Last fall (how long ago it now seems) I took the road less travelled along Central and North Frontenac county roads, following my nose for old buildings and stories.
This area is part of the well-known settlement story, of the tantalizing promises of the Colonization Roads which led immigrants hungry for land of their own, and a future, to break their hearts on the stony ground of the country north of today's Highway 7.
The story is usually told by the structures still standing...a tumbledown log house attests to the reality - the farm may have provided a small living for a large family, but there were never the resources to build that next house of frame or stone of which the settler dreamed.
Nevertheless, there were a number of fine farms and well-maintained homes and properties, attesting to the fickle nature of geology - they were the birthright of folks whose land grant fell onto a band of good soil, which was all one needed - that and good health, extraordinary luck, and strong sons. Sounds Biblical.
|so few general stores now|
These are a few of the lovely places I visited - I don't know their story, but they have stories to tell.
There's a terrific history of Frontenac County, published a number of years ago, titled County of a Thousand Lakes: The History of the County of Frontanac 1673 - 1973, published in 1982. Not surprisingly, it's a large volume; I've borrowed it twice through BPL's most obliging inter-library loan department, and still haven't made it all the way through.
Why are the stone buildings of Harrowsmith striped? Where did the old cabin resorts go? Can I find that great twisty road north of Sydenham again?
When did folks stop going to church here? What destroyed these small communities? Who are the folks who live here today?
|thanks to Vintage Kingston FB|
So many stories to tell.
There may just be a new book of Frontenac County history (from the ground up) coming soon. Stay tuned.
For now, a few photos to take me back to the back roads and communities of Frontenac- and hopefully entice you to go too.