Photo by Barry Wallace
The photo above of Bell's Lake, on Highway 27, north of Nobleton is a favourite of mine. I came across it recently and recalled how Bell's Lake used to be a favourite swimming hole of mine back in my mid-teens. I looked up Bell's Lake in Elizabeth McClure Gillham's book entitled Early Settlements of King Township to refresh my memory of her recollections. Compared to the pastoral and passive image in the photo above, Bell's Lake, which was also called Kingsville and Loch Erne, was for many years, long ago, a bustling little hamlet, even bigger than the early Nobleton. Back then, one would have found a lumber mill, a blacksmith, a woodworking shop, a reaping machine shop and an inn. Later, a hotel by the lake built by a man named Bell, was the inspiration for the lake's name change. The hotel had a dining room, a bar and a livery stable. Years later, there followed a store and dance hall, and then another store and a tourist resort. Highway 27 was known in another century as the 9th line of King Township and Elizabeth Gillham wrote in her 1975 book that the road at Bell's Lake curved dangerously close to the water. The road was set back to its present location and was greatly improved. The photo above shows long grass growing in front of the lake, but I recall a beach, of sorts, which many of us enjoyed, especially on warm weekends and hot summer weeknights in July and August. If we couldn't get a car ride To Bell's Lake, we would ride our bikes or hitchhike. This was in the mid-1950s. The fond memories of those good times never fade.
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