n 1836 a man by the name of Xavier Plaunt settled to the area of the Upper Ottawa Valley. He began to buy up lots of land and sell it to settlers. Plaunt donated a parcel of land for the area church to be built upon. By 1848 a post office opened under the name of Renfrew. Within three years the area would contained a sawmill, grist-mill, foundry, tannery and church.
When the Opeongo Road opened in 1854 it attracted even more settlers from the surrounding areas. Along the Opeongo Colonization Road small villages cropped up where European settlers had arrived hoping to create new lives for themselves.
As travel consisted of rugged horse and buggy it was not uncommon for villages to be situated within kilometers of one another with hotels for the tired travelers. Between two other ghost villages named Clontarf and Brudenell was the village of Vanbrugh. Vanbrugh began in 1858 as a mill site which provided lumber for the rapidly growing construction of homes and barns.
C. F. Holtermann opened the first post office in 1870 and Xavier Plaunt, who had initially settled Renfrew, opened his hotel in Vanbrugh. The hotel was reported to be the most comfortable of hotels along the Opeongo. Plaunt and his wife Janet operated the hotel for many years before retiring back in Renfrew.
The town grew to include a school, Catholic and Methodist church. Two blacksmith shops serviced the area, operated by Himan Haskins and John Potter. John Mahon ran the post office and general store while John Gorman opened a second store in 1885.
During the late 1880's the primary industry in Vanbrugh were the two sawmills operated by Henry Lambert and Stewart & Wilson. The sawmills owners changed hands over the years but remained in business until the early 1900's. By this time the supply and demand of lumber demand had declined. The post office closed in 1946 and mail delivery was routed to the nearby village of Clontarf.
Today not much remains except for the old schoolhouse. The village site can be found on Highway 64 (Opeongo Road) at Raddatz Rd. Check the listing "Opeongo Rd. Ghost Towns" for photos of the other ghost towns on the road.