Goble’s Grove (Saugeen Shores) is a community within itself on the southern border of Port Elgin in Saugeen Township on Lake Huron.
The community with its long history of summer cottages has become a popular area with many year-round, and often extravagant, homes now being built.
The area derived its name from the early family of settlers, John and Iden Grove. The brothers came from England around 1850 and settled the land along the Lake Huron shoreline. Iden was a fisherman while, brother John was a carpenter and builder by trade.
John and his wife had two children, son John who remained a bachelor, and a daughter Eleanor, who married Duncan Lavrock and lived in Port Elgin.
John built a home on what was Lot 31 which became known as “Gobleholme” and that, today, is part of the UNIFOR Family Education Center (formerly known as the CAW complex).
The Gobles remained at their original site for several years before moving to a property on Lake Range road at the top of the hill from Lake Huron. They sold 90 acres from the easterly portion of their property in 1855 to Robert P. Leeder who, with his wife Hannah and three sons, Robert Jr., Philip and Fred, were among the first families to settle in the area.
The remaining portion of Gobles’ land was sold to James Henry and, some years later, in 1905, was sold to Horatio Nelson.
In the following years, the potential of the area for tourism was becoming apparent as summer visitors would drive from Listowel and beyond by horse and buggy, some by train and a few in automobiles, to enjoy the beauty and nature of the area beaches.
A small store and motel were built on the beach area that attracted even more visitors as summer tourism began to grow. The ‘Gobleholme’, was owned and operated by Oliver Kinzie of Kitchener-Waterloo. Kinzie was an executive at Baetz & Company Furniture that manufactured store counters, wall bins, floor racks and display units for retail stores.
“I remember walking down the dirt trail to the beach in the summer,” says Joan Waring, a born-and-raised Port Elgin resident. “We would take our dog and walk down to what we always called ‘Gobblers Knob’. We would take a penny to buy candy at Hattie’s store on the beach, owned by Hattie Dyer. She would also save a piece of white bread every day as a treat for our dog.”
Eventually, the property was sold in 1945 to a new owner from London in a deal transacted by Emery Wismer of Port Elgin, owner of today’s Wismer House.
Today however, the area is a popular family beach, although diminished by recent high-water levels of Lake Huron. With no commercialization, the shallow water, swing sets, white sand and washroom facilities at Goble’s make it a relaxing stretch of beach for all ages.