by Anne Presley

IROQUOIS – Tindale House or Lockmasters’ House has joined the growing ranks of a number of Dundas County historical sites that future generations will never know existed or what they meant to the community.

Anyone driving up to the Iroquois Locks will now see a scar left on a beautiful rural setting where the dwelling once stood. One has to wonder whether the area will be cleaned up or left in its current state of disarray?

Originally built in the late 1870s by James Tindale as a family home, it survived the building of the Seaway from its prominent perch atop Point Iroquois overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

Tindale arrived in Iroquois in 1874, and established a jewellery and bookstore in the Tindale block of downtown Iroquois. His store carried precious stones, watches, clocks, pins and rings. His son joined the business, and he added a watch repair and fancy goods department to the store.

The Tindale House, perched atop the Iroquois Lock as it once appeared. The historic home met the wrecker’s ball last month. Schoch Photo

The Tindale contributions to the business sector of old Iroquois were extensive, but that is a topic for another day.

The family also owned 28 acres of land surrounding their home on Point Iroquios, which consisted of 600 to 700 McIntosh apple trees.

After Tindale’s death, his two daughters carried on the apple business and their apples were widely shipped across Canada and Europe. It is believed that they even shipped apples to Queen Elizabeth.

With the coming of the Seaway, the family was forced to relocate and their home was used as offices for the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.

Once the Seaway was completed it was designated for use as a house for the Lockmaster. This practice continued until 1998 when a new Lockmaster was appointed and he chose to retain his dwelling in Cornwall.

The Tindale House was then earmarked for demolition, but a local group called Dundas, Iroquois and Matilda Ontario Natural Development Shorelines (DIAMONDS), chaired by Don Graham, attempted to save it. The organization’s goal was to ensure the tradition of public access to beautified spaces, like the Tindale House, along the Galop Canal and the St. Lawrence River.

DIAMONDS eventually had to withdraw their effort because of costs associated with conditions put in the lease by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

It is tragic that despite all the efforts made, Tindale House has ceased to exist and we have lost another piece of our history. This time it happened with no warnings, no public consultation, and not even a chance to say goodbye.

Does the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation no longer care about the wishes of the people whose lives they totally disrupted in the 1950s? Do they think the younger generations no longer remember what was done to their families?