_Cedar Springs Cool Nook
_Restful Summer Retreat
Gay Play Spot In Winter
Woodland Acreage Scene Of Club
Where City People Rusticate
Gay Play Spot In Winter
Woodland Acreage Scene Of Club
Where City People Rusticate
_The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday July 12, 1952, Second Section Page 1
By Nora Gilbert
What more fitting memorial to a man than a spring of clear cold water gushing from rocks held firm by the roots of quiet majestic trees of the very forest he sought to preserve? And so Cedar Springs, a privately owned summer community in Nelson Township on Cedar Springs Road and the Twelve Mile Creek, covering more than 500 acres, stands as a lasting memorial to the late W.D. Flatt, prominent lumberman, real estate man, and erstwhile author, who developed this fine rustic spot well known to many Hamilton people, among whom are the co-owners known as the Cedar Springs Community Club.
One In Twenty Years
In its original plan there were 78 log cabins built in the period from 1926 to 1932, and today there are 79, only one cabin having added in all that time. They were purchased by desirable families in Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph and other Canadian cities, and also some from New York State and Pennsylvania. Willowbrook was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Flatt.
The idea throughout was to provide simple camping sites amid rustic surroundings, and to disturb nature as little as possible in order to promote the simplicity of country life. That this has been achieved may be seen by a visit to the place. For the most part the log cabin effect has been promoted, in which there are the comforts of home requiring the minimum of attention.
Approaching Cedar Springs by way of the road of the same name, really a jog in upper Brant Street from Number 5 Highway, one gets the impression of a vast country estate as the memorial gates stand invitingly open; but for those who can read, there is a sign designating it as private property. The memorial gates were designed by H.C. Pugh, for 37 years a teacher at Hamilton’s Central Collegiate. Mr. and Mrs. Pugh are summer residents at the Cedar Springs community. Inside those gates there is natural beauty as the winding roadway passes by the various log cabins around which the landscaping has been done to preserve and enhance, if possible, the restful, rustic surroundings.
Memory's eye catches a fleeting glimpse of the woodsman felling the sentinels of the forest to make a clearing, and then the building of the shelters from the very logs so obtained.
But today there is an air of luxury about the whole scene as professional men and their wives recline in comfortable streamlined chairs, with sprinklers feeding the thirsty lawns, while the children besport themselves in a large natural swimming pool. Over yonder through the frees one may see the velvet green of the nine-hole golf course and the bright coloured jacket of a woman golfer. In addition, as the visitor is shown about, there are seen two tennis courts, a bowling green, and a ball park.
The community life is centred around the Community Hall, a building 75 years old, used as a barn in farming days. Now there is an attached apartment made available to the concessionaire who operates a stand within the hall and keeps on hand a supply of most daily needs. The ground floor of this building constitutes the play room, where ping-pong and other indoor games may be played. Upstairs is the auditorium used for dances every Saturday night during July and August, and Wednesday night entertainments including picture shows. Church services are also held here. The upper balcony extends around three sides of the hall, and provides an admirable sitting-out rendezvous.
Cedar Springs, known as a rustic summer camp, occupies the greater portions of the lands where the villages of Cumminsville, Dakota and Willbrook stood in Nelson Township, one of the earliest settled districts of Halton County, dating back to 1800. One of the first religious leaders was Davenport Phelps, appointed missionary in 1801 at the instigation of Captain Joseph Brant.
The first settler on the lands where Cedar Springs is located was Thomas Simpson, a veteran of the Napoleonic wars. He was the possessor of three medals for distinguished services with the Imperial Forces at Salamanca, Vittoria, and Toulouse. His was a Crown grant of 100 acres on a hill above number two fairway of Cedar Springs golf course. He built the first log cabin. Mrs. Simpson was one of the first women to offer produce of the farm on Hamilton Market, making the trip by horseback.
This was also the former location ff the Canada Powder Company which purchased lands in 1857 and erected a powder mill. This mill, destroyed by an explosion in October 1884, was later owned by the Hamilton Powder Mills Company. Some of the old foundation may still be seen at Cedar Springs. Edward Corlett, manager of the mills, later became the owner of the land, the north end of which was purchased by W.D. Flatt and his brother Jacob in 1885.
Some of the pine trees in this area were six feet on the stump and 100 feet high. Some of this timber was destined to become masts and deck planks in England’s merchant marine.
The timber was hauled to Lake Ontario and rafted into drams at Hamilton Harbour, the drams being 150 feet long by 50 feet wide. They were then towed across the lake to the St Lawrence River, thence down the Lachine rapids to Quebec and loaded on ocean vessels for England.
