Friday, 24 February 2012


These are parts of the ski press that survived the fire.

It may be hard to believe, but, tucked into the trees was the home of a ski factory, an extra classroom for school children, a worship place for two different church congregations, and a meeting room for the Red Cross.

Eric Larson built the original house in the late 1920's, and established the Maple Leaf Ski Factory on site. He had learned to make wooden runners in Sweden before immigrating to Canada. He sawed birch logs and soaked the runners in a big vat to put in the bend. The skiis, both downhill and jumping, were sent by rail to the mines. A skier himself, Mr. Larson was instrumental in starting the ski hill on the east side of the Nipigon River in 1938.

An early morning fire in 1946 started in the lumber pile next door and quickly spread, burning down Mr. Larson's home and the ski factory. The basement was left intact. Rather than rebuild it himself, he gave the property to the Canadian Red Cross Society who put up a structure to hold meetings. In 1955, the Immanuel Lutheran Church congregation used the building as a house of worship until their congregation built a new church on Fifth Street. The Nipigon Baptist Church followed, occupying the church from 1967 to 1972. When the new larger church on First Street was built, it was converted once again to a family home.

No comments:

Post a Comment