The County’s His­tory - the for­mer Cor­son House and the orig­i­nal Keltic Lodge

The Victoria Standard - - Heritage / Culture - JOAN MACINNES

The house in this pho­to­graph was ini­tially lo­cated in the com­mu­nity of In­go­nish, on the penin­sula known as Mid­dle Head. Prob­a­bly built in the mid to late nine­teen teens, it was known as “The Lodge” and was the home of Henry and Ju­lia Cor­son. Orig­i­nally from Akron, Ohio, the Cor­sons were friends of Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell who had in­tro­duced the cou­ple to Cape Bre­ton and, in par­tic­u­lar, to the north­ern part of Vic­to­ria County.

The Cor­sons were able to ac­quire the Mid­dle Head prop­erty from two dif­fer­ent sources. The seventy-five acres on which the house was sit­u­ated was pur­chased from Ed­ward Keigan, a lo­cal fish­er­man, and his wife Cather­ine Keigan in Fe­bru­ary, 1899 for the sum of $650.00. The re­main­der of the penin­sula was ob­tained through a Crown land grant. The grant was made up of two parcels of land and con­tained a to­tal of forty-two acres. These two lots were granted to Henry Cor­son and William Morgan jointly in Novem­ber of 1904 for the price of $80.00.

Ap­par­ently, Ju­lia Cor­son did not en­joy good health. The de­ci­sion to make Mid­dle Head the Cor­sons’ new home was, in part, made be­cause they felt that the fresh, clean ocean air would ben­e­fit her con­di­tion. Henry Cor­son died in the early 1920’s. Ju­lia stayed on in the com­mu­nity un­til 1938 when the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ex­pro­pri­ated her land as part of the newly estab­lished Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park which had come into ex­is­tence in 1936. Af­ter her prop­erty and home were ex­pro­pri­ated, Mrs. Cor­son moved back to the United States and lived out her days there un­til her death in the 1940’s.

Fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Ju­lia Cor­son, the gov­ern­ment con­verted her dwelling into a ho­tel which oper­ated un­til 1950 with the ex­cep­tion of four years dur­ing WWII from 1942 to 1946 as a re­sult of wartime ra­tioning and also the lack of clien­tele. The Cor­son house was finally razed af­ter the new Keltic Lodge was com­pleted.

In 1950, con­struc­tion be­gan on the present day Keltic Lodge. In 1952, it was com­pleted and opened to the trav­el­ling pub­lic. Keltic Lodge has wel­comed vis­i­tors from around the world over the past sixty-four years and it still con­tin­ues to be a vi­able and iconic ho­tel in Vic­to­ria County.

This pic­ture was taken in 1940 (circa) not long af­ter it had been opened as the orig­i­nal Keltic Lodge.

Cor­son House as it ap­peared circa 1940.

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