The north end of Lake Rosseau has a prominent place in the history of Muskoka. At the turn of the century, several elegant hotels were built on Lake Rosseau's north shore to meet the demand created by tourists visiting from all over North America. Regrettably, these beautiful wooden resorts have all disappeared, most leveled by fire. Besides tourism, the Village of Rosseau also thrived during the late 1800's and early 1900's from boat building – it was the original home of the Ditchburn Boat Works. Today, the residents of Rosseau are rekindling the exuberance of the early pioneers. The village is experiencing an influx of new businesses and people, and promises to have an exciting future while maintaining its distinctive quaintness and character.
Over the decades, Muskoka has become a popular location for a seasonal residence, due in part to the combination of a magnificent lake system and a beautiful rugged shoreline of granite and spectacular pine trees. The north was one of the last areas to be developed, and still includes some undeveloped shorelines.
Photos courtesy of the Rosseau Historical Society. The top picture (HR049) is of The Rosseau House, also known as Pratt's Hotel. It was built by William H. Pratt and his wife Lucy in 1870. It was situated on Lot 15 on Ash Street East but faced onto Rice Street. It is considered one of the very first hotels on any of the Muskoka Lakes that attracted tourists to the area. Unfortunately it burnt down on October 6th, 1883 after operating for just over 13 years.
The middle picture (HR053) is a view of Lake Rosseau from Pratt's hotel circa 1883.
The last picture (HR061) is of Monteith House which was located along the old Parry Sound Road (now HWY 141) facing the waterfront. It was established in 1865 or 1866, when Mr. John Beal obtained the land and built a log shanty. In 1869, a Mr. Cooper bought the building for a staging hotel and in 1871 built the first frame addition. There were many subsequent owners over the years, with the last being Adolph Goodmund, who purchased the property in early 1950. Unfortunately, the hotel was destroyed by fire on November 15th, 1950 after it was closed for the season.