150 Years of History in the Hills

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the February 08, 2017 issue. Reprinted with permission.

This is the third in a continuing series of photo essays celebrating our Gatineau Valley history and heritage during Canada's sesquicentennial year. The series was created by the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, in collaboration with The Low Down to Hull and Back News. All photographs are courtesy of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, with donors noted

Innkeepers and hoteliers of the Hills

Many historic villages began as supply points serving the wood trade, and as stopping places for lumber barons and their shanty workers travelling north. Some came with their teams of horses, or shared stagecoaches with travelling salesmen and others doing business with the operators of the lumber camps. The oldest establishments at Chelsea, Wakefield, Farrellton, and Low were inns, horse stables, and storehouses.

150 Years of History in the Hills
The Dunn Hotel on Old Chelsea Road in Chelsea became an inn in 1875 and was named for its new owner, Johnny Dunn, a former log driver on the Gatineau River. In December 1900, the inn was destroyed by fire, but was replaced by an almost carbon copy a year later. Circa 1890. From the National Capital Commission heritage collection.

Many stopping places would later become hotels where the new train would stop. Some of these were temperance (alcohol-free) hotels, like those in Wakefield and the one in Aylwin, which had two hotels, as did Kazabazua. At Gracefield, there were three, one of them the well-known Ellard Hotel near the Pickanoc Bridge. It was the only one charging as much as five dollars a week. All others, including three in Wakefield and four in Chelsea (one of which was also a temperance hotel), charged between three and four dollars a week.

At the turn of the century, Farrellton had a hotel run by Mrs. McCaffrey. The train made two stops at this village - the first was located a mile before reaching the Farrellton Bridge, where there was a butter factory, and the second was where another hotel catered to summer visitors. There were two stops in Venosta - one called simply Kealey, after the large settlement of Kealeys in the southern part of that village. The other, named Venosta, was close to the hotel run for many years by D. Haveron.

Adapted excerpt from Venetia Crawford and Gunda Lambton from 'The Wildest Rivers, the Oldest Hills: Tales of the Gatineau and Pontiac', 1996 at outaouais. quebecheritageweb.com

150 Years of History in the Hills
Catherine Farrell McCaffrey, locally known as Aunt McCaffrey, at the Farrell McCaffrey Hotel next door to the Farrell store. The faith healer William McCaffrey lived here until his death in 1953. Undated. Collection of Sheila McGoldrick (Daly).
150 Years of History in the Hills
Travellers once stayed at the Farrell McCaffrey Hotel in Farrellton, on their way to Maniwaki. Undated. Collection of Sheila McGoldrick (Daly).
150 Years of History in the Hills
The Kazabazua 'Kaz' Hotel, circa 1924. Collection of Jim Irwin.

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