The main reason the Opeongo Colonization Road's villages failed was due to two simple factors: a) the terrain was unsuited for lengthy farming, which was the case for almost all of the Canadian Shield, and b) the Booth Railway was built north of its settlements. Villages like Killaloe, Wilno, Barry's Bay, Madawaska and Whitney, all to the north, had stops on the Booth Railway. They all survive and thrive to this day. Settlements on the Opeongo Rd. were not so lucky.
Ghost towns along the Opeongo Colonization Road from east to west:
Ferguslea- 1st known as "Opeongo", Thomas Culhane opened his hotel here. By the 1880's the K and P Railway came to the village causing growth. Its postmaster was Robert Reid in 1892 and he changed the name to "Ferguslea". Just east of here the town of Renfrew boomed as the Bonnechere River produced a lot of power. The K and P tracks were lifted in the 1960's. Ferguslea was left behind to wither.
Esmonde- One of the few fertile areas on the road was found here. When the farmers finally gave up as the soils became depleted the village dwindled to nothing. Only a beautiful, large, rock church, a school, and log buildings remain.
Newfoundout- Already has its own write-up. Check out "Newfoundout (ghost towns) " to see all the awesome pioneer log cabins still standing up on the mountain...
Clontarf- Located between 2 mountains, it had a church, store, hotels, and farms. Some of the log farms remain as well as the church (built 1850). Near here sit the legendary Raycroft and Plaus Hotels (now private homes). Its original name was Sebastopol and there is a museum here now beside a ball diamond and outdoor rink with old photos from times gone by.
Vanbrugh- Already has its own write-up...
Foymount- The highest settlement above sea level in Southern Ontario was the base for a distant early warning radar base against the former Soviet Union. Many abandoned condo-like apartment buildings remain.
Brudenell- Located at the Opeongo/Peterson Rd. junction, in 1881, it was lined with 3 hotels. Each had a tavern to quench the lumbermen's thirst. There were 3 stores, 2 blacksmiths, a sawmill, a carpenter, a church, a hall, a school and a pop. of 200. Daily stage coaches were run to Combermere. The Costello's took over the hotel known for miles around for its women, gambling, booze and sins. In 1893, Booth's railway was extended to the north and all the towns on the Opeongo Rd. went bust. Costello's Hotel and a store, etc. remain, though abandoned.
Hopefield- Had a sawmill and a hotel. Today, the "stopping place" (aka- the hotel) is now a home.
** I have also added photos of Al Capone's getaway cabin, which was located south of the Opeongo Rd., under the listings for Letterkenny and Quadeville.