||December 7, 2007
Another House History -
Nipissing Village where the South River enters Lake
Nipissing at South Bay with its many islands has a fascinating history as
recorded in the Nipissing Museum. The Village had the potential to become a
large community until the proposed railway across the south shore of Lake
Nipissing was rerouted to North Bay. The old Nipissing Road bringing settlers
from the south dried up and the boats on the river became redundant.
The hub of the shipping activity was at Chapman's Landing
where boats loaded and unloaded and where boats were built and repaired. The
Chapmans had a large farm.
If you take highway 654 west from Callander or 534 from
Powassan you will come to the village and will find Chapman's Landing Road.
About a kilometer down this road next to Becker's Berry Patch you will find the
house I want to look at today. It was built as a cottage about 1900 for
Waldimar Kahnert, a wealthy Toronto furrier whose family has connections in the
area. They had also had a fur store on Main Street East in North Bay for
years. The Toronto store continues today. An Antoinette Kahnert married Adam
Straus and her sister Emilie Kahnert married Powassan mayor L.F. Robertson.
||The house then and now
Over the years the house has changed hands several times
and has been vacant on occasion. The remarkable thing is that it has retained
much of its original charm with a unique porch, embossed tin wall cover and
copper ceilings and has not been restored or modernized along the way until the
present. The current owners for the past two years Sherry Milford and Yan
Roberts are lovingly restoring it and have added period furnishings to support
their two businesses.
Sherry, a certified nutrition consultant, runs her Heal Thy
Self food and nutrition service in her house or yours (HealThySelf.ca) Yan works
full time in North Bay and helps with their Piebird Bread and Breakfast (email@example.com)
The House History
Like the house restoration the history of the house is a
work in progress and they have accumulated a lot of information on the 107 year
history of the house. They are always looking for additional information. They
hope to eventually have a house history book for their own interest and for
The original owner Waldimar Kahnert also had an island on
South Bay and some of his descendants remain today. He kept the house to 1914
when he apparently lost it on a bet. The same fate applied to an island he
held. There is a record of a lumberman, Harry Hurlburt renting the house to
bring his family to the area in the winter of 1909.
Waldimar's brother Robert drowned in Lake Nipissing in
1921. Erle Kahnert who owns property on the lake has written a book on the
family called The Assassins of Eden (2004). It is available at the Nipissing
Museum in season.
The Schnoffer family that owned the property after the
Kahnerts rented the house to Herb and Bertha Chapman from the local Chapman
family for a period. (They are Yan's great great grandparents).
The house was bought by the Etches family in the early
1940s. Elizabeth, the Etches daughter visited recently and told some of the
family history. She stayed there briefly while her husband was in the army and
gave birth to a daughter in the house in 1942. Her brother Bill put the first
water into the house. Bill and his dad built a chicken house for the family and
the family turned the whole front yard into an immaculate garden. They used to
fish at the Chapman Chute each spring. The Beatty Creek runs behind the
property making easy access by boat to the South River. They sold the property
to a Mr. and Mrs. Blompiel.
At one point a large family stayed in the house in unknown
circumstances. Gwen Daman operated an antique shop there in the 1980s and
returned recently for an overnight visit.
||Earl Gerber, with feet over railing in 1930 and
in 2005 visiting the B&B. Submitted photos.
Earl Gerber who stayed for a visit recently recalled a stay
75 years earlier and provided a photo from that visit to go with the later
Nancy Guppy who lives at Chapman's Landing owned the house
from 2000 to 2005. Sherry and Yan have bought some adjoining land and now have
a couple of goats nearby. They have collected more information than I have
touched on here and more is coming in to help develop a full a history as
possible for future generations. They may be contacted at 705-724-1144 or at
113 Chapman's Landing Road, Nipissing Village, Ontario, P0H 1W0 or online.
Heritage Perspective Home Page