Thank you to Lois Yantha of Barry’s Bay for sharing these materials from the original Gun Mountain Lodge “back in the day.”
Current contributor Gil Glofcheskie remembers Gun Mountain Lodge well. He was in a unique position to earn some cash during his school years and recalls, “My Dad was the guide at the Lodge. I helped him out some times. I also skinned bear for hunters, handled the dogs during the deer hunt, and placed hunters on stands.”
Asked for his Lodge memories, Glofcheskie replied, “Adventures of a life time — way too many to express.” Some of those adventures: Meeting people from the States. Their generosity to me. Trips into the park where we caught 5 lb speckles. About the Lodge owners, he said, “Lovely folks who treated me well, helped form my ideas about people and helped influence my life. Made me possibly a little more worldly – hopefully.”
Who were those “lovely folks?”
Alliene Fenwick (nee Tate) 1912-1996 was the force behind Gun Mountain Lodge.
I first knew Alliene Fenwick in the summer of 1965 when I was working at the Tourist Information Bureau, a small building that was set up in front of the old arena where ValuMart is now located. She was operating Gun Mountain Lodge. I often wonder how she ended up in Renfrew County. She was a very strong business person who seemed to have the correct take on anything that came up in the realm of tourism.
That view was widely shared. For example, Fenwick was on the Board of Directors of Mount Madawaska co-operative ski hill. A news report of the grand opening in February 1971 ended with the words: “But there was a special ovation for Mrs. Alliene Fenwick, to whom goes the credit for the original idea …”
Fenwick’s obituary explained that although she was born in Tennessee, her business career progressed to marketing director for a major firm in Cleveland. She put those talents to use promoting tourism in the Madawaska Valley where she built and operated Gun Mountain Lodge (later called Gun Mountain Chateau). After a lengthy illness, she passed away in 1996 in Nepean.
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 email@example.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).
We “house sat” the Lodge one winter when we first moved back to the Bay……beautiful spot!!
Could you do a story about “The Drumming Partridge” shop in Combermere? Nowadays there are craft shops everywhere here but in those days of farming and logging there was only the “Drumming Partridge” which was very much the exception to local life. They had a sign on Hwy 28 south of Bancroft near the present Faraday fire hall and that’s how we children knew we were getting close to Barry’s Bay and “Kaszuby” after a very long and seemingly endless drive from Toronto through endless forests and we were becoming quite fidgety.
Back “in the day” it was much wilder around Gun Mountain Lodge. Ca 1963 my younger brother (10 years old) rowed a boat to near the Lodge with his little fishing rod to catch rock bass (he had a natural talent for catching rock bass!). However he saw a “big grey dog with a long bushy tail” sitting on the shore so he rowed to it to get a closer look and he landed on the beach nearby and even tried talking to it but it turned around and walked into the woods so he went back to fishing and returned later and told us about the big “dog”. However one older fellow just laughed and said that it was really a timber wolf and my mother giggled and said “Sweetie, it’s a good thing it didn’t try to eat you!” so that became my younger brother’s big “adventure story” he told to his friends when we returned to Toronto a few weeks later. In those days often at night you could hear the wolves howling in the distance and the local farmers would need to keep their logging horses in little “shanty barns” in the woods during the Winter to protect them from the wolves.
Were you also the young fellow on duty in the little tourism hut in 1962? Little old me saw my very first topographic map that Summer and I found out that you could buy them at that little hut for 25 cents so when I went as a “helper” on a shopping and mail trip to Barry’s Bay I bought my very first “top map” there which we all thought was a “marvel”. I was afraid to go there because the old arena was HUGE and looked like it wanted to fall down plus it was made of wood with a LOT of wood siding and it looked like a big “fire trap” to me.