Geneva – Last Steamer On The Madawaska Waterway

This steam-powered propeller-driven boat was used regularly on the Madawaska and York Rivers to pull and push barges containing 75 and 100 lb. bags of corundum ore from the Craigmont Mine on the York River. The ore was transported to the railway at Barry’s Bay for shipment to markets in Canada, the U.S.A and Europe. The mine was the largest of it’s kind in Canada with the ore being the second hardest mineral behind diamonds. Corundum was used to cut and polish steel, polish optical lenses and as a hardener for railway rolling stock wheels. The boat was also used to move other cargo and passengers on the waterway.

The Geneva, owned by Starr Easton, was pulled up on the shore at Wishman’s Landing on the York River (Conroy’s Marsh) sometime in the early 1920’s. George and Ella (Phannenhour) Wishman owned a large tract of property from the top of the mountain down to the shoreline adjacent to the Starr Easton and William & Pauline Phannenhour families (across from Mahon’s Landing). It is believed the Geneva was the last commercial wooden boat using the waterway. This exhibit contains some of the actual remnants of the Geneva including the bow and boiler. On the right is a recently constructed third-size replica of the boat crafted by Allen Gogolin, Willard Musclow and their team of craftsmen.

This exhibit is in memory of Con & Nancy Enright. The Combermere Heritage Society wish to honour and thank them very much for their strong interest and generosity in preserving part of our local heritage. The Society also wants to express their appreciation to the grandsons of the original landowners for preserving and maintaining the boat’s remnants and surrounding site at he Landing. They are Brent and Barry Easton and the late Soble family.

Photos of the Geneva on shore at Wishman’s Landing showing what the boat looked like after being pulled onto the shore in the 1930’s.

COMBERMERE HERITAGE WALK, A PROJECT BY THE COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. – 2009