In 1824, more settlers came to the area, and exactly 100 years later Mr. Flatt began purchasing the lands which were to become Cedar Springs.
In placing the operation in the hands of the Cedar Springs Community Club in 1931, Mr. Flatt did so knowing that the good will born of the venture would endure. “I sincerely wish and pray that during the years to come the families that make up the community of Cedar Springs will, truly enjoy the health, happiness and pleasure it was my aim to provide in this beautiful recreation camp,” was his legacy.
A niece of Mr. Flatt, Mrs. Maude Porteous Bloodsworth, is an original cabin holder at Cedar Springs, and the only member of the Flatt family now spending summers there.
It was at Cedar Springs that we saw the Fountain of Youth, a constant spring, running summer and winter and dating back to the time of the Indians, from which the community derived part of its name. It is gravity fed from high rocky hills and has been leashed within a large pipe from a source 100 yards away. From it and other springs, water is supplied to the homes, service in this respect starting from about May 15 to October 15 of each year. At the Fountain of Youth which is within a shelter, a granite cup hangs prominently for all to quench their thirst with the clear, cold, sparkling liquid. Over the entrance is a legend placed there by Mr. Flatt, embodying the spirit of the place. It reads:
“Lo, a fountain full and free
Flowing, ever flowing
Fainting heart it is for thee
Flowing every flowing
Ever sparkling, never still
Taste its sweetness all who will.”
All water for the cabins is gravity fed from the springs in the hills. Recently in June, 33 tests were sent in to the Department of Health and all were placed in Class One.
The set-up of the Cedar Springs Community Club is both unique and adequate. Much of the information regarding the community as it is today was supplied by George E. Brenholtz, managing secretary, and editor of the Cedar Springs Community Club News Letter, who was host to the writer of this story. Mr. Brenholtz is also a councillor of the Township of Nelson and a member of the Burlington Suburban Area palnning board, representing the Township of Nelson.
The board of directors consists of nine members elected for a three-year period by club members each year, and the board elects its own officers.
W. W. McDonald is president this year. Other officers are S, M. Ferguson, vice-president in charge of properties R, H, Bissell, church services; Dr. W.L. Whitelock, golf; S.M. Ferguson and H.K. Embree, tennis; H. K. Wilby, dances; W, R. Gayfer, Wednesday evening entertainment; G. E. Brenholtz, manager. George Dent is caretaker, and the concessionaire is R.S. George.
There are by-laws governing the operation of the community and these are respected by the inhabitants. Revenue is obtained by fees from the members, the sale of firewood and other services to the cabin owners, limited sale of logs and trees, sports events, and rental of club property. This includes the winter rental of the property to the Cedar Springs Ski Club, an entirely separate organization.
Membership in the ski club is mostly from Hamilton and the surrounding territory. Norman Carr is the president of this winter dub. There are two ski tows for which the hills lend themselves admirably and there is no finer skiing in Ontario.
In winter, there is selective logging, and a plan of reforestation is kept under way, with about 1,000 trees being planted annually.
Mr. Brenholtz has beautified a hill at the back of his home by planting a lovely rock garden in which the colours of roses, delphinium, yellow rock plants and other flowers, blend in an artistic arrangement. His home, just beyond the memorial gates is compact and snugly situated.
The community has not been without its tragedies. Within the last few years, the cottage owned by S.M. Ferguson burned to the ground, and while rushing to this fire, Edgar Aitchison, secretary of the Burlington Fire Department, lost his life when his truck crashed into the stone pillars of the gates. Careful fire laws have been established and the district comes under the protection of file Milton Fire Department.
A number of familiar names are among the leaders of the community since its inception. They include: the Rev. E. Val Tilton, chairman, 1931; J. J. Page, president, 1932; D. A. Welsh, president, 1933-34-35; A. S. Nicholson, president, 1936-37; W.T. Mayo, president, 1938-1939; W.J. Giles, president, 1940; J. A. Hearn, president, 1941-42; G. E. Brenholtz, president, 1943-44-45: J. W. Gardner, president, 1946-47; A.R. Elton, president, 1948-49; H. K. Embree, president, 1950-51-52; W. W. McDonald, president, 1952. Mrs. F. W. Mowbray has a cottage which she and the late Dr. F.W. Mowbray, noted Hamilton surgeon, took when the community was first planned.
So the dream and vision of Mr. Flatt have come to a reality surpassing even his hopes, and the gates to his memory are the sesame to a fairyland where the Queen is Mother Nature herself.
Spec July 12 1952.pdf