Ghost towns of Haliburton County Pt. 3

Published on July 5th, 2009

Hello all!! Yes I am lacking on the blogging front but alas here I am. Juggling photography and bus driving. I drive for First Student Canada formerly Laidlaw Transit as a bus driver and I work not just through the school year but also during the summer as a camp charter driver for canoe groups.

So today was….wet. For a little while at least. The mosquitos were lively as well as the deer flies. The girlfriend and I went for a drive back to Furnace Falls along County Road 503 and the old IB&O (Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa) railroad. There is a picnic park right along the Irondale River and the falls. There is some iron mines in the area down the old railroad trail about 3 kilometers towards Irondale. I did not venture down to take a look to see if one can see the mines which were called the Snowdon Mines. I took a few photos of the falls then moved on to look for some more old townsite buildings.

Old farm at Furnace Falls

Old farm at Furnace Falls

Getting back on County Road 503 to head back up the road towards Kinmount not even 500 feet over the Irondale River bridge you can see the old stone bridge that was the Monck Road, I think. I could be wrong. I couldn’t find a date on the bridge but you could tell it’s been there a while. The old road crosses the bridge and gets lost in the woods on the north side of the river. The old road then crosses over the 503 and heads up and around a hill past an old farm. This is the northern part of the Furnace Falls townsite. In my previous post Ghost towns of Haliburton County Pt. 2 I have pictures from the southern section of Furnace Falls.

The IB&O railroad bed crosses over the old Monck Road but you are hard pressed to even see it. It is very overgrown with grasses, ferns and trees. I am surprised that the County of Haliburton or even the municipalities have not kept the trail as a walking path or something because of the history it holds. I was surprised at how much the trail has been swallowed up by nature when only in the 1960’s or so it was ripped up. Thanks to Clayton for the information for helping find this little treasure. Clay is responsible for the MNR Fire Tower website.

Railway bridge foundation from the IB&O

Railway bridge foundation from the IB&O

So after walking back out to the main road the girlfriend and I were well soaked through the bottom of our pants and shoes. We got in my Jeep and drove off to explore some side roads trying to locate sections of the IB&O railway bed. After driving around for about a half hour we then headed off to Howland Junction where the IB&O and the main Victoria Railway and then the CNR line from Lindsay to Haliburton met up and joined.
CNR bridge and trestle

CNR bridge and trestle

At this locale there is an old trestle located up the rail bed towards Haliburton just a short walk north. If you head south on the trail you will come across where the old turntable sat that would turn the steam engines around when using the IB&O. Here there is also an old building that may have been the Howland flagstop. Somewhat run-down but in pretty good shape for the age of it. You can see the old CNR red paint still visible on the wood siding. What a gem! Looking through my photo cache I see that I will have to get back to this location to shoot more photos. Just didn’t turn out as good as I hoped.
Howland Junction flagstop

Howland Junction flagstop

I hope to find more historical gems located around the County this summer, one being the Kennaway settlement, which to now has been elusive. Talk to you all soon!



7 Responses to “Ghost towns of Haliburton County Pt. 3”

  1. Clayton Self Says:

    Ah is that the foundation from the IBOR located on the south side of 503 that crosses the swampy creek?
    I look forward to seeing a photo of the Monck Rd bridge too on the north side of 503, which I missed sighting on Sunday..

  2. Ben Says:

    No it’s the foundation for the IB&O at Howland Junction that crosses the river there. I have yet to travel back to get a photo of the old bridge. By the way your MNR Fire Tower website is pretty cool. I now know what the tow is you see heading up Hwy 118 from Haliburton. It’s the Dysart Fire Tower. I am planning on getting some photos there before too long.

  3. Colette Raby Says:

    Hi Ben: I’ve enjoyed looking at your photos. Have you thought of giving an “old-timer” a look at your maps and photos? Might help with identification and/or locating other sites of interest. My father was born in Gooderham in 1921 and knew the name of every road and track in Haliburton. He told stories of the families that lived in cabins deep in the bush, many of them extremely poor. Some even old people, living alone who would traipse into town every few months to buy supplies. My father would have loved your pictures and talking to you about your walks.

  4. Ben Says:

    Hi Colette: I still have plans for running around the county looking for old landmarks. I have been spending most of my time fixing up my wheels and what not from rotting out from underneath me and it’s now fixed. I am hoping to get out tomorrow on Monday for more travels. Lots of work still to do for my “pet project”.

  5. david Says:

    I own a cottage on kennisis lake and i was wondering if your standing at outdoor shop in haliburton how do you get to the CNR bridge and trestle and how to get to Howland Junction flagstop

  6. Carolyn Says:

    Hi Ben
    I have a cottage in Irondale not too far from the iron mine and where the town of Irondale once stood. There’s nothing left but the pieces of an old bridge where I’m assuming the old Monck road crossed the Irondale River.
    Did you come across the old blast furnace at Furnace Falls?
    Is is a great area to explore.

  7. Steve Lucas Says:

    At Howland, the old caretaker’s house sits on a hill north of what was the turntable pit. The station was built by CN circa 1920 when the old station burned. It has now been privately owned longer than CN owned it!

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