Township of Rideau Lakes
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Driving Tour - Crosby to Salem
Travel the Historic Stone Road

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For millennia, people of our First Nations paced the portages that linked the Rideau and the Cataraqui River Basins. They hunted and gathered the riches of the mid-latitude forest and fauna. They fished the bounty of the lakes. Their trails were followed by European explorers and traders of the 17th and 18th centuries. Sightings by surveyors and sounds by timbermen’s axes lead to exploitation of rich forests of pine and oak. Early in the 19th century, pioneer families hastily built their log shanties, their first-stage shelters against oncoming winter. In time, they built more permanent abodes of squared logs with amenities like doors of sawn lumber, windows with glass, stone fireplaces and chimneys, their second-stage pioneer homes. By the decades about the 1840s, farmland was being cleared and wealth flowed from grains and livestock. Fine third-stage homes began to appear, crafted by talented artisans from stone, brick and lumber to grace the countryside along the “Stone Road”.

Introduction

Join us as we travel along the north shore of Newboro Lake. Cross over the World Heritage Rideau Canal west of Newboro. Continue along the western shore of the Upper Rideau to the intersection with Leeds County Road 10. You have traveled the “Stone Road”, completed in 1857 boasting a macadamized surface made of compacted layers of crushed stone. Repeated winter frosts pushed larger stones to the surface and made the road extremely bumpy for wagons having iron-rimmed wheels. Payment of tolls just east of Newboro and near the junction of Perth Road caused even more consternation for weary travelers.

But now you are free to turn left onto the historic Perth Road and travel along country lanes to Salem. No witches were burned at the stake here! Our Salem was once a peaceful and thriving farming community boasting a cheddar cheese factory, general store, school and church. Thence you will turn north-eastward onto County Road 12, now called the Westport Road but once the “Mast Road”. Here tall sturdy pine “sticks” destined to mast British Naval Ships were hauled to Rideau Lake and on to the seas of the Empire. Much of this area west of Newboro was settled following the completion of the Rideau Canal in the early 1830s.

Prosperous farms emerged on this flat and fertile extension of the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Relatively straight roads and square fields distinguish this trek and terrain, strikingly different from the rugged Canadian Shield north of Westport or south toward Bedford Mills. Pause to study over a dozen fine buildings crafted by skilful masons and carpenters back in the 1850s and 60s. Appreciate the riches of climate, soil and vegetation along the Stone Road and Mast Road. Sense the toil and talents, joys and sorrows of the families who cleared farms and built community here over a century ago.

Civic addresses are cited for specific buildings where available. Kilometer readings will vary slightly with vehicle and tire wear. GPS values are given for intersections noted along this heritage route. GPS values are rounded to 4 decimal places of degrees.

Crosby (N.44.6545°, W. 76.2571°)

Back in the 1800s, the hamlet was once called Singleton’s Corners. Early in the 1900s this community boasted a number of shops, a church, a school, a cheese factory. In the 1950s you could watch Ma and Pa Kettles at the Crosby Drive-in Theatre, one of the first such environs of entertainment (and romance) in eastern Ontario.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines, set your odometers. Drive westward on Hwy. 42. First stop at 2.6 km., Little Rideau Lake Road (N.44.6603°, W.76.2901°) - see the map at the bottom of this page.

Lewis Poole Farm
Lewis Poole Farm

The Poole (Lewis) Farmstead, 8286 County Road 42.

This is one of the most complete turn-of-the19th century farmsteads to be seen here in Keystone Country of the Rideau Corridor. The log building standing near the centre of this scene was the home to which Mary Ann Scott, wife of Samuel Chaffey, founder of Chaffey’s Mills, moved in 1835. Widowed twice, Mary Ann found shelter with her brother and family at this homestead. This eleven log house has square-jointed corners, the logs chinked with shavings. It is now used for storage. Note a board-and-batten barn, a stone ashery where the Poole family once stored ashes for making lye soap, a traditional farm house with verandah and a hired man’s house adjacent to Highway 42. The hip-roofed barn with 2 concrete silos is a legacy of 19th century pioneer toil and talent that prospered through 20th century wars and depression. Also note the rail fence so typical of 19th century farmstead.

As you travel on toward Newboro, note to your left the embankment of the old B.W. and S.S.M. Railway that parallels Highway 42. Where trains once chugged all year, now snowmobiles roar in winter. Also to your left you can see a maple bush that still provides its sweet nectar each spring time.

At 4.6 km., at the eastern edge of Newboro is where the toll gate for the Stone Road was located back in 1862. But you need pay no toll now. Feel free to explore historic Newboro.

