Judd Tooley, Louise Lemke and their Lodge
Clarendon & Miller Community Archives (CMCA) are sharing aspects from their research as an introduction to the public presentation May 6th (1 p.m.) Clar-Miller Hall, Plevna. Visitors can browse the many photo boards and researched documents of North Frontenac Lodges and Housekeeping Cottages. Thanks to The Frontenac News for publishing a three- part series in advance of the event. Information and photos for this article were courtesy of Marilyn White and daughter Nancy Hiscock.
Judd Tooley’s Lodge (Mackie Lake)
Judd Tooley and Louise Lemke were both born and raised in the Plevna area. Judd grew up at Playfair Corners just north of Plevna where his parents Luther and Emma (Wood) lived; Louise at Sand Lake (just west of Plevna) where her family Julius and Carlena (Hartmann) homesteaded. In the 1920’s, Julius Lemke opened a tourist lodge on Sand Lake and Luther Tooley operated a hunting & fishing lodge on Brule Lake, just north of Plevna off the Mountain Road.
Judd and Louise married and had nine children. For part of their lives, they lived on Gorr’s Mountain about a mile from the junction of Schooner Road and Mountain Road. Here the family logged, farmed, raised cattle, and eventually began operating the lodge on nearby Mackie Lake.
One of James Proudfoot’s cabins sold to Judd for $35 and moved to Tooley Lodge. Around 1927 Judd and Louise used the cabin as a base and opened the lodge for business. Excellent fishing in Mackie, Fortune and Schooner Lakes attracted visitors from “nearby” Kingston and as far away as the states of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Judd used to say that you could almost walk across the backs of the speckled trout in the creek between Schooner and Fortune Lakes.
Guests arrived at the Tooley farm and from there were taken via horse driven wagon down a rough cart track to Mackie Lake. They were then rowed across the lake to the lodge. A typical guiding day for Judd included rowing his fishermen across Mackie, walking with gear over to Long Schooner, rowing around the Schooners to the best fishing spots, and then back over to Mackie at the end of the day.
For years, patrons were rowed until the first outboard motor called “Champion” was acquired. The Champion is shown in the photo of Clarence & Irma Tooley and her Mother, Mrs. Blackman. In later years, several guides were hired to accompany clients on daily fishing trips, which included shore lunches with homemade bread, beans, potatoes & onions and freshly fried fish.
Judd’s wife Louise cooked for 40 years at the lodge, with help from 2 or 3 other women. Daily they made 10- 12 loaves of bread and full course meals with homemade pies. Since there was no electricity, all the water (cooking and laundry) was hauled up from the lake. The fridge was almost eight feet tall, oak on the outside, with lead doors. Two large blocks of ice would keep the fridge and its contents cold for at least two days. For approximately three weeks in mid-winter, ice for the fridges and water coolers was cut from the lake in front of the lodge. The ice blocks were sawn by hand, pulled from the lake and hauled to the icehouse. A gas-driven Delco system was installed to generate power. Hydro-electricity arrived in the late fifties.
The lodge was open from the beginning of fishing season (around May 1st) to the end of deer hunting season in the late fall (mid-November). Boats or sleighs carried every bit of food, supplies and building material across the lake. A platform over two boats transported horses two at a time with one man steadying the horses. In 1972, the Ministry of Natural Resources built a forest access road to Long Schooner Lake and it was only at this point that Tooley Lodge became accessible by vehicle other than boat, snowmobile, or airplane.
Judd and Louise’s son Herb and his wife Grace took over the lodge in 1974. They continued the tradition of providing great fishing and hunting experiences, tasty home cooked meals and friendly and helpful advice. Herb and Grace retired in 2004, and currently (2017) the lodge is operated by Larry Kroetsch.