Heritage photo inspires questions

This interesting picture was sent in by Bob LaRochelle of Whitney after reading The Current’s article about clergy of long ago visiting lumbermen in Valley shanties and conducting services during those trips. The picture belonged to Bob’s father (Greg LaRochelle 1923-2008) and his grandfather (Joseph LaRochelle 1887-1966) before that — both of whom were born at Golden Lake. 

It looks like the scene takes place in a shanty. Notice what looks like a clothesline at the top front of the picture. Both men and women are featured in the photo and everyone appears to be well-dressed. Might the occasion be a religious service or a wedding reception? The clothes might provide a clue about the year. We would like to hear from anyone who recognizes any individuals in the photograph, or can explain what is going on.

Note to our readers: If you are interested in having a picture and story featured in The Madawaska Valley Current, please submit the information to Bob Corrigan at madvalleycurrent@gmail.com (subject Heritage Photos) or mail your photo to Bob c/o The Current at PO Box 1097, Barry’s Bay K0J 1B0 (originals will be returned).


  1. The Current

    Editor’s Note: The Current took the liberty of sharing this post on the Ottawa Valley History Facebook page and received the following response from Alan Soucie:
    It is not an early shanty because the roof is not built like a logging shanty which used hollowed logs split in two (overlapping – face up and face down) placed over the roof ridge, purlins and wall plate on either side. Later logging operations used planks for the roof like the one in this photo, so it may be a more modern logging building possibly from the late 30s or into the 40s. Victorian style dresses, so a clothing history buff might have a better idea. Also, photos like this need to be high resolution and zoomable if people are to examine them more closely. It seems likely that this was religious gathering on the Sunday holiday at a logging camp. Bear in mind that some logging operations were somewhat permanent with the families living on sight, but in this case, it is all adults, so it may have just been a rare Sunday visit by the ladies.

  2. Eve-Marie Chamot

    The clothing styles are pre-1914 and most likely 1895 to 1910. Children and older adults would be present at a religious service or wedding reception and there are none in the photo. They all seem to be young adults with ~2 men per each woman and notice that all the men are clean shaven with only one bearded fellow but virtually all of them has a nicely trimmed and groomed moustache to hide their boyish looks:- in that era single women needed to look young and single men needed to look older to maximize chances of finding a mate. Perhaps it was a Saturday night frontier barn dance or perhaps a Sunday afternoon “social”?
    Have you taken the photo out of its frame to examine the back for notations? Is Mr Joseph LaRochelle in the photo?
    If he attended this event he would have been at least 18 yrs old which would narrow the date range to 1905 to 1910. It’s quite charming and you could imagine them playing the “Log Driver’s Waltz” as the young gentlemen take turns taking ladies for a “spin” on the shanty floor while a fiddler plays a merry tune.

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