ore being brought across Crowe Lake on scows from the mine in Blairton.

Mrs. James McGrath has probably never considered herself a 'Career Woman' yet her personal record should give modern girls food for thought. While a busy farmer's wife she bore and raised 9 children. Besides her proved achievement as wife and mother Mrs. McGrath helped to plan, and run for a number of years, the Tipperary Hotel. She must have known lots of hard work, but never a dull or boring moment. Now at last she has time not to sit with idle hands but to use the palette and brushes laid aside since girlhood. She has a real talent for painting and though entirely self taught, has many pretty landscapes to her credit.  A skilled and enthusiastic fisherman, she is also often to be found on the lake.
Marmora Herald

May 31, 1934 -  Thomas E. Potts,  who has leased and operated the Royal Hotel for the past nine years,  has leased Tipperary House and the farm adjoining at Crowe Lake for a term of years.  With the through highway running so close, it should be a fine location for a summer resort. 

TELEPHONE· 81-2, MARMORA P. O. Address, R. R. 3, MARMORA .

Small Mouth Black Bass and Muskie Fishing. . Deer 'and Bear Hunting nearby.Boating, Bathing. and Tennis. One of the most beautiful lakes in Ontario. About 1 mile from No. 7 Highway or 1.5. miles from No. 14 Highway at Marmora. Visitors coming by Toronto can travel all the way on No. 7
Highway. or over No. 2 Highway to Welcome. then No. 28 to Peterborough and No. 7 from Peterborough to Marmora. From eastern points use No. 7 Highway from Ottawa or No. 2 from Kingston to Belleville and No. 14 from Belleville to Marrnora.
Small cottages for sleeping quarters suitable for families. Rates $2.00per day or $12.00 per week including rooms and meals. Skiffs and outboard motor boats $1.00 per clay and up. Guides provided if desired .

Jean and James McGrath

Verna Norman, Tipperary House

Aces Orchestra  1932  Jack Grant (far left) at Tipperary Hotel

(The McGraths returned from Timmins in April of 1939 to take over management of the Hotel again.)

The hotel changed hands a number of times thereafter.  Ken and Kathy Denys owned it at some point and sold it to Joanne and Gary Thompson in 1984,  who kept it until 1989.


Frank and Helen Gallagher McKinnon settled into their farm home near Crowe Lake (on the former McGrath property)  in 1934. The only other year round residents were the Warrens on the farm north of them. Besides raising milking cattle and chickens, Frank cut ice block from Crowe Lake (using his team of horses, Tip & Joe). He then sold the blocks of ice to the campers in the summer for their ice boxes.

The children attended school in Marmora and often had to be taken in by sleigh because the road was often not ploughed. On good days they walked.  The McGraths and McKinnons remained on their property while the
Warrens sold their farm to Otto and Fanny Mikkola.

The McKinnon Gallery

Youngest in Michael Gallagher/Margaret Connors family - Helen Gertrude Gallagher (Mrs. Frank McKinnon ) & Myrtle Bridget Gallagher (Mrs. Donald McCormick).

Sons of Frank McKinnon & Helen (Gallagher). Grandsons of Killian McKinnon & Bridget (Murray); Michael Gallagher & Margaret (Connors).

In order of age from eldest: Back Left - Bob (born 1936); Back Right - Don, Centre Back - Jack & Jim, Front - Charlie & Martin

Wilma bush writes: Don McKinnon with Carol Wilson on left - Bev Barnett & Bob McKinnon on right (they eventually married & had 4 sons - Terry, Tim, Stephen & Rick). My 2 eldest brothers!