Coxvale, got its name from the original homesteaders: Agnes, Ed, Harry Cox with James and George arriving around 1876. It was the last community in the area to be established as farming was poor and settlers moved further north. The community was established along Gull and Crotch Lakes as a tourist attraction due to its excellent fishing. The first lodge began in 1921 and others followed in the 1930s and 1940s. Tourism has continued to be the main business with many lodges serving the area on both Gull and Crotch Lakes.
A post office was operated by Dave and Annie Cox from their home 1908-1925, then Napier, White and Vanalstine from 1932-1940, then George and Annie Cox from 1940-1957 before it closed. Information about the first school indicates that it was in operation from 1930-early 1950s.
Lemke’s Cedarcrest Lodge (Big Gull Lake)
(Information provided by Barbara Way (daughter of Fred and Jean Lemke)
In the 1930s and 1940s, the excellent fishing brought American fishermen to the area to fish, and this is how many lodges began.
1937: Fred and Jean Lemke purchased property on Big Gull Lake at Coxvale. The property had a row of cedar trees on the waterfront from which came the name, "Lemke's Cedar Crest Lodge.” The Lodge consisted of five sleeping cabins and a dining room with living quarters attached. The cabins were rented to American fishermen from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Home-cooked meals were served in the dining room of the house. The delicious meals were prepared by Jean, who was an excellent cook known for her homemade bread, rolls, and pies. Over the next few years, Fred built eight housekeeping cottages and used these in the process of replacing the dining room.
1945: The Lemkes purchased the farmhouse, barns, back land, and one rental cottage on the other side of the bay, which allowed them to live on the property in the winter instead of returning to Plevna each Fall.
1947-1988 The grocery store was built, and over the next few years, a new home, a boat house, gas pumps, a trailer park, additional cottages were added, bringing the total to 17. Since all the cottages were now housekeeping, families had less need for served food, although some fishermen and hunters in the fall required the home-cooked meals. Fred had some health problems with his first heart attack in the spring of 1959 and then in 1968.
A new bridge was built and the road was straightened to go up over the hill instead of in front of the store.
On December 25, 1988 was a very sad day in the Lemke family as Jean passed away suddenly. This left Fred to continue the business with the assistance of his daughter, Barbara. On July 6, 1992 Fred passed away.
The Lodge had been in the Lemke family for 55 years at that time. When Fred passed away, Harold and Barbara had just retired from jobs in Kingston and they decided to continue operating the business.
1994-2008: At the road, Barbara and Harold erected a new sign (a gift from a very dear friend) "Lemke's Cedar Crest Lodge". They started downsizing by selling off lots, cottages, closing the store,and the gas pumps
Lemke's Cedar Crest Lodge no longer exists as they knew it, but the families who purchased the parcels of land will continue to enjoy Big Gull Lake for years to come.
Pine Cove Cottages (Crotch Lake)
(Information and photos thanks to Caroline and Donald Ferguson and Norah Przewoznik, 2016)
In 1954, John and Hilda Eastman purchased three cottages, the house and snack bar that had been owned by Dave and Annie Cox under the name “Pine Shade Lodge.” They continued to operate the snack bar located in the front of the house along Ardoch Road. They renamed it “Pine Cove Cottages” as there was no lodge to accommodate guests.
John and Hilda Eastman were originally from the U.S. They and their two children, Caroline and John, came from New York State to a mixed dairy farm that they purchased near Portland, Ontario in 1947. This is where their third child, Charles, was born. On a fishing trip, John Senior discovered Crotch Lake, where fishing was very good. They decided to sell their farm and buy the cottages, which were for sale.
They built two more cottages and a boathouse to store the rental boat motors available to guests. With the help of the two older children (high school age), they operated the business in the summer. John and Hilda owned a small advertising company that helped to augment their income through the winter months. Son, John, guided the fishermen and Caroline tended the store and helped to clean cottages.
The Eastmans operated the seasonal business from May-October each year. It was primarily a fishing lodge, as many American tourists returned each year for Walleye, Bass and Northern Pike. Over the years, they made numerous improvements, such as screened-in porches and the addition of electricity in 1962. The largest cottage had four bedrooms, a large central room and a kitchen at the back. It often slept 10 or 12 fishermen who came as a group. One of the hardships reported was keeping laundry available (before electricity). Linen was supplied and cleaning depended upon weather.
