Josephine (ghost town)
In the primeval central Ontario woods, 45-metre (150 foot) white pines were common while some soared as high as 60 metres (200 feet).
It was just south of Minesing and east of Collingwood that in 1879, Joseph Budd built a sawmill to process the lumber cut from these forests located in Vespra Township. In addition he built a small townsite in which to house his workers.
Mr. Budd named the settlement Josephine after his daughter. The mill was located near the Minesing swamp which was rich in cedar, alder, black ash, soft maple, spruce, popular and white birch.
The same year that Josephine was established, the North Simcoe Railway was laying its tracks down from Penetanguishene harbour to Colwell. At Colwell, the line connected to the CN's line which connected Barrie to Meaford.
The settlement of Josephine became a flag stop for passengers travelling to and from Allendale. The train would stop only on Saturdays when the flag was raised at the stop. Lumber was also shipped out along the railway and it was not uncommon to see spur lines leading to the lumber camps.
By 1884, Josephine had it's own post office with Joseph Budd serving as the first and last postmaster. The post office building also doubled as a Methodist Church and school where Ms. McQuay taught the students.
Where there are large amounts of dry wood, there may also be fire and in 1885 it arrived sweeping through the town and destroying everything in its path. The town was quickly rebuilt.
Once the larger trees had been harvested, the mill operated on a reduced capacity where it produced shingles and staves. This continued until approximately 1914.
When the forests had been cut, there was no industry left for Josephine's residents and it faded into history. The North Simcoe Railway continued operating until 1991 when it was abandoned and transferred to the Township of Vespra in 1992. Today it is a hiking trail.
At the site, you will find remains of the worker's homes, Joseph's house, and other ruins. The site lies just off a stretch of the old simcoe rail line, now used as a nature trail which stretches from Old Fort Willow to Meyer's Marsh.
The ghost town of McKinnon is SW of here.
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No recent activity.
Photos and additional information courtesy of Copysix from Urbex Barrie
Stucco covered outhouse
A very old icebox