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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

Logging Operations

With a railway close at hand, lumbering took on a more robust part in the development of Baptiste. The first mill was built in 1894 by Harris & Bronson. Jennings and King established themselves by 1914. When King left the firm, W.O. Bailey joined Jennings, and in 1925 Whitney Martin joined the company. In 1929, he bought full control and by then had three saw mills on Baptiste. Whitney and his son Grenville ran the Baptiste mills until 1957.

At first logs were driven from the headwaters down to High Falls, into the York River and on down to the Ottawa River. The arrival of sawmills and a rail line shortened the log drive. At Hughes Mill (Baptiste Lake Marina today), logs were processed and shipped by rail from a depot at Hughes Siding.

Whitney Martin, founder of Martin Lumber Co., purchased the Hughes Mill in the twenties. When it was destroyed by fire in 1930, he built a new, larger mill. In the early nineteen-fifties, Martin dismantled this lower mill to create cottage lots, and his son Grenville expanded Martin's Mill at Harcourt.

Until 1984, Martin Lumber was the largest employer in the region. Edenswold (close to Birch Cliff Lodge) was the first tourist lodge on the lake. Built by John and Gertrude Payne in 1912, on the south shore, it catered to loggers and trainmen, and attracted the first U.S. tourists,

A dirt road built in the early nineteen thirties opened the north shore to cottagers and tourist lodges.