An Article of Interest

Lot 13 Concession 8 - Croft Township

(from the Magnetewan Tweedsmuir History)

This lot was settled by JACOB & ELIZABETH KNOEPFLI, a German Swiss couple, on March 24, 1888. It contains 87 acres. The Magnetawan River divided the lot as does Highway 124. The KNOEPFLI DAM and the KNOEPFLI RAPIDS are on this lot. A strip of land one chain in perpendicular was reserved along both shores of the Magnetawan River. The right to access to this strip and the waterway was reserved for the use of vessels, boats and people and for fishing purposes. It is interesting to note that although this is the clause in most deeds of land along the river it is omitted in the deed of Lot 12. All mineral rights and all the pine trees were reserved by the Crown.

The KNOEPFLI family lived in a house on the shores of the Magnetawan river near the rapids and across the road from where the KNOEPFLI INN now stands. The East Parry Sound Board of Education has a few of the old school registers. In it are listed six of the KNOEPFLI CHILDREN with ages so birthdates can be fixed to within a year. Jacob 1887; Lily 1889; August 1893; David 1897; Mary 1901 and Henry 1903.

On March 4, 1914, the lot was sold to the CROFT LUMBER COMPANY of Huntsville for $1200.00. It seems the KNOEPFLI family continued to live in the house until they went west after 1928. It was that year that the son Jacob was drowned even though he was a good swimmer. In the early spring he had gone in a canoe with two others to fix a broken boom on Beaver Lake (Ahmic Lake). It was only a two man canoe and was heavily loaded with equipment to fix the boom. Near Rocky Reef the canoe sank. The water was so cold even a strong swimmer couldn’t survive.

When the Croft Lumber Company had taken off all the lumber it wanted it was sold to ALFRED PAGET on March 17, 1926. He was the manager and part owner of the Croft Lumber Company. He built the Knoepfli Inn which was opened in 1926. The story of the Inn until 1947, written by RETA BROWN, daughter of ALFRED & GERTRUDE PAGET appears elsewhere in the history. The KNOEPFLI home was converted into an ice-cream parlour with rooms above and behind for paying guests.

In 1947, the property was sold to RALPH LORNE THOMPSON who continued to operate the Inn until 1971. It was sold to another person who held it for a short time and then sold to “KAPTAN LAKELANDS”. It was divided and the part north of the river with the Inn was bought by JOHN and GEORGINA KOLMAN who continue to operate it. The part south of the river was subdivided – Plan #409 – to make 11 cottage lots along the river and a road which is excellent because it had to be built to township standards, a big Block B of nearly 20 acres and a swampy part, Block A between Lot 1 and the old highway 124. Mr. KAPTAN operated through several small companies and this plan was listed for sale under DRIFTWOOD PROPERTIES. All the lots were soon sold as cottage lots- Block A was retained by Kaptan Lakelands.

Block B and some lots were bought by the three PENROSE brothers. Later one lot was sold to a fourth brother and a sister, Nora Huyck who have become permanent residents.

Four of the cottages have become permanent homes: Henry and Nora HUYCK May 31, 1978; Anne and Albert HUXTED August 16 1979; Clare & Carola PENROSE on August 31, 1979 and Hart Anne SMITH in May of 1962.

It was learned that Mr. PAGET had had an excellent garden in Block B. It was discovered quite overgrown with trees, shrubs and raspberries. Rhubarb was still growing in a small clear patch and asparagus in several areas. It had not been worked after Mr. PAGET sold. Two of the original big old cedar corner posts are still standing, the other two had fallen and have been replaced. It is an excellent garden with three families sharing the space. Wild raspberries have been controlled outside the garden.

Mrs. BROWN, the PAGET daughter saw the garden a few years ago. She remembered it but said there were no trees in the bush beyond the garden when she lived at the Inn. All that was good for timber had been cut down in the first part of the century. What is there is all second growth. There are many maple trees and maple syrup has been made each spring starting in 1982. It is made the old fashioned way with buckets on the trees and boiled in big open flat pans over crude furnaces. The taste is excellent. Some people prefer it to that gathered in plastic tubing and boiled down over evaporators.

The road ends at the last lot # 13 and since it ends at the KIRKPATRICK property which won’t be sold in the foreseeable future and we don’t intend to sell any of Block B, we almost have a private road even though it is part of the Ahmic Lake Roads Board system and maintained in excellent condition all year round. It is a unique situation which is appreciated by the cottagers and permanent residents.

This article first appeared in the April 1990 newsletter, Volume 6 - Number 1