Tilden Lake / Cooks Mills

I first heard of Tilden Lake when my local Rotary Club donated a firetruck to the community.  About six hours north of my hometown, the community is about 40 kilometres north of North Bay in Temagami cottage country.Tilden Lake, highway 11 ontario

Tilden Lake is a community of about 400, which swells in the summer as the cottage population increases.  It offers cottage, camping, boating, and outfitting opportunities.  There is a beautiful cottage for sale near Tilden Lake that comes up every time I do a google search for the community.  It is gorgeous.

Tilden Lake has an old MNR fire tower that is no longer maintained, so don’t climb it.

HIghway11.ca Tilden Lake north of North Bay, Ontario on highway 11

(Credit: User P199 at Wiki Commons)

Cooks Mills is just south of Tilden Lake – the first dot on my map on Highway 11 after North Bay.

After wondering for about 45 minutes when we were going to hit Cooks Mills, and wondering just how long this drive really was, we came upon Tilden Lake.

7 thoughts on “Tilden Lake / Cooks Mills

  1. this is terrible picture of Tilden lake!! that’s just a picture of someone driving down the hill towards Tilden lake, to who ever made this website…tisk tisk ..for shame

  2. Hi i was wondering if anyone has any information for me I live on the property were cook had his mill. I am very interested in getting as much information about the mill that I possibly can. If anyone could help me I would appreciate it. Any information about the old school house on the corner or the community in general I would love to know everything i can. I do not want this communityís history to fade. I have found things on my property from the mill and would love some history to go with my treasures. I would also love copys of some pic’s if possible

    • For Heather Aultman, Cooks Mills Road
      Good day Heather,
      This is in response to your request for information about the sawmill at Cooks Mills. The following draft is from a book I am trying to write.
      It does not copy the pictures. Call me At 705 497 3076 in North Bay, if you would like me to email them to you.
      All the very bet,

      Cooks Mills was established in 1925 (just as construction began on the Ferguson Highway) when the Ontario Lumber Company built a sawmill operation 300m west of today’s intersection of Highway #11 North and Cooks Mills Road, well within the present north limit of the city of North Bay. The saw mill was located on a knoll beside Duscheney Creek, upstream from the road on and south of today’s right of way for the twin high tension power lines.

      The place was named after Herman H. Cook MP and/or his son, George W. Cook, then president of the Ontario Lumber Company who had previously established a sawmill operation on the French River.
      Lumberman Herbert Henry Cook MP
      Canadian Encyclopedia

      A Post Office was established on the mill site (east half Lot 22 Con IV, Widdifield) in the spring of 1925 only to close two years later in the fall. The reason for closure was likely that the relatively small watershed of the upper Duscheney Creek was quickly lumbered out.

      North Bay Nugget article printed in issue of 12 May 1925
      Nestor Prisco

      Cooks Mills mail cancel
      Floreen Carter

      1 16 May 1925 05 October 1925 William Montroy Postmaster The only Postmaster

      Cooks Mills, cont’d
      The post office and the sawmill were closed was closed before the Fergusom Highway was completed. Meanwhile, at least half a dozen employees had settled on surveyed lots along Cooks Mills Road. They survived by cutting pulpwood in the white months and running cattle (Montreuil, Aubin, and Veltri), a chicken ranch (Deibel), sand and gravel operations (Devilliers) and general subsistence farming (McWilliams and Vaillancourt). After it closed, a deer hunting club was established and run by a Mr. Hennow (sp?) from Orchard Park New York who, by then, owned the property.
      When the Ferguson officially opened on July 2, 1927, Cooks Mills became milepost zero and a booth and gateway was constructed at its intersection with Cooks Mills Road.

      This c1928 unused postcard shows the gateway to the Ferguson Highway at Cooks Mills. The sign reading “Stop, Get Your Travel Permit Here,” applied to tourists but not residents of northern Ontario.
      Author’s Collection

      Travel permit issued at Cooks Mills in 1928
      Richard Lamoreux

      ©Jack de la Vergne 2020

      Cooks Mills, cont’d
      The only original structures remaining of Cooks Mills is the abandoned Veltri farmhouse on the east half of lot 24 and the school house (now a private home) on the southeast corner of the intersection with the highway.

      Cooks Mills School House c1950
      Suzanne Truchon

  3. I lived in Cooks Mill. My Grandma Clara Nothnagel MacWilliam passed away when I was 4 years old. I am doing a Family Tree on Nothnagels & MacWilliams. Several members of the Nothnagels & MacWilliams worked at the Ottawa Expeimental
    Farm. Actually Berthold Nothnagel became a Botinist there. I believe my two older sisters went to the Cooks Mills School.

  4. My mother grew up in the Cooks Mills Mill house 365 acres of land all farmed and garden. It was own by The MacWilliams clan nee Nothnegal formally of the caretaker of the Ottawa Exparimental Farm. Children atending the Cooks Mills school house S.S.#4 taught by Madme Regimbal of North Bay

  5. Cooks Mills, much like Feronia on highway 63, is more a street than a community. There may have been an outdoor ice pad or baseball diamond there at one point, I believe that is no longer the case.

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