Once Upon a Time: Memories of Inverhuron – Part Two

          Bob Johnston

In this 1971 article, Margaret Brown continues to share some of her cherished memories of summers spent on Lake Huron’s shores.

My dream of returning to Inverhuron as an adult might not have been realized if I had not met Mary Bell at our barn-raising in July, 1905. After spending that previous year in Ottawa attending the Normal School (teacher training), I returned to begin teaching at a school on the 6th of Bruce. Barn-raisings were great social events. Both Mary and I immediately knew we would be fast friends.

One cold, blustery February week-end the next winter, I was Mary’s houseguest. The lake was visible from the Bell’s big farm house, and Inverhuron was only about two miles away. We talked about my cherished dream of spending a few days right on its shore. Mary promptly said: “We can camp there this summer. We have a tent.” The idea was so startling and exciting I was speechless. My brothers were skeptical. It was a crazy idea. Most of the farmers lived on land far from the lake and more suitable for agriculture. I was forced to admit the idea seemed incongruous in stormy February weather. What would I do at Inverhuron?

The idea was no dream for Mary. To finalize plans she invited me again to her home one lovely weekend in June. “We must have a chaperone,” she said. Did I think our mothers would act? No sooner said than done. We could not expect our mothers to share the hardships we were planning. We would make our beds of cedar boughs. Mary found the solution. Captain MacKay’s house, just behind a clump of cedar trees at the base of Point Douglas, was empty and only a few hundred feet from the beach. The place could be rented for a whole month for only $15.00. In mid-July we moved in. Mary chopped cedar boughs and we had brought buffalo robes to cover them. We fell asleep to the soft murmur of the lake and the occasional call of the whip-poor-will.

News of our “camping at the lake” soon spread to Tiverton. Interest grew. At another barn-raising for the Hughes family, one visitor stood out among the crowd. Originally from Bruce, “Diamond Dan” was so-called because he was reported to have made a fortune in diamonds in South Africa. He was interested in our camp and within a week had set up two tents on the high bank. Once it became known that “Diamond Jim” had a established a camp there, several young women rushed to find a place to stay along the shore too. More and more people came each summer.

Many years ago the Kincardine paper described the beginning of Inverhuron as a summer resort. The credit for its beginning was given to “Diamond Jim.” As an eligible bachelor, he was certainly a drawing card that first year but I always feel the credit belonged to Mary Bell.

This article was first written for the Bruce County Historical Society’s 1971 Yearbook

and adapted by Bob Johnston