WYLDEWOODE ON MULDREW
For about a dozen years now, I have been posting pictures of other peoples' Muldrew Places here at muldrew.com. A Friend recently asked "Why don't you write something about yourself , your place and include a picture or two" (OK, I've included lots of them). This is My Story, edited carefully.
The Original Cottage building was built in 1926 by Charles Carter who had purchased the full Lot 30, Concession 3, Muskoka Township of about 100 acres. Named "Wyldewoode", it had bare stud walls and originally was open only from June to September, during which the Carter Family used it full time. Charles loved to do rockwork, hence we have rock stairs, rock gardens, rock foundations, rock porches and a natural Muskoka rock fireplace. All sound to this day, thanks to regular maintenance. There is a story, possibly true, that he left his plans in Toronto when starting construction, but with his clear Police-Inspector memory, built the original building from his head. In September each year, it was shuttered and boarded up tight until May or June. No weekends in Muskoka in those days. In 1947, it was enlarged to accommodate a septic system, indoor plumbing and a spacious cabin was added.
My place was owned by the Carter Family from 1926 until 1962-3 when it was purchased along with Part of Lot 30 by my Mother, Marjorie Carnegie for just over 6 thousand dollars. (Her stocks had done well) Our taxes were $50 or $60 dollars a year. As an aside, we were also mentioned in The History of Muldrew Lake published by Maurice Cline, and it included a picture taken in 1969 by the late Roy Dixon. Olive Carter, Daughter of the builder, revisited in the early 1970's and was pleased that we hadn't changed it, but of course by then, we had subtlety made a lot of changes, though we tried to keep the Muskoka Look and Feel, in spite of those major interior / exterior improvements to the entire place.
Muldrew was and is a lot more than a place. It's about people. During my earlier years on Muldrew, a number of Lake friends and I stayed up all night on Summer weekends, having a good time, often partying until first light, much to the chagrin of some of our lake neighbours. More than once, we were visited by an unhappy cottager annoyed at the amount of noise that we were making. South Lake was a favourite place for this activity being as open as it was and The Church with it's unoccupied docks was very popular too. A number of my life long friendships started at those get-to-gethers which, of course, would be socially unacceptable today....and probably were then too. (insert a laugh or chuckle here, and don't ever tell your kids). But better to be mischievous on Muldrew than in Town where one might have to drive home. Our parties, needless to say, were very well attended with as many as six or seven boats and 20 or more people gathering regularly. Yes South Lakers, that's why they were so noisy.
During the same period, I often was on-call for the Radio stations CFGM/Q107 where I was Chief Engineer. Since there were no pagers or cellphones that worked on Muldrew, I left a list of My and a few "selected" friends Cottages where I might be found should some major piece of equipment fail. Perish the poor Radio Announcer who dared to phone those numbers late at night . A few times it did happen and I heard about it the next day in less than glowing terms usually from my Friends parents, but no list in the Control Room meant I'd have to stay in Toronto and Hell would have had to freeze over to keep me away from Muldrew on a Summer weekend.
Anyhow, I purchased the Cottage, now a Muskoka Home from my Late Mother in 1994 for the then princely sum of $137,000.00 dollars and moved here for as much time as work allows in 2001. Summertime, it is popular destination for Invited Friends from the City to visit.....(See Andrea's story about Guests..." Been there, Done that! ")....and thanks to Mapquest and GPS, they now only get lost occasionally. Guests who like to chop wood and help do the other seemingly endless chores are especially welcome!
In 1985, one of the Carter Grandchildren, sent the following letter to us along with a few pictures. Abridged slightly for brevity here.
"Dear Mrs. Carnegie: These are some of the photos of your cottage taken soon after it was built. I had others made, but they weren't with these. I will check again and forward them to you should I find more. When I think of the kind of man my grandfather was, I shake my head. He built 2 city homes, but the cottage was the second project and when you think the materials had to be hand carried up the cliff, because there was only a very hilly dirt road, full of twists and turns, it astounds me and all done for his wife who was ill and the doctors thought the air in the north would be good for her. Some time later (maybe a year or two), she succumbed to pneumonia. I realise now looking at the picture of Norman, who is 5 or 6, I would say that these pictures were taken about 5 years or so after my grandmother passed away since Norman was 2 years at that time. I trust these will be of interest to you and I shall look up some others, but I won't likely be able to do that before the Fall (of 1985) Sincerely Eileen Munro. Aug 9, 1985."
Her Black and White Pictures are Just Below.
Charles and Mrs. Carter circa 1932
Norman Carter at about 5 or 6
Olive Carter in the Canoe
The Boat and I (named 'The Music Power' after the loud stereo it once had).
Below: Big Screened Porch, Natural Muskoka Granite Fireplace and New Kitchen
Fall Colours Out Front
Winter and Lots of Snow