Geographic location: Lot 11, Conc. 6, Stanhope
Current address: 16909 Hwy 35 Picnic Area
Buttermilk Falls is a popular picnic spot that is famous for its beauty. Watch as the water plunges 70' into Boshkung Lake below. The original highway bridge still holds the stop logs for the dam that monitors the flow of water. This set of falls at one time saw thousands of logs roar down it's chute on their way to mill i Minden. The original wooden log chute has long since been replace with one of cement.
An old postcard calls this tumbling waterway White Horse Rapids. It was also called Davis' Rapids after a logger who dropped his jug of buttermilk into the water - leading, naturally, to the name we now know it by. It's a 70' long river of crashing white water once used to carry logs from William Cameron's Halls Lake mill to Boshkung Lake.
The old winches used to heave squared logs into the gains to control water levels still stand atop the dam, and the old one-lane road bridge runs in front of it. The concrete structure that divides the upper part of the waterway was built to replace the earlier wooden log chute.
The old concrete abutment that runs down the upper part of Buttermilk Falls was a log chute. Where the picture was taken for this postcard, the section closest to the camera was made of wood.
(Photo from Explore Haliburton by Susan Wilson (Stoddard Books, 1997)
Buttermilk Falls has been home to a bowling alley, roller skating rink, dance hall, post office and general store. The post office closed in 1938 and the other buildings burned down in 1951.
The original general store and gas pumps, pictured below, belonged to the Hewitt family of Halls Lake. It burned down in the 1930's. There are public washrooms and a picnic area here now. Below right: Buttermilk Falls Post Office
Halls Lake Dam at Buttermilk Falls 1935. Source: Carol Moffatt's postcard collection
John Hewitt recounts: "Buttermilk Falls [is] one of the best know beauty spots in the province. It derives its name from the crests of white foam created by the tumbling, churning water below the dam. There are always sightseers around the Falls picnicing or taking pictures. The gorge above the dam is a favourite haunt of artists and photographers, and pictures of Buttermilk Falls have found their way to may parts. There used to be a log slide here also and, although the wooden structure is long since gone, pars of the concrete side walls can still be seen. It seems a pity that some of our tax money os not used to keep this beauty spot from erosion and ruin, This area is viewed by thousands every year and should be kept attractive." Source: Lakes of Haliburton Which Form "The Island", Haliburton County Echo, 1971
Associated names: Gio's Snack Bar, Buenavista Inn, Cascades Inn (was to be created when the second story was built, but did not happen).
Public access: Yes, from picnic area
Current use: Scenic vista
Information source: Stanhope Heritage Driving Tour brochure / Stanhope Museum collection.
Photo 1: Buttermilk Falls Drawing & Description
Photo 2: Buttermilk Falls Bowling Alley Burns 1951