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Latlng: (44.145378, -77.945798)

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Cramahe Township

Red Cloud (ghost town)

Discovered by timo explorer
Created Aug 13 2016
Recent status Abandoned
Category Ghost Town
City Cramahe Township, Ontario
Location # 13828

The settlement of Red Cloud, (also known as the Dawson Creek Settlement), was first established shortly after the War of 1812. It did not prosper until later in the century when the lumbering trade arrived to remove any trees they could find. This lead to the building of a successful settlement which included a grist mill, two saw mills, a sash factory, shingle mill, cider mill, a school and a cemetery, but no church.

The main man behind much of the entrepreneurship in the area was Robert B. Dawson, who established the grist mill, whose foundations can still be seen near the main intersection. It is said that he also rigged up a generator from the dam to his house on the hill to power the house with electrical lighting, although each night someone would have to go down to the dam and shut off the generator in order to turn off the lights. This was the first hydro-electric power ever used in the area. He later added a switch at the house to turn off the power. Mr. Dawson and John McKague created the Mt. Pleasant Telephone Company, also a first for the area.

Dawson also created a large pond behind his dam, which he fully stocked with fish. This turned the settlement into a resort area in the 1920's and 30's when people would come from miles around to fish in the stocked pond.

Today, all that remains are the foundations to the grist mill, part of the dam system, Dawson's original house (still active), an abandoned mill of some sort, the foundation for the school and the cemetery.

The area is now known as one of the only places where we can see the original Tall Grass Prairie grasslands that once covered much of southern Ontario and the northeast United States. Most of this grassland met the plows of the early farmers. The stocked pond is now an important wetland for many types of flora and fauna. I saw a young deer nearby on the road during my visit. I was here for almost an hour and no other vehicles passed by.

The cemetery is an amazing place. It dates back to at least the 1850's, perhaps even earlier. The last burial was in 1940. Many of the local pioneer families are buried here. A fancy entrance way with pamphlets and info sits at the entrance to the cemetery, although once you pass through these gates the real story begins. Most of the gravestones have been rescued and stood up, but several are still resting where they fell. Due to the rare prairie grasslands, the area is allowed to grow with no grass cutting at all. thus most of the gravestones appear overgrown and hidden in the tall grasses. If you visit this incredible cemetery, please stay on the stone paths that guide you to each of the markers.

My photos of the grist mill ruins and the school foundations are not very clear due to the extensive growth in mid-summer, but I vow to return later in the year for better shots. I have photos of the last remaining mill and the cemetery. Please come and visit this accessible southern Ontario ghost town, but please also respect the peace of the burial ground and also the historical and cultural remnants of this lost settlement.

Latlng: (44.145378, -77.945798)

Comments

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paparomas My father bought this property around 1959. At that time there was a house and a school house. Both buildings were burned down around 1985. There was a dam that provided a pond and around 1990, the whole dam broke with no trace of it and the pond then became a stream

Mar 22 2021

OAP26oct I am the owner of the original Dawson house ( 1867) and am looking for any old photos of Dawson pond ,an important fishing pond from the 1920- to 10950. as well as the grist mill and the Red Cloud community. The pond burst in 1952. If you know of any photos—please contact me—thanks

Oct 29 2020
unknown user avatar

Unknown user The abandoned place with the derelict barn and worn old cars. Is basically right next to the cemetery.

Apr 23 2020

jjjoverthere I was on Red Cloud School Drive today and didn''t see anything. Are there any indicators that reveal where this property (old house and derelict cars) is?

Apr 21 2020
unknown user avatar

Unknown user I live in the original Dawson house. My family purchased it in1953 one year after the pond''s dam bust. Anyone has old photos of the dam and pond? The Twp. road used to pass over the dam

Apr 09 2020

ktolfree Finally got here. After what seemed like a year in the planning my son and I made the trip. We spent over 2 hours wandering around this awesome property and loved it. The day was perfect. The cars were really cool. (as you can see from the huge smile on my kids face) Unfortunatly you couldn't get inside the buildings. They were full of wood and junk. We could peek in the windows, but that's about it. Break for snakes signs as you go up the driveway. Caution, we spotted a couple garder snak

Apr 14 2017

clay70 ps- any more photos of the dam or mill by the pond? there was actually a mill on both the west and east side of the road...in the fall u might see foundations on the east side too..I think that was the main mill

Aug 14 2016

clay70 Glad u made it there Tim. When we drive there by accident back in May of 2016 we were perplexed by the odd looking land with purposely burned trees and the oddest cemetery I had ever witnessed...we read about the mills and such and found a few others things...

Aug 14 2016