Stokes Bay Hotels
In pioneer days Stokes Bay was the Half-Way House along the Huron side of the Peninsula – two or three hotels being in business at one time, besides several boarding houses. These hotels sold whiskey and beer, and with the sawmills and logging camps in the vicinity, did a very brisk trade. After the timber was cut, camps and mills were closed down, thus ending the hotel business.
According to Murdock Martin the first tavern was a small log building built near where the weigh scales used to be ... where the trees are in front of Smiths Restaurant. It was a very rough shack but well stocked with whiskey and beer. He thought the first owner was a man by the name of McCall. Around 1886 Gibsons kept hotel in a building down near where the road goes to the cemetery. Dan Smiths were the next owners and it was destroyed by fire while they were there. Smith then moved into the Yellow House, a large frame house built where Wayside Cabins are now. Smith kept hotel there as did Harry Widdows (1896-98) and later Frank Bryan. Widdows and Gibsons also kept hotel where the Greenlees had their store... and possibly McCalls also. The old Yellow House had many tenants – John McLennans, Allan McLay, Seymour Hawke, Charlie McDonald, to name a few of later dates. It was bought in the early 20s by Jack Barber and he turned it into a summer hotel and named it The Rustic Inn. The tourist trade was not too heavy in those days, and the next winter the Rustic Inn fell prey to fire with Mr. Barber barely escaping with his life.
It was around this time that Bob Goldens catered to tourists. They did very well, serving meals and keeping overnight guests. They also had a gas boat and took tourists on fishing trips. Mr. And Mrs. Gus Granville also took in tourists, gave meals and owned two cottages, Elm Lodge and Bonnie Doon. Granville also had a gas boat and took out fishing parties.
Page 74 of Benchmarks
A History of Eastnor Township and Lions Head
Compiled by The Eastnor & Lions Head Historical Society