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The first hunter/gatherers at the lake were aboriginal people of the Algonquin nation. They named the lake Kaijick Manitou after their chief, meaning "Cedar Spirit".

The lake was renamed Loon Lake and then Long Lake, by the white surveyors.

Native families such as Bernard, Lavallee and Baptiste were some of the first settlers. Of these, Algonquin Chief Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be the earliest resident. Hence the village and lake were named Baptiste.

Read more historical information by clicking on the topic of your choice below:

Birch Cliff History,    Early Settlers,    Bancroft Railway,    Dams on the Lake,    Logging Operations

Artists on The lake,    Old L'Amable,    Rangers Lodge,    Paddy Cox Story ,    Baptiste Memories

Dams on the Lake

The early years of the twentieth century were good ones for Baptiste.

The first dam was built in 1866 by Harris & Bronson, the first lumbering company to set up operations here. Those in Bancroft were always wary of the 12 foot wooden dam, holding back the entire lake. It was under constant surveillance, especially in the spring when the run-off would put extra stress on the structure and usually flooded Bancroft. In 1908 High Falls powered an electric light plant, a woolen mill, saw mill and grist mill.

Ironically when the dam was rebuilt in 1933, the original timbers were found to be sound, but the new concrete was poured during the frost season, and almost immediately found to be defective.

The Current dam was built in 1952. The effect of damming High Falls was to flood much of the shoreline, creating a much larger lake.