In the early 1970s, Eastmans sold most of the land and five Pine Cove Cottages, the house and snack bar to John and Rosemary Przewoznik and two sons, Danny and John Jr. of New Jersey. John left behind a very successful fly-tying shop and bait business in High Bridge, New Jersey. John purchased the Eastman property, “Pine Cove Cottages”, which included five housekeeping cottages and a house with storefront on Ardoch Road. The lakeside property was sandwiched between Wilson’s Lodge (owned by M.W. Dixon) and Land O’Lakes Lodge (owned by Charlie Vaughn at the time).
Over the next few years, John built a lakeside bait shop selling fishing tackle, live bait, ice, and some basic groceries and gas, John continued to tie flies and bucktail jigs (which he supplied to the James Brothers Wholesale business in Perth, Ontario).
Rosemary did not like the rural life and she returned to the States with the boys. John operated the resort for a decade; he added a sixth cottage and renovated some of the original structures, which were “rustic.”
In May 1982, John sold “Pine Cove Cottages” to Ed and Shirley Giffin, who incorporated it into the Tumblehome Lodge (formerly Wilson’s Lodge). John remarried in 1982 to Norah McCann and lived in the area running a wholesale fishing business, delivering worms and tackle to many local businesses. He passed away in 2002.
Pine Shade Lodge (Crotch Lake)
(Information provided by Pat Denna (Wisteard), Nelda Whan (Dixon) and Eric Dixon)
David and Annie Cox built Pine Shade Lodge in the 1940s at Crotch Lake. They operated it until 1953-54. Their children were Edna, Manford, Chloe, George and Tressa.
There were four cottages down the Lake Road: Hillcrest, Bayview, Hillside, and Hilltop. Two of these cottages remained as property of Tumblehome Resort, known as Wilson’s Lodge/Camp prior to that. There were two more cottages out on the point. You had to go by rowboat to look after them. Towels and bedding were provided to the cottages. Lots of grandchildren helped to clean the cottages and then carry the bedding and towels up the Lake Road for Grandma Annie to wash with a wringer washing machine because there was no hydro. Not long before, Grandma Annie had to wash everything on the washboard.
Dave made repairs to the cottages, broken trailers, boats or motors, even cars.
Cold items such as drinks were stored in the ice blocks (cut from the lake in winter) and stored with sawdust to use in summer. There was a dining room in the house, a small store, and the Booth, which was the snack bar. Soft drinks, chocolate bars, and chocolate milk out of little bottles with a straw in the paper lid were available for sale. Chocolate milk came from Woodland Dairy. Every day there were “scrap” cakes for Annie to bake and sandwiches to make. Cakes were made with leftover items so there was no real recipe. There would be fruit such as left in the bottom of a berry preserves jar that would be dumped in to make a cake. Then she would put meringue on top.
Across from the Lodge was the Poplar Hotel. It was used as a bunkhouse and dining room for the mill workers, and as a dance hall. On the lake also was Wilson’s Lodge (part of Tumblehome in later years). Annie Cox made meals for the people in Pine Shade and people staying at Wilson’s ordered meals. She also prepared shore dinners as well as for Pine Shade customers. She was a great cook! Dave had a huge garden from which they had food for all year. The garden was located where Tumblehome’s Golf Course was built in later years.
One of the favourite foods was potato chocolates, which were made with hot mashed potatoes, rolled in icing sugar and dipped in chocolate; sometimes even had peppermint flavouring (a special treat). They were good!
Besides a big breakfast, there were shore dinner baskets to pack and send with the fishing guides. Annie would send a half pound of butter and a half pound of lard for frying the fish. Always she sent sandwiches, too. Mostly American customers used fishing guides, who made $24.00 a week for long, long hours of rowing a boat all over Crotch Lake. Fishing was very good all the years they owned Pine Shade.
In later years, the Lodge sold gas, that was pumped by hand. There was a drinking water well that was the deepest well the drillers said that they had ever drilled.
In the snack bar, Annie had homemade souvenirs, like plaster of Paris items, painted rocks with the name “Pine Shade, Crotch Lake” on them. She taught Sunday School classes from fall until spring.
Different ministers would come occasionally to the lodge for service.
The hours were long working at the Lodge. Meals kept going until 7 p.m. at night. After Annie’s heart attack, she wanted to sell. The Lodge was sold to John and Hilda Eastman 1953-1954.
After they sold, Annie and Dave moved into a small log house nearby. Dave got right back to work building boats and a road to Crotch Lake. There were 14 cottages but no road to the lake, so he set about to solve that problem!