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SELLWOOD

Return to index of Greater Sudbury


Located in: Greater Sudbury
Location #311
Public

To request this location be removed, submit a Report Location form.
Location Owner: OAP
Creation Date: 1/1/2006
Last Updated: 1/1/2006



Description
The history of the Sudbury area is one of plentiful mining resources. One such resource was found in the area of Capreol's Vermillion River.

In 1887, Henry Ranger discovered a deposit of minerals that would become the Vermillion Mine. While gold was found in the area, there wasn't enough of it to sustain the gold rush of prospectors to the area. The prospectors did however, find a large amount of other minerals at Moose Mountain. They set up camp by a nearby native settlement. It was here that Sellwood began.

By the 1890's many businesses were in the area determining what could be extracted from the area. By 1902, a man named John Gates began developing the area that would be known as the Moose Mountain Mine.

A firm known as the Moose Mountain Mining Company was incorporated to develop the claims. William McKenzie and Donald Mann, who owned the Canadian Northern Railway (CN), bought shares in the Moose Mountain Mine.

In 1906 the mining actually started and ore was extracted from the area. However the ore had to be stored until McKenzie and Mann were able to complete a railway line in 1908. This railway would run from Sellwood to Toronto.

In Sellwood's prime, two passengers trains travelled daily in addition to the constant freight trains. Just beyond the red train station were the section houses followed by the town of Sellwood.

Eleven large bodies of ore were mined during Sellwood's prime years. A crushing plant was built in 1907 and the operations would require almost 300 men. The mine had electricity starting in 1910 which allowed for the ore to be sorted by a process known as 'cobbing'. Before this, ore had to be sorted by hand.

Unfortunately the poor market led to the mine's closure in May of 1911. The mine would open and close as the market fluctuated over the next few years. By the First World War the market improved as the demand for iron grew. Moose Mountain Mine opened again in 1916. The number of employees quickly grew to over 600 men.

With so many employees, additional accomodations were becoming necessary. To accomodate the extra workers, two bunkhouses were built. One of them would be named The Club House and was known to be quite luxurious. The three-storey Warren Hotel, with 100 rooms, offered additional accommodation.

A Finnish hall, known for "many a night's frolic and fun" was built.

During 1918 tragedy struck at the Chinese restaurant. A soldier, back from the war, failed to pay for his meal. the restaurant owner reached for a pistol and shot the solder dead.

When the CNOR rail arrived in 1908 it brought Sellwood out of isolation. Up until then Sellwood was remote. The nearest neighbours were to be found at Milnet, and it was not uncommon to walk the railway for a visit. Now the railway offered two daily departures for Toronto.

A post office opened in 1909 allowing for mail service.

Sellwood grew once more in 1909 when the Warren Lumber Company opened a mill at Sellwood. By now the town's population stood at approx. 1500 people. It offered two bakeries, four poolrooms, a bowling alley, laundry facility, and almost one dozen stores.

In 1913 a two-room schoolhouse was built, with cream and brown shades of paint. A piano occupied one of the two rooms.

Father C. C. Fawcett of Capreol built a Roman Catholic Church. A Presbyterian congragation used the school for masses. They were contemplating construction of their own church but the mine's closure made the decision for them.

The mine's ability to operate was always quiestionable. The economy and price of minerals led to its subsequent opening and closing many times. By 1916 some residents began to depart Sellwood. Henry Plexman moved his store, literally brick by brick to Capreol and opened the first post office there. The remaining residents worked either in the lumber mill, cutting lumber or at the mine.

In November 1920 after having produced almost half a million tons of ore, the Moose Mountain Mine shut down for good. The lumber camps followed not long afterwards. The last family left in 1924.

The post office closed in 1926, and in a matter of years Sellwood was completely abandoned.

By 1932 the entire town was abandoned. The power and telephone poles still stood while wires connected every home. Curtains still hung in the windows.

The homes sat empty for almost three decades. Many of them appeared to have been abandoned in a hurry. In 1959 the National Steel Company opened a new mine in the area. A pelletizing plant followed four years later which produced 600,000 tons of iron pellets a year.

Sadly for the ghost town enthusiast, Sellwood was demolished when the new mine opened. The mine closed in 1978 and did not reopen.

Today a fishery is located where some of the original homes stood. You may find foundations of basements in the area. Three graves belonging to children can be found in the bush just paces from a bridge.

Some Sellwood foundations can be found at the fish hatchery (private property).


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Status:
Status: Unknown
Category: Ghost Town


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Receipt

Children's
Graves

Town plot

Stafford
grave

Cemetery





Railway bridge

Railway bed


Sellwood mine

Townsite

The beer hall

Family in 1925

Family photo

An impressive
view of the town


Original location of Finnish Hall and Community Centre in Sellwood.

Phyllis and Grace Kunto, (1940) at camp

Ron Kunto Collection
(MK5367EN)




Public school

Prusila Collection
(MK5464EN)


Boarding house at Sellwood
(1950)

Valley East Heritage
Collection
(VE0053EN)


T. Bruce's hotel and restaurant

Bolon Collection (MK4775EN)

Homes in Sellwood (1950)

Valley East Heritage Collection
(MK4775EN)

Anne, Phyllis and Grace Kunto in front of the Sellwood school (1940)

Ron Kunto Collection

Sellwood school (1940)

Ron Kunto Collection
Articles on Sellwood may be found under the ARTICLES link.