Self-guided walking tour. Free.
Step back in time and explore the magnificent built heritage of the village of Knowlton, founded in 1855. Well-preserved Victorian homes, municipal buildings, shops, schools and places of worship attest to the region’s rich past and its economic, industrial and cultural vitality.
Start your walk at the Brome County Museum, continue along Lakeside Road and end on charming Victoria St. Interpretive panels illustrated with archival photos tell the story of each home and building. The route map is available at the Brome County Museum and the Brome Lake Welcome Centre.
Brome Lake Welcome Centre
696 Lakeside Road
Brome Lake, Québec J0E 1V0
May 19 to October 31
The Museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 1 to May 18
The Centennial Building is open Mondays to Fridays, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1. Brome County Historical Society: 130 Lakeside Road
The Brome County Historical Society, founded in 1897, owns and operates a Museum and Archives centre and comprises seven buildings across two campuses. The Museum and Archives centre house treasures that recall the village’s foundation by the Loyalists, agricultural and commercial history and military artefacts including a rare First World War Fokker D.VII plane. The main Centennial Building, the Archives centre and the ever-popular Marion L. Phelps Building housing the Children’s Museum are open year-round, Monday through Saturday, and the entire campus is open Monday through Sunday, from Victoria Day weekend through Thanksgiving.
2. St. Paul’s Anglican Church: 24 Saint-Paul Road
The first St. Paul’s Anglican Church was built primarily of wood in 1842 at the request of the early English settlers of Brome County. In 1892, a second St. Paul’s Church was constructed, primarily of brick, in order to accommodate the increasing number of members of the congregation. Finally, in 1941, a third, Gothic-style, St. Paul’s Church was built by architect C.L. Douglas after a fire destroyed the previous structure. Particularly interesting are the old stained-glass windows that recall the village’s American forefathers and the historic Casavant organ.
3. General Store: 104 Lakeside Road
4. Masonic Lodge: 79 Lakeside Road
Once a Masonic Lodge, this attractive fieldstone building was constructed in 1852. It was originally the home of Israel England, a Vermont-born businessman, who came from Dunham to settle in Knowlton in 1840 at the age of 20. England went into the tanning industry on land he purchased from Paul Holland Knowlton.
5. Star Café: 61 Lakeside Road
Originally built in 1843, this building served as a tannery owned and constructed by Israel England. In 1903, a fire destroyed the building leaving only the stone foundation. It was subsequently rebuilt and was used as a club house called the Dug Out and later became a successful business under the name Crandall Auto Body. In 2009, the building was restored and became the Star Café known today.
6. Pettes Memorial Library: 276 Knowlton Road
The Pettes Memorial Library was the first free rural public library in the province of Québec. The Library was built in 1893 and officially opened in 1894 by Narcissa Pettes in memory of her husband Nathaniel Pettes (Federal M.P., 1874–1878). Many of the books in the early library collection were donated by local residents of Knowlton as many of them were very well-to-do and had private libraries in their homes.
7. Auberge Knowlton: 286 Knowlton Road
Built in 1849 and known as Blinn’s Inn, the building was the original stagecoach stop of the Old Magog Road Stage Coach Line going through Bolton Pass and the village’s first public establishment with accommodations, food and beverages. In the early 1900s, the Inn was purchased and renovated by James M. Robinson of North Sutton, who refitted the building with hardwood floors and added a third storey. The building was renamed the Robinson Hotel and operated under that name until the late 1920s. Today, the building is known as Auberge Knowlton and is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Eastern Townships. At the rear and left of the Auberge (yellow building), the original blacksmith shop used by stagecoaches on their passage through Bolton Pass still exists.
8. St. Edouard’s Church: 366 Knowlton Road
9. Williams Store: 8 Academy Lane
Built in 1872, the general store was run by John S. and H.E. Williams, merchants. In 1948, the building became the home of the Canadian arm of Clairol, run by Paige Thornton, whose ancestors include the Pettes family. Today, this building houses a business known as Amalgamated Industries and is operated by a member of the Thornton family.
10. Villa Sunny Lea: 132 Victoria Street
11. Barakett House: 122 Victoria Street
Built by Frank P. Williams of Knowlton, this house was one of three homes built by the Williams brothers circa 1880. Williams ran a mercantile business for many years in Knowlton. This house is an example of a Victorian neo-Gothic style of architecture. Today, the home belongs to Dr. and Mrs. William J. Barakett.
12. Lakeview Inn: 50 Victoria Street
13. Villa Maria: 47 Victoria Street
14. H.F. Smith Printing Company: 44 Victoria Street
The H.F. Smith Printing Company, founded in 1882, occupied this Victorian-style house until 1899, when the house was sold to the Molson’s Bank. The Bank used the house as a branch office and manager’s residence for many years. Lovingly restored, the building has served in more recent years as a residence and holistic centre.
15. Nestledown: 18 Victoria Street
Nestledown was built in 1834 for Paul Holland Knowlton. Until 1860, it was located opposite its current location. Judge Samuel William Foster, who owned the house subsequently, had a tower added in 1887. The Nestledown house was later inhabited by the son of Judge Foster, George Green Foster, a prominent businessman and lawyer in Brome County.
16. Darley Place: 17 Victoria Street
Known as Darley Place, this brick house was built circa 1860 by Paul Holland Knowlton for his niece and adopted daughter Sarah Knowlton and her husband, Hiram Sewell Foster. Foster, whose family is among founding families of the region, was a prominent promoter and builder in the Eastern Townships. Darley Place was later inhabited by his son, Thomas Knowlton Foster. The residence originally had two floors, but the second was later demolished.