Bridgewater Retreat’s now pristine property and crystal clear mineral filled river was once a junk filled ravine that had served as the village dump for years, yet today we sit on an actual gold mine or two.
The land was first settled in 1859 in the Ontario gold rush. Bridgewater Retreat was well known and operated as the Schneider School of Fine Arts from 1963 - 1992. The property was just bush when Mary & Roman Schneider purchased it in 1962 from the Price family. They scoured the Hastings county not only for the wide variety of outdoor landscape and scenery found on this property (for the many students and artists it attracted over the years of operation), but also for their facilities, to ensure they blended well with surroundings. Two historical hand-hewn log homes were purchased and dismantled on the originated properties and brought over to this property for re-assembly.
One of these heritage log homes, built in 1855, belonged to the first Rashotte family in Tweed’s French Settlement. This was a double storey log cabin with an attached single story addition to the main floor. When the logs were brought over for assembly, the Schneiders had the single storey separated from the double storey into two separate locations/buildings on the grounds.
The double storey is now the Riverfront Log Home, where the Schneiders had built a new addition attached to the main floor to use as their arts studio. The Rashotte’s single storey got attached to another single storey hand hewn log home, built in the 1820’s that the Schneiders had acquired from Queensborough, which is now the Lodge Log Cabin.
The cabins, all made of B.C.’s cedar wood, were purchased as kits at the Tweed fair and also brought on site for assembly.
It has been a privilege to learn about and now build our own chapter to this unique history. It is our pleasure to share this historical experience here at Bridgewater Retreat and join us in making memories and becoming a part of the history too!