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The Natural History of the Memphremagog Region

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One of the chapters in our upcoming book about Lake Memphremagog will feature the natural history of the region. Niels is spending as much time as possible photographing flora and fauna. He spotted this osprey nesting  in a wetland at the head of  Fitch Bay.

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Summer Camp on Lake Memphremagog

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Summer Camp on Lake Memphremagog

The bus depot was a chaos of parents, children, fishing rods, tennis rackets, and bewildered dogs dragged to see their young masters away. Mothers who had been awaiting the great day for weeks were suddenly stricken with a certainty that their babies would starve without them.

Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game

It has been more than forty years since I last crammed my belongings into a trunk, said goodbye to my parents, and climbed on an old yellow bus bound for summer camp. From the time I was six until I turned sixteen, I went to assorted camps, including two on Lake Memphremagog: Cedar Lodge, a CGIT camp run by the United Church of Canada, and Monteregian Music Camp, a camp for Montreal music students that took over the grounds of Camp Arrowhead towards the end of August.

I have many, many memories of my camp days: skinny dips at dawn; last-minute scrambles to ready the tent or cabin for inspection; giggles and reprimands when underwear fell out of the folds of the Red Ensign at flag raising; marshmallows falling off the ends of green sticks into campfires; lineups for the "tuck" shop; ghost stories after lights out.

Louise Abbott

If you went to camp on Lake Memphremagog and would like to share memories or pictures of your experiences, please let us know:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Memphremagog Camp for Girls in Vale Perkins was one of several summer camps that once operated on Lake Memphremagog. If you know of anybody who went to Memphremagog Camp, Owl's Head Camp for Boys, Camp Arrowhead, Cedar Lodge or Monteregian Music Camp, perhaps you could tell them that  we'd love to hear from them!



Meet Multi-Disciplinary Artist Elin Gustafson

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The Townshippers' Research and Cultural Foundation awarded Studio Georgeville a grant last month to enable  Louise Abbott to create a short video about each member of the artists' cooperative that runs  this vibrant gallery and cultural centre in the village of Georgeville on Lake Memphremagog. Louise  has finished the first in the series, a look at the work of Elin Gustafson, a multi-disciplinary artist and the director of Studio Georgeville. To see this mini-documentary, please visit  YouTube.


Wasp's Nest by Elin Gustafson


The Energetic Mr. Beach

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In the winter of 2011, Louise Abbott wrote a feature story about Nathan A. Beach (1841-1923), a prominent builder and contractor in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The article was published in the   Stanstead Historical Society (SHS) Journal in June of 2011.  To obtain a copy, please email the SHS ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or phone them at 819-876-7322.

Below are some excerpts from The Energetic Mr. Beach:

In Derby Line, Vermont, a quiet residential street called Beach intersects Main not far from the United States customs office. Although the street name may mean little to inhabitants nowadays, it commemorates  a man who was once a familiar and forceful presence in the historical Three Villages (Derby Line, Rock Island, and Stanstead) and the Memphremagog region—Nathaniel (Nathan) Allen Beach.

Beach was a contractor and builder non-pareil whose reputation spanned the border as surely as his magnum opus, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. This distinctive building of granite and yellow brick—designed to serve both Canadian and American patrons—was completed in 1904, when Beach had more than three decades of building experience behind him.



(Photo : Louise Abbott)

In 1864 Beach received what was reportedly his first commission: he constructed a farmhouse for his in-laws on the Magoon Point Road two miles or so south of Georgeville. The MacPhersons occupied the house for generations, gradually making additions and modifications to it.

During the course of his career, Beach occasionally collaborated with architects—the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, for instance, was designed by James Ball of Stanstead and his partner, Gilbert Smith, of Boston. More often, Beach took charge of building design himself and likely drew inspiration from the architectural pattern books and advice manuals that were then popular in the United States. Certainly the gabled roof and gingerbread details of the MacPherson farmhouse reflect the influence of the Romantic, or Picturesque, Style that was favoured by American authors like Andrew Jackson Downing and embodied in homes on New England country estates of the period.



(Photo: Anick Valiquette)

Beach commenced the construction of a house in 1880 on an estate on the southern edge of Georgeville, working from sketches that owner John Murray provided. The house, completed in 1882, had three stories and a basement, a tower on one corner, and twenty rooms. John Murray was a strapping man over six feet tall, and he was tired of stooping in the low-ceilinged cottage where he had previously resided; he called for twelve-foot-high ceilings in his new home. The grand building, painted a salmon colour, was named Dunkeld in honour of the Scottish town from which the ancestors of John Murray’s wife, Isabella MacDuff, had emigrated.

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