Redwater

History

Town site photo

Earlier town site

©Copyright: Yvan Charbonneau

Redwater began its life as a tiny little whistle stop on the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway. In 1903 the rails reached the site at mileage point 55.8, at Redwater Lake, en route to New Liskeard. The following year a section village containing a small station, telegraph key, a siding and water tank was established. The dozen or so men, who were posted at Redwater, lived in either the station, the bunkhouse, or in one of two section homes, one of which was reserved for the foreman.

In 1909 tragedy struck the small railway settlement. Two section men, Cornish and Morin, assaulted the telegraph operator, W.J. Dyston. Following the altercation, Dyston, badly beaten struggled to his telegraph key and attempted to call for help. After sending out an incoherent message Dyston collapsed on his key and died. The name Redwater took on a new meaning that day.

A few short years after the tragic events, the Redwater Lumber Company established a small sawmill on the shores of the lake. The lumberyards were situated directly in front of the railway station across from the tracks. A bunkhouse was built and 10 homes were built along the the tracks. As the settlement took root, T.J. Baker opened a company store and post office in 1916.

The mill ceased operations some time prior to 1929. Five homes and the section village continued to survive for a while. A school car served the educational needs for the dozen or so children throughout the 1940s to the 1950s. The post office closed in 1942 and the last original home burnt down in the mid 1950s. The water tower followed suit in 1957. The section was subsequently shut down a few years later.

Luckily Redwater received a new lease on life. In the 1960s a half dozen cottages were built on the old town site and are still used to this day. However the true remains of the early village lie beneath dense overgrowth. If you explore the section village, you'll find a few cellar holes and some evidence of early land disturbances. Two foundations mark the site of the latter two 'newer' section buildings. A toilet lurks in the forest and marks an overgrown foundation. The mill yards, which lie across from the former station grounds, are marked by the holes of the former support beams. At the Redwater nameboard a small aluminium clad building has replaced the old station.

Created: October 21, 2005, Last Revision: February 24, 2014
Research: Yvan Charbonneau
Content: © Copyright Yvan Charbonneau, all rights reserved.