The Sappers and Miners Grave Yard is located west of Newboro (N. 44.6490°, W.76.2370°). You will see it just after you cross the Canal. The very challenging canal cut at Newboro was supervised by the Royal Sappers and Miners.

This eleven log house has square jointed corners and between the logs were jammed log shavings a method of chinking. To the right of the log home is the original stone ashery where soap was made.

At the eastern edge of Newboro, at 4.6 km., is where the toll gate for the beginning of the Stone Road was located in 1862.

The Sappers and Miners Grave Yard located after the Canal is crossed at 5.8 km. The canal cut at Newboro was supervised by the Royal Sappers and Miners.



Hutchings House
Hutchings House
2. Brewster (Hutchings) House - 9107 Hwy 42This majestic stone home was built in the early 1860’s by James and William Brewster, sons of John Brewster from Scotland. Built of local Cambrian sandstone, note the massive stone lintels over the windows and the main entrance on the lower storey and the key-stoned arch over the upstairs dormer. Paintings on the front hall wall, done in 1892, remain as part of the interior decor.



Ryan Windmill
Ryan Windmill



3. Windmill, Ryan Farm - 9160 Hwy 42

One of the last functioning windmills in the area, this one is still connected to a hand pump. Prior to electrification in the 1940’s, virtually every farm had a windmill to pump fresh and refreshing water for home and stock.


O'Riley (Blair) House
O'Riley (Blair) House
4. O’Riley (Blair) House - 9277 Hwy 42

Patrick O’Riley was a school teacher who emigrated to Canada from the Emerald Isle. In the 1860s, he constructed this fine home out of beautiful local sandstone formed by waves breaking on ancient Paleozoic beaches. Carefully masoned ashlars were meticulously fitted to make this secure abode for Patrick, his wife and their 8 children. Note the typical returned eaves at the corners of the roof.


At 10.2 km., turn right at Forrester’s Landing Drive (N.44.6682°, W.76.3669°).

Forrester House
Forrester House
5. Forrester House - 12 Forrester’s Landing Drive

Gabriel Forrester, a lumber merchant began construction of this magnificent 5-bay, 1½ storey stone house in 1859. Tragically, Gabriel fell from a stage coach and died before his house was completed. Stoically, his wife Catherine saw their home completed in 1866 masoned from fine local Cambrian sandstone. From the balconied veranda, generations of Forresters enjoyed a magnificent view across the Upper Rideau to the steep face of the haunting and daunting pre-Cambrian Shield.

Proceed back out to County Road 42 and continue west.

Catton Hall
Catton Hall
6. Catton Hall - 9825 Hwy 42

The other toll gate on Stone Road was in front of this house. This grand house, of 1½ storey Classic Revival style with 5 bays was built in 1851 by Agamondesham Roe. He was the toll gate keeper at the Westport end of Stone Road. Note the sectional stone lintels above the 6/6 windows downstairs, its symmetrical main entrance with its headlight and side lights illuminating the central hallway; its central dormer with key-stoned Roman arch and casement window enlightening the upper hallway. An elaborate veranda once graced the front of Mr. Roe, toll keeper’s home from whence many comments, profound and profane were undoubtedly exchanged.

At 13.1 km., turn left off Hwy. 42 onto County Road 10 (N. 44.6706°, W.76.3936°), the historic Perth Road that once bore horse, wagon and teamster from Kingston to Perth.

At 15.9km (N.44.6537°, W.76.4215°) cross the 9th Consession Rd. onto the Centerville Rd.


Laidlaw House
Laidlaw House
7. Laidlaw House (Stepping Stone B&B) - 328 Centreville Road

David Laidlaw, a mason by trade, began construction of this fine 1½ storey, 3-bay house in 1849. He quarried the stone from strata on his own land and completed his home in 1852. This beautiful heritage structure has been exquisitely enhanced in period format and now hosts guests seeking peace and reflection and/or grand festivity and reception. Welcome to Frontenac County, to the Frontenac Arch of the Canadian Shield, to hilly and winding roads, to forests, fields and farms with irregular geography.

Proceed along the Centerville Rd. to the Devil Lake Rd. at km. 18.7 (N.44.6414°, W.76.4502°). Turn right onto the Devil Lake Road and proceed to the Salem Church at km. 20.3.

8. Salem Church - 12 Devil Lake Road

This Wesleyan Methodist Church was constructed in 1865 of local Cambrian sandstone similar to that quarried two decades earlier for the next five homes you will see on this drive. It is now a private home but still graced with beautiful gothic windows and subtle gingerbread trim.

