Friday, October 28, 2011

Locating the Original Pine Cottage

While I was up at Wiawaka the other weekend, one of the regular volunteers and I got chatting about the site. I forget exactly what we were talking about, but she mentioned that there was an image showing the location of the first Pine Cottage, built circa 1873 (at the same time as Mayflower and Rose cottages). It burned down in 1905, along with the Crosbyside Hotel and other buildings on the property. The current Pine Cottage, located near Route 9, was built in 1907. One of the questions I had was, "Where was the original Pine Cottage?"

A copy of the photo was located, and as the sun burned the mist off the lake the next morning, we went out to recreate the view. Here's a copy of the photograph:

Photo by Seneca Ray Stoddard, ca. 1876 to 1904.
We originally thought that the building on the left was Fuller House, but by standing outside, in the landscape, it became clear that it was actually the Crosbyside Hotel. The next building to the right is Fuller House. The presence of both the Crosbyside Hotel and the Fuller House indicates this photo was taken between 1876 (when Fuller House was built) and 1904 (the Crosbyside and Pine Cottage burned before the 1905 season opened).

View from approximately the same place, October 8, 2011. Photo by Megan Springate.
We then compared the other two buildings visible in the Stoddard photo with the buildings left standing at Wiawaka. In the photo above, you can just make out Fuller House in the distance, behind the pine trees; to the right is Rose Cottage. Comparing the location and shape of the buildings, it becomes clear that 1) the fourth building to the right in the Stoddard photo is Rose Cottage, and that therefore the third one from the right is the original Pine Cottage; and 2) that somewhere along the line, Rose Cottage got a new roof -- perhaps its roof burned during the 1905 fire?

Why am I interested in the location of the first Pine Cottage? Because it burned within the first few years of the founding of Wiawaka Holiday House. Things that were in the building when it burned (as well as in the Crosbyside Hotel, which was also used by Wiawaka to house guests) can tell me about the material experience of guests at the site in those very earliest years.

The amount of landscaping, specifically the raised roadway running in front of the Crosbyside Hotel in the Stoddard photo is quite impressive, and doesn't appear in the current landscape. It also doesn't appear in earlier photos of the Crosbyside that show a dirt lane (vs. raised road) running in front of the hotel. This makes me suspect the Stoddard photo above was taken closer to the 1904 date than the 1876 date; someone more familiar with clothing trends of the time may be able to offer some insight.

I wonder where the landscaping and the remains of the Pine Cottage and the Crosbyside Hotel ended up?

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