The Elgin Historical Society presents Dr. Craig Cole, Co-author of Port Stanley
- The First Hundred Years, 1804-1904 on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in
the Lower Level of the Elgin County Administration Building, 450 Sunset Drive, St.
In this new book, authors Craig Cole and Robert Burns reveal many colourful aspects
of Port Stanley's early history including the development of a busy shipping port
despite Lake Erie's gales; the growth of a summer resort thanks mainly to the rail
line from London and St. Thomas which brought down thousands of exuberant picnickers
and summer residents and, finally, part of a Lake Erie fishery, on track by 1904
to become the largest fresh-water fishery in the world.
The book covers Port Stanley's first hundred years, from 1804 when a large parcel
of land at the mouth of Kettle Creek is granted to the town's founder Col. John
Bostwick to the beginning of the 20th century when the town had become famous for
summer recreation and sported the beginnings of a commercial fishery.
For much of this period Port Stanley's development was as a port for cargo destined
for St. Thomas and London carried first by road than rail. Ships arriving with goods
then took away the produce grown in the region, mainly wheat.
A number of the existing buildings from the period are profiled in the book including
the remarkable Bostwick house, c. 1827, a unique brick-nogged structure. Along with
several early commercial structures still on Main Street including the present day
Telegraph House built in 1873 and a double house at 107 Main Street possibly an
early 19th warehouse.
The book began as research for the historical background to a proposed Heritage
Conservation District which is still pending in the community and has been the source
of some controversy.