We’re detouring from Highway 11 a bit to visit Krugerdorf, and some towns on Highway 66.

Krugerdorf was founded as a farming homestead in Chamberlain Township in the early 1900s, about 25 kilometres south of Kirkland Lake. Not officially named Krugerdorf until 1949, the area was largely settled by a number of German families. The town was given the name “The German Settlement” until it became to be called Krugerdorf.

Krugerdorf, Ontairo Jewsih cemetary off Highway 11One of the first settlers was August Kruger, a farmer and blacksmith from Germany. Having migrated to Renfrew County in 1879 (northwest of Ottawa), August and his son Frank left for the Krugerdorf area in 1905, where he was given deed to 800 acres of land. Kruger established a farm, and a blacksmith shop, and helped provide ties and spikes to the railway. Word of his success attracted other German-speaking families from Renfrew County in 1910, along with English and Scottish settlers. Later a sawmill and threshing mill were established on the Blanche River.

The area also had a noticeable Jewish homesteading community. With the help of the Baron de Hirsch Institute of Montreal, an organization that helped Jewish immigrants to move to Canada, a small Jewish farming community was set up in the area. Free land was offered to settlers along the railroad between 1905 and 1915, atttracting Jewish settlers from Russia and Romania, where they couldn’t legally own land. According the the Canada virtual museum website, among the colony were such names as Henerofsky, Gurevitch, Feldman, Levy, Goldstein, Abraham, Frumpkin, Verlieb and others. There were about fifty families in all. Eventually, the town developed, with a school, a Lutheran church, and a synagoge.

The Forrester Family Krugerdorf Highway 11 1910

The Forrester Family outside their Krugerdorf homestead in the early 1900s

The Northern Chevra Kadesha Cemetery was established in 1906 when some Jewish pioneers died in a canoeing accident. Morris Perkus and his son Ben were returning from Englehart station with three new immigrants from Europe when their boat was caught in a surprise current and took them over the fall. A small, hockey-rink sized piece of land on the land of local farmer Simon Henerofsky was devoted to bury the dead pioneers and deeded to the Jewish community in nearby Englehart. The Krugerdorf cemetery would eventually serve the Jewish populations of Temiskaming, mainly centered in Kirkland Lake, Englehart, and Cobalt. Today, Krugerdorf cemetery is maintained by Jewish communities in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

The community began to decline in the late 1920s. Despite high quality soil, frosts killed crops and markets for beef and grain were distant. After the Second World War, the farming community really began to wind down as children left the farm for work in local towns. All that is left today is the cemetery, a testament to the settlers of a bygone era.  See some photos here and here.

If you’d like to know more about Krugerdorf and the history of Chamberlain Township, you can read The Last Jewish Family in Ansonville, or A Place Called Krugerdorf, by Herb Kruger in the Englehart Library.

And a big thank you to Jim Atkinson for the homesteading photos.

If you can add to this page, or provide some photos, please let me know by emailing info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

(The headstone photo is copyright of the Canada Virtual Museum – the Kirkland Lake Jewish Cemetery.)

Krugerdorf homestead, highway 11 ontario

Krugerdorf homestead

Early Krugerdorf church Highway 11 Ontario

Krugerdorf church – notice the sawn boards, no logs



Dwight emailed me to tell me about Wavell, which like Krugerdorf, Jackfish, and Lowther, is one of the many towns that time forgot along Highway 11.

Wavell was a railway town complete with a school and a post office. Forestry was the big industry then, as was prospecting the wider region. This was especially true for the area after the Great Fire, as it still had trees, and the rail line to that point which hadn’t been damaged by the fire. Buildings in Wavell that were built in WWI eerily still stand today.

The area was populated by Russian and Polish immigrants after WWI. Over time Wavell literally died off, with only a couple houses on Highway 11, and only a couple more in the general area of the old town site.

Getting to the old Wavell town site, one turns east off Highway 11 (just within ear-shot of Kempus Mountain) on the Wavell Road. The well kept gravel road splits in 2: if you take the left prong, it crosses the Black River, and ends in a clearing near 2 homes which are still occupied today. To get to the old town site, take the right prong – and bring and bring a camera.  Wavell is neat – beautiful and peaceful.


Lowther is dead.  Long live Lowther.

I’ve been told by a Mattice resident that Lowther is on the map since it used to be the home of a NORAD base until the mid-1980s. Dwight confirmed this.
Much like the radar base around Ramore, the Lowther baseclosed in 1987. However, unlike Ramore, when they closed the place absolutely everything was removed within a couple years. The first photo below shows the Lowther base from Highway 11, in 1984. The second is an aerial shot of the base, with Highway 11 running diagonally in the background.

Today, Lowther is just an empty area where the radar base and all buildings existed. While Lowther is on the map, it no longer exists.

Thanks to Dwight for the info, and for pointing me to the photos linked below, care of Marg and Ren l’Ecuyer’s Pinetree Line website (
Photo Links: Pinetree Line – View of Lowther Base from Highway 11, 1984, Pinetree Line – Aerial View of Lowther Base from Highway 11, Pinetree Line – Dismantling of Lowther Base, 1989, Pinetree Line – View of Lowther Base from Highway 11, 1998