Behind the general store©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Goudreau had a rather modest beginning as a siding on the Algoma Central Railway (ACR). In its early days, it contained a tiny station and section houses for ACR employees in 1912.
Mineral explorations indicated traces of gold, silver, copper, and iron pyrite and many prospectors began to move into the area. It was this frenzy of prospecting that helped form Goudreau which developed into a dropping off point and supply post for numerous prospectors. By 1921 there were 80 residents living in Goudreau. Most either worked for the railway as section men or prospected in the local bush.
The Lake Superior Corporation leased the first mine to Nichols Chemicals, a company that fabricated sulphuric acids prior to and during the First World War. After the war ended, markets collapsed and the mine closed down. The first gold mine to open was the Emily, situated on the shores of Dog Lake. Later other mines such as the Algold, Algoma Summit, and the Edward, went into production. The Edward mine was the only property that didn't support a town site.
The village of Goudreau grew to contain up to 200 residents. The community consisted of a hotel, two stores, a one room school, a garage, a make shift bank, boarding houses, a two storey station and numerous houses. Some creative residents also ran a movie theatre, as well as a steam bath. The cost of each was 25 cents. A post office, situated in a store, opened in 1915 and lasted until 1966.
Goudreau also experienced one serious robbery. First there was an attempted hijack outside Goudreau. The mine-manager left town with pay packets for the Cline Mine employees. Then he encountered a roadblock where he saw sign that simply read "Not to go forward or else..." There were further instructions to drop the case, turn around and leave. The manager complied in part but instead left with the money. Not to be easily daunted, the perpetrators robbed the safe, situated in Goudreau, and blew it up in the woods. Neither the money nor the thieves were ever found.
Like so many gold mining areas in Canada, Goudreau's demise started with the Second World War. As war efforts demanded iron, nickel and steel, gold became unimportant and lost its special status. Area mines struggled on with mounting war costs and labour shortages until they all slowly closed down. Goudreau's closure was delayed somewhat when it was decided that German POWs would be housed there during the Second World War.
Goudreau emptied gradually although it revived briefly for a few short years in the 50s and 60s. Today there are no permanent residents and seasonal cottagers occupy the remaining structures. The old garage, store and schoolhouse still stand.