From the Devil Lake Road, (N. 44.6557°, W.76.4536°) turn right onto the Westport Road (County Rd. #12). Welcome back to Leeds County, to the St. Lawrence Lowlands, to roads that are straight and level (almost) and to fields and farms that are rectangular (usually)

Salem Church
Samuel Ripley House
9. Samuel Ripley House - 4748 Westport Road

This large and typical 1½ storey house is one of the earliest third-stage pioneer homes built of stone in the area. Samuel Ripley was a blacksmith by trade and came to North Crosby in 1837. The smithy was essential to every pioneer community.

“By the fierce red light of his furnace bright, the strokes of his hammer rung”.
Tubal Cain by Charles Mackay
Samuel prospered and commenced building this house in the early 1840s. Highlighting its carriage shed is a unique stone arch over its wide double doors.

Alba Taggart House
Alba Taggart House
10. Alba Taggart House - 4809 Westport Road

Again, another beautiful home fashioned from stone in Ontario Cottage style. Typically 1½ storeys, the Taggart house has 3 bays and is built on an “L” design. It was built by stone mason, Peter Ewing who learned his trade in Scotland and built this house in 1848. Like most master masons and carpenters of his time, Peter carried his plans in his head. The dormer and its window reflect Peter’s slightly different interpretation of these architectural features.

William Ewing House
William Ewing House
11. William Ewing House - 4852 Westport Road

Peter Ewing constructed this house for his brother William in the 1850’s. William originally bought 50 acres on this lot in 1841. This stone house was listed in the 1861 census. Again they manifest Peter’s skill and versatility. Look carefully at the large quoins, exceptional ashlars that required a distinct quarry stratum. This work of his artistry is distinct from other stone homes in the immediate area: similar in having a roofline with returned eaves; different in having no central dormer.

Halladay School
The Halladay School
12. The Halladay School - 4992 Westport Road

This beautiful school house, now converted to a residence, is evidence of the priority of education for their children among families living along “Mast Road”. Previously a log school, dated 1848 occupied this site. The last teacher in the log school (S.S. No.5) was Matilda (Hamilton) Palmer and she with her students moved into this fine new school in September 1868. Note the 12/12 windows, small of pane but especially large of window for schools of that time. When not attentive to their 3 R’s, Matilda’s students, especially boys might cast an envious eye to fishin’ on nearby Westport Sand Lake or to huntin’ on Westport Mountain and the granite wilds beyond.

At km. 24.8, note the maple sugar bush along the ridge to your right. It is a sample of the remarkable mid-latitude forest that graces our area and provides habitat for a wide range of fauna including white-tailed deer and red-tailed hawks.

Palmer House
Palmer House

13. Palmer House - 5020 Westport Road

Benjamin Palmer was born in Canada in 1801, moved to North Crosby in 1840 and purchased 25 acres of this lot. In 1861, he was still living in a log home, a second-stage pioneer dwelling. But shortly thereafter, he built this fi ne 1½ storey, 3-bay stone home, a typical and beautiful third-stage pioneer house. Nine-over-nine windows illuminated the dining room and parlor and guests were welcomed through the front doorway graced with headlight and sidelights. Continue north-eastward along Westport Road to the village of Westport at the corner of Bedford and Concession Streets (25.3km). (N.44.6598°, W.76.4038°) Spend some leisure time at Foley Mountain Conservation Area, its Spy Rock vista, enjoyable hiking trails and fi ne beach. Enjoy the hospitality of the many fi ne services and activities of the Village of Westport, a “Community for All Seasons”. Follow Hwy. 42 back to Newboro at km. 34 for fi ne food and shopping. Take a leisurely walk around this historic village at “the Top of the Rideau” with the guidance of our Walking Tour of Newboro brochure. Newboro boasts some of the fi nest fi shing in North America in the summer; dog-sled racing in the winter; just two of Newboro’s many activities.

Follow Hwy. 42 back to Crosby at km. 39.6.

We hope you enjoyed this driving tour of the Township of Rideau Lakes. This tour is just a sample of our many scenic highways, byways and waterways that make our Township an “Experience to Remember”. Thank you for your interest in some of our many “World Class” natural and heritage treasures.

Tour Map

Published by the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee of the Township of Rideau Lakes, Doug Bond Chairman.
Artwork: Jillian Bond and Margaret Martin
Original research and text: Neil A. Patterson

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You may also wish to see:

Chaffeys Lock Tour   Delta Tour   Elgin Tour     Newboro Tour     Portland Tour

       Driving Tour - Morton to Crosby


Township of Rideau Lakes, 1439 County Road 8, Delta, ON, K0E 1G0
email: info@twprideaulakes.on.ca
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Tel: 613-928-2251 or 1-800-928-2250 - Fax: 613-928-3097
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Tel: 613-928-2896 or 1-866-677-4577

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