Artist James Paddon adds to the Bruce County Museum Archives collection

Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre Archives is richer with another facet in the history of Bruce County thanks to James Paddon who presented a reproduction of his original pencil drawing of his boyhood home known to many locally as ‘The Elbow’.

                 Artist James Paddon with his historic rendering presented to the Museum

In the County of Bruce, south of Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), the hamlet of North Bruce on Hwy. 21 (formerly The Goderich Rd.) straddles the town line of Saugeen and Bruce Townships.

In the late 1850s, the offer of free land that required clearing and farming drew primarily Scottish immigrants who were looking for a new life in Canada.

It wasn’t until 1860 however, that the Dominion of Canada opened a postal station in the hamlet and officially named it North Bruce.  At first, it was a stagecoach stop and other enterprises were built that included a general store, livery stable, blacksmith , cooper, sawmill and a very infamous hotel known as ‘The Rob Roy’, after the Scottish rogue Rob Roy McGregor.  The hotel considered nefarious by the day’s standards, resulted in the hamlet becoming known as ‘The Devil’s Elbow‘.

As in most early villages, the General Store was the heartbeat of the community where locals could pick up their mail and catch up on the news of the area.

“I spent my childhood growing up in North Bruce where my family operated the General Store, the post office and the gas station from the late 1940s into the 1960s,” says Paddon. “I drew from memory and early photos to create the pencilled drawing but I wanted to depict the village during the days of transition between horse and buggy and the early days of the automobile. It was a time when the livery was still there and horse and buggy were common coming into the village.”

              In the drawing, the viewer is looking southeast across what would now by Hwy. 21

Paddon maintains strict adherence to history complete with gallon numbers on the gas pumps to the bicycle air pump at the General Store and its shingled roof and dormer.

The hotel and livery were demolished in 1953 however, to make room for the widening of the highway and, in 1968, the post office closed after more than 100 years.

Today, the General Store building still stands and locally, the small village remains known as ‘The Elbow’, a symbol of one of the pioneering settlements in Bruce County’s early history.

To view more works by James Paddon in the Bruce County Museum Archives Collection … CLICK HERE