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Silver Centre: The Story of an Ontario Mining Camp

Silver Centre: The story of an Ontario mining camp

by Peter Fancy


Peter Fancy

Silver Centre was one of Canada's celebrated mining camps. It discovered millions of dollars in silver ore (when silver's price averaged 500 an ounce) and probably has as much mineral Wealth waiting today in it unexamined Keewatin ground for some future economic development. But most importantly, in terms of Ontario's social history, this Silver Centre story represents the way of life for many of the people living in northern Ontario during the early years of this century.

The story follows in detail the mining prospectors of 1907 their silver discoveries; the early mines-their success and failures; the depressing World War I years; then rebirth with the mother lode discovery of 1920 and its climactic decade of phenomenal silver treasure; finally, the inevitable exhaustion of known deposits. Fafling metal prices discourage continued searches. Mines close-sudden abandonment. This particular drama of prospectors and developers struggling with the Precambrian rocks is a constant, unifying theme.

Silver Centre is the story of a mining community and its people, of fellowship and stubborn pleasure.


Go Here for Table of Contents ||| Go Here for list of photographs.

Go here for a look at the Index

ISBN: 0-88954-306-2 | Hard Cover | 8.5 x 11" inches approximately | 160 pages | $24.95


Table of Contents

1    South Lorrain whispers - 1907

2   Quietly to be quick - 1907 - 1908

3   Fresh fills the air - 1908

4   Green with rain the grasses grow - 1909

5   A dry thunder - 1910 - 1913

6   Stretching out your hand to feel the wind - 1914 - 1915

7   A low sky - 1916 - 1918

8   Unravel this curdled cloud 1919 - 1921

9   Into the radiant sun - 1922 1923

10  The roaring machines drown your shout - 1924

11  Along the level of the roofs - 1924

12  Heavy days of slow delight - 1925

13  To warn. the way that winter comes - 1926

14  Rustles when the leaves are thin - 1927 - 1928

15  The branches bare - 1929 - 1931

16   The edge of the hill


Photographs

1. Cobalt railway station, 1907 - T.N.O. Report 5

2. New Liskeard, 1907 - T.N.O. Report 8

3. Haileybury wharf, 1907 - T.N.O. Report 9

4. Vendome Hotel, Haileybury 12

5. A prospector's camp, Gowganda, 1908 14

6. Hand steeling the surface trench, Gowganda, 1908 14

7. Keeley number I discovery shaft, HR 19, 1908 - Ontario Bureau Mines 16

8. Keeley number I shaft, HR 19, 1908 16

9. Sullivan's Lainding ("66"), 1908 - Ontario Bureau Mines 18

10. Landing 66 townsite Silver Centre, 1908 - Ontario Bureau Mines 20

11. Haileybury Silver Mining Co., HR 16, 1908 20

12. Transportation - winter mining supplies 23

13. Share issue of new mining Company, HR 97, 1909 29

14. Hand steeling underground 37

15. Steam diamond drill 38

16. Wettlaufer shaft house and mill, HR 85, 1910 39

17. Wettlaufer high-grade, 1910 39

18. Riding the shaft bucket 40

19. Bob Jowsey World War I recruit, Ontario Archives 43

20. Keeley number I shaft house, HR 19, 1915 - Ontario Archives 45

21. Dr. James Mackintosh Bell at Silver Centre 46

22. Provencher's store, the original Montrose Mine 50

23. Steamer Meteor unloading at Silver Centre wharf, May 2, 1921 - Public Archives, Canada PA 130094 52

24. Keeley mill and number 3 shaft house, 1921 - Ontario Archives 54

25. Horace Strong with his wife and kid 56

26. Keeley number 2 head frame, HR 19 57

27. Mel Robb holds Keeley silver sample, 1922 60

28. Leonard Smith points to Wood's vein silver, 1922 61

29. Frontier Lorrain number I shaft house and camp buildings, HR 16, 1922 - Ontario Archives 62

30. New number 3 Frontier shaft house , 1923 64

31. Newly enlarged number 3 Keeley head frame, 1922 65

32. Enlarged Keeley mill, 1922 65

33. Keeley mine - mill, 1923 65

34. Discovery of Wood's vein at Lorrain Trout Lake Mine, HR 103, April, 1923 67v

35. Frontier Lorrain Mine cookery, HR 16, 1924 68

36. Keeley shift boss Jack MacLeod with underground superintendent Bob Cameron 69

37. Frontier mine captain Godfrey Harnmerstrom, Doctor Gordon Smith and Lyman Fancy 70

38. Frontier mine manager Harold Fancy 71

39. Keeley mine superintendent Bob Cameron 72

40. Keeley mine manager Mark Little 72

41. Mining Corporation geologist Warren Eamons 73

42. Frontier mine bookkeeper Sterling Grant 74

43. Visiting dignitaries at the Keeley 76

44. The Keeley camp "in the hollow", HR 19, winter 1923-24 77v

45. Frontier Lorrain Mines Ltd., HR 16, 1924 78

46. Silver Centre Railway Station 80

47. Bob Cameron and Mark Little's residences, HR 21 81

48. Tennis at the Keeley 82

49. Skiing at the Keeley 82

50. Frontier hockey team 84

51. Harold Findlay's house 84

52. Brennan's Store 85

53. Joe Stater's house at Beaver Lake 85

54. Godfrey Harnmerstrom's house 86

55. Harold Fancy's house 88

56. Winter sleigh ride at the Keeley 88

57. Silver Centre Public School 89

58. Keeley hockey team . 89

59. Dunc McDonald and wife Kate 90

60. Russell Marshall, Silver Centre station agent 91

61. Recreational skating on the Keeley tennis court 91

62. Silver Centre post office stamp from Brennan's store 92

63. Keeley - Frontier baseball team 96

64. Godfrey Hammerstrom's family 97

65. Keeley camp, spring 1924 97

66. Clarence Scanlon 98

67. Silver Centre baseball champions, 1926 99

68. Eugene Provencher 100

69. First Public School class, October 1923 102

70. Hill 60, RL 458, townsite 103

71. Ice hockey at the Keeley rink 104

72. Frontier Mine buildings, 1925 106

73. Wood's vein - Frontier Crompton property - Ontario Archives 108

74. Frontier mine captain Godfrey Harnmerstrom with silver nugget 109

75. Drilling a drift round at Frontier Mine 110

76. Hand steeling the Forneri shaft, HS 42, 1925 111

77. Frontier Mine buildings, 1926 113

78. Watson vein, Frontier Mine 114

79. Watson vein, Frontier Mine 115

80. The surface crew at the Frontier 116

81. Off shift miners at the Frontier bunkhouse 117

82. Matabitchuan Power Plant and Tenement 119

83. Charlie Phelps new house at Mainden's Bay 120

84. Waiting for the Haileybury steamer to leave for the Matabitchuan, 1920 120

85. Canadian Lorrain Mill under construction, Public Archives Canada,PA 13986 123

86. Pete Larocque's fish nets drying at Mainden's Bay 123

87. Matabitchuan community picnic, December 9, 1923 124

88. Mining Corporation's HR 64 shaft, South Lorrain, 1928 129

89. HR 64 shaft, 1928 129

90. Keeley silver from below the diabase sill 132

91. The old valley road 135