Stag Island

photo of people strolling the grounds of Stag Island

Excursions on the steamers, such as the Tashmoo and Greyhound, became a popular recreation in the late 19th century.  Stag Island, named for the deer population that had once inhabited it, was well located to benefit from this passenger traffic.  About 1890, Nelson Mills of Marysville began turning the island into a resort.  He built cottages, a hotel, dance pavillion, dining hall and other recreational facilities.

In 1900, a steam yacht owned by the David family provided transportation from Corunna to Stag Island.  In order to generate more income, the David brothers began a tintype business, providing photos of their passengers.  They also ran excursions up Talfourd Creek at 25 cents per person.  The attraction on these rides was the chance to see rare albino turtles.  The income from their enterprise dried up, however, when someone spoiled their fun by scraping some white paint off one of these “albino” turtles.

The popularity of the automobile for summer travel led to the decline of excursions on the river and thus the decline of Stag Island as a resort.  It is now home to private cottages only.  Although the island is Canadian, most cottage property is leased from an American fraternal organization. 

photo of passenger ship unloading large number of people at Stag Island dock

Stag Island advertising pamphlet with description of amenities

photo of Stag Island showing the hotels

photo of Stag Island showing cottages

photo of cottages along water at Stag Island

photo of cottage decorated with flags and two people on front stairs

photo across St. Clair River with Stag Island pavilion in background

photo of Stag Island pavilion with a hotel in the background

photo showing close-up of Stag Island pavilion

photo of dining room showing many tables with white cloths and garland-draped ceiling

photo of dining room with white table cloth draped tables and several wait staff in background

photo of balcony by the river with chairs and rockers

photo of canal through Stag Island, with lake freighter in the background

photo of man and two children in a canoe

photo of Stag Island in background and people boarding the ferry in the foreground

photo of St. Clair River with Stag Island ferry in foreground

photo of children playing in the sand with Stag Island ferry in background

photo of freighter passing by Stag Island with smoke billowing from stack

photo of passenger ship passing Stag Island

photo of a sleigh and wagon pulled by horses with men harvesting ice from river