In 1863, only six years after Colpoy's Bay was first settled, a log building was erected just to the north-east of where the village Bible Christian (later Methodist, then United) Church stood for many years. This building served as the village's first school and church, as well as a community hall. It wasn't until 1885 that the first purpose-built community hall was constructed in Colpoy's Bay next to John Bell's house on lot 57 (see pop-up map in the menu to your left). Aside from its main purpose, Bell's Hall also functioned as a post office and second floor residence. When John Bell moved into the "Kalbfleisch House" in 1894, the hall remained and served as a rented home. Unfortunately, disaster struck after an election in 1917 when an overheated stove burned all buildings on this property to the ground. Within the next year, the Cunningham home and blacksmith shop (evident in the top image of Figure 8A) were converted into a replacement hall. The Cunningham's used the former Forest Home Hotel (see Figure 8C) as their home until they left the area in 1928.
In 1927, the Cunningham's
Hall property was purchased on behalf of the Women's Institute for the construction of a new community hall. Figure 10A below gives a rare view of the new Womens Insitute hall with Cunningham's hall next door (nearer the viewer). The exterior roof above the front door of the new hall had not yet been completed. It also appears that the old hall was in use perhaps as a garage at the time.
Figure 10A: The new Colpoy's Bay Women's Institute Community Hall next to old Cunningham's Hall. (Top - about 1927)
The top image of Figure 10B below shows the new hall (after the removal of Cunningham's hall) with the McElrea home at right and the Pruder home at far right. 1932 saw the addition of an outdoor skating rink (lighted by Whicher's private generator). In 1934 a tennis court was erected just north of and behind the hall. This court stands on ground that was formerly used as a sort of psuedo street called "Brown St." (it was very short and didn't really go anywhere; hence, they put a tennis court on it!).
The bottom image
in Figure 10B shows the Hall in 2000. Not much has changed on the
exterior over the years. It's interesting to that the original dirt floor of the basement was not laid in
concrete until 1974! Overall, the building has been kept up well.
A small portion of the tennis court is visible at far left in the bottom
Figure 10A: Colpoy's Bay Women's Institute Community Hall. (Top - about 1928, Bottom - 2000)
In 2016, the hall was put up for sale given a decline in membership and funds at the local Women's Insitute. After significant exposure in the local media (particularly, the Wiarton Echo), many new members joined the institute and the hall was taken off the market. A major victory for Colpoy's Bay, since th hall is the last remaining public building in the village following the demolition of the United Church in 2007 (see separate page on this website entitle "The Colpoy's Bay Church").
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