History of the Groves in Saugeen Township on Lake Huron

At the opening of the John Kyles Parkette in Gobles Grove on Saturday, July 9th (2022), an interpretive sign was also unveiled that tells the history of the Groves in Saugeen Township on Lake Huron.



The story was researched by local historian G. William Streeter who worked with Tracey Edwards of Saugeen Shores Town staff.

The sign is one of 22 plaques that have been organized by the Municipal Heritage Committee, of which Streeter is Chair along with committee members Joyce Johnson, Jane Kramer, Frances Barrack, Councilor Cheryl Grace, and Vice-deputy Mayor Mike Myatt.  The plaques recognize the history of the area and the people who pioneered and built the communities.

Many people are familiar with names like Gobles Grove and Eidt’s Grove but few know where or how the names were arrived at.  Today, the History of the Groves comes alive on the new interpretive signage.


History of the Groves
by G. William Streeter

Sandy beaches, blue Lake Huron water, glorious. sunsets, wheeling sea gulls and the soft breezes of summer are what define the Groves of Saugeen Shores.

Brothers John and Iden Goble arrived in Sagueen Township from England around 1850 and, following he survey of 1851, they chose Lake Range Lots 33 and 32 for their homesteads in the area that became known as Goble’s Grove.

Iden was a fisherman and John was a carpenter who built a home for his family known as Gobleholme, where the UNIFOR family education complex is today.

Lot 30 was deeded to a John David who later sold the land to John Ross.  Ross saw the potential of attracting visitors to the scenic area and developed picnic grounds along the shore in the late 1800s.  He put up swings and the area rapidly became popular for Sunday school picnics.  Ross died suddenly around 1916 and Horatio Nelson bought the property that then became known as Nelson’s Grove.

After WWI, visitors were increasing and locals were regularly helping to pull out horse-drawn buggies and cars that got stuck in the beach sand. Seeing an opportunity, Nelson sold numerous lots off the south and west ends of lot 30 and many summer homes were built fronting on Lake Huron, some of which remain in the same families today.

In the 1930s, the Eidt family, who resided on Lot 27 south of Nelson’s Grove saw that the area for family and group picnics was disappearing with the growth of cottage construction and so they had picnic tables built close to the shore so that the tradition of family, church and school picnics could resume.  The area was later expanded to allow Boy Scouts and Wolf Cub Scouts to camp and later Girl Guides from Ontario and Michigan also began to use the camp site.  The Eidt family continued to see cottages and homes grow at their grove and, in 1969, memorial pillars were erect in memory of the Eidt family and the grove bears their name today.

In the early 1920s, a small group of cottagers banded together to form a cottage association to organize social activities in the Groves and which was the forerunner of today’s Port Elgin & Saugeen Beachers Association.  Herbert Stevens, President of the Stevens-Hepner Brush Factory in Port Elgin was the group’s first president.

Another purpose of the group was to oversee the protection of cottages from winter hazards and snow accumulation of cottage roofs.  A patrol person was hired and 100 years later, the service still exists.  Membership grew over the years and various projects were initiated.  The association became affiliated with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association and today it works in partnership with the Town of Saugeen Shores and public service providers in addition to being involved in shoreline conservation and Provincial Lobby Groups.