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Treasuring Tremont Island

Written by on October 3, 2018 in Island Life Magazine, The Thousand Islands
Big Red: an historic cottage on Tremont Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine/

The Red: an historic cottage on Tremont Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine/

Tremont Island, located right across the shores of Gananoque in the Admiralty Group, is a tranquil cottage colony that has a playful idleness dating back over a century.
Historic cottages with names like The Red, Hawk’s Nest, and Sunrise Camp line its sleepy shores. The only island ‘traffic’ sign I spotted was posted on a tree with the whimsical warning: ‘Slow: Grandparents at Play.’
The first day I stepped on Tremont Island, there was a lot of commotion with dozens of camera-toting cottagers gathering on lawn by the dock. The big attraction: A helicopter was dropping off a new Hydro pole. Just another day of island life on Tremont, or Tremont Park Island, as it is known.
Tremont is also called Tidds Island. The close-knit community of cottage owners has even published their own book on the island’s history called Tidds Island: A History of its People and Their Stories. According to the book, the first recorded name for the island was Nut Island. But in 1815, CaptainWilliam Owen of the British Navy was charged with surveying the Thousand Islands. In 1816, he recorded Tremont as Stone Island, likely after Colonel Joel Stone, founder of the town of Gananoque. The island was also locally known as Tidds Island, named after a squatter here during the 1820s.

Tremont Island, right, is located off the shores of Gananoque. Photo by Kim Lunman.

A survey by Charles Unwin in 1873 reported the island at 24.3 acres. It was owned and for sale at the time for $800. Emily Davis, the wife of Captain Davis, bought the island. It was subdivided and called Tremont Park. Historic cottages have passed through generations over the past century. There are about 35 cottages on Tremont.

Kingsmere Cottage

One of the island’s most famous residents was a woman named Mary See, the creator of “See’s Famous Old Time Candies.” She was born on Howe Island in 1854. She married Alexander See and the couple operated the Tremont Hotel for several years. Guests there enjoyed Mary’s homemade confections. Her husband died in 1919 and several years later she moved to Los Angeles with her son, Charles. The California candy company now has 200 stores in the United States. See’s was also the set of the screwball scene in the 1950’s “I Love Lucy” episode in which Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance try to keep up with the production line by stuffing their faces with chocolates.tremont-isle-redcanoe (1)

The trails around Tremont Island offer a walking history tour. An island with many names and towering trees, it seems much farther away than it is from the mainland. Despite the advent of modern-day amenities like Hydro and the buzzing helicopter overhead, it’s still deliciously lost in time: Island Time.

A Tremont Island ‘Bunkie.’Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine/




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