masthead image

Brudenell

Introduction

Town site photo

Abandonded garage (now demolished) and dwelling.

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Brudenell, located along the Opeongo Road in Renfrew County, was first settled in the 1850s. It began as a stopping place and outpost that catered to the numerous lumberjacks headed up the rocky trails to what is now Algonquin Park.

By the late 1860s, Brudenell had three hotels with taverns, blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, a racetrack, a school and a Roman Catholic church. Brudenell was on the stage line to nearby Eganville, Rockingham and Combermere, and had plenty of offerings for travellers stopping along the way. Its main industries seem to have been gambling, drinking, and sex - not necessarily in that order.

The arrival of Jim and Mike Costello from Ireland in the early 1870s did absolutely nothing to enhance Brudenell's unsavoury reputation. It was under their watch that Brudenell became known as the most notorious 'sin-bucket' along the Opeongo.

Brudenell began to decline following the arrival of the Canada Atlantic Railway in 1893. The railway travelled directly to the lumbering camps, bypassing Brudenell completely.

Today Brudenell still supports a very small population. A number of buildings still stand. These include the schoolhouse, now a private home, the old Costello hotel, an abandoned store and a few other buildings. The Catholic Church still stands and continues to hold regular services.