Touring Cottage #2 at Amogla campThe area near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, used to have many "camps" with housekeeping cottages rented on a weekly basis in the summer. When my family moved to Canada in 1980, there were still a lot of these camps in operation, but the heyday of these camps was probably in the 1940s thru 1960s. Most were rented to people from the area around Ohio and Indiana.
Renting out housekeeping cottages was a lucrative business in the 1950s. Cars had just become good enough to drive the hundreds of kilometers from the hotter parts of the US, air conditioning was not yet widespread, and air travel was out of reach for most. So renting a cottage for a week in Northern Ontario was a good way to escape the heat.
Early on, cottages were simple affairs, with no indoor plumbing and just bare stud walls on the inside. Land near water was still relatively cheap, so building cottages to rent out was good business.
By 1980, when my parents bought Amogla camp, most of these camps were still operational, but in decline. More vacation options had become available, air conditioning made the heat more bearable, and a younger generation didn't like to use outhouses. More recently, an increasinlgy dificultUS border, slow US economy and low US dollars have not helped matters either.
Today, very few of these camps are still in business. Neither is Amogla camp. My parents are retired from running it. If we ever sell the place, whoever would buy it is most likely to sell the cottages off individually. The price that people are willing to pay for a cottage they own is way out of proportion to what people would pay to rent one.
The cottage at left is cottage #2. It was built in 1983, and was the third new cottage we built at Amogla camp (the cottages are numbered by position, not building date). All photos on this page were taken in 2012.
I think this cottage is the cutest of the seven, so I decided to do a bit of a tour of it for this website. It's a cool cottage from a woodworking perspective.
The first three cottages had fancy patterns painted on the shutters, although the weather has taken it's toll. The shutters on the right side are completely under the porch roof, so they never get rained on. All the windows are under a roof overhang to some extent, and with the shutters closed about 7 months of the year, all the wooden windows (built by my dad) are still in good shape after nearly 30 years.
We never really liked doorknobs that much, so my dad made wooden door latches for all the cottages. This is one of my favourites. From the outside, it's just a slider, but inside, there's this nice lever arrangement for operating the sliding bolt.
The dining table, with a solid 40 mm (1.5") maple top. The chairs are cool but a bit on the bulky side. They were inspired by a local woodworker, Paul Asam (one of the Asam brothers). I don't remember my dad ever making chairs like that for customers.
Sometimes it gets chilly in the morning, so all the cottages have a wood stove. The wood stove is sort of based on the German masonry heater, or "Kachelofen" idea. But it's really just a brick enclosure with a barrel stove inside. The brick enclosure has vents at the top and bottom, so convection causes good air flow around the stove. This keeps the stove a bit safer. Sometimes tourists, unfamiliar with wood stoves, would fill the stove with wood, light it, and then when it gets too hot wonder "how do you turn it off"?
The cottage framing is mostly post and beam style. These ceiling beams are the floor joists (no decorative beams here), and the floor boards are the sub-floor for the upstairs. We had to be careful to keep these beams and boards clean when we did the framing.
The glass door goes out to the balcony.
The balcony never got used very much, but without the balcony the cottage would not have looked quite right.
The second bedroom is a bit odd shaped, and has a slightly narrow single bed on one end ...
The view from the back bedroom is onto the creek and the wooden bridge.
What's neat about the shed for this one is that it's cantilevered off the main foundation. The knoll of land that this cottage was built on was too small for the shed, so it just sort of hangs in the air, built on some beams extending from the main foundations.
Of all the cottages at Amogla camp, this one has not given us any foundation problems, thankfully.
Mackenzie's cottage for rent (close by)
Some of my dad's
original furniture designs