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Histoire illustrée du canton de Potton

Transportation - Road, Rail and Water

Road construction

Road Travel

For the first forty years or so (1795-1835), the southem region of the Townships was better accessible from Vermont than from the rest of Quebec.

Over time roads were improved and stagecoach travel became possible.

The main route from Boston to Montreal crossed Lake Memphremagog between Georgeville (then called Copp's Ferry) and Knowlton's Landing by a horse propelled ferry and then continued on westward through the Bolton Pass.

The Lady of the Lake at the wharf in Vale Perkins | 1910


The coaches used an ice bridge in the winter.

The stagecoaches then in use were identical to those you would see in Western movies; inns where horses were changed and passengers could get rest and sustenance served them.

L'Aubergine, formerly Pine Lodge at Knowlton's Landing and the Wayside Inn at Dunkin, now a private residence, are examples.

Wayside Inn | Dunkin

Aubergine Inn | Knowlton's landing

Mansonville Station


Potton saw its first rail service in 1873 when the South Eastern Railway Company (SER) constructed its line from Montreal to Boston. To follow the easiest route through the Sutton Mountains the line progressed south from Cowansville to just over the US border at Richford. lt then tumed northeast up the Missisquoi valley into Potton before swinging back into Vermont at Highwater, then known as Mansonville Station.

A rail service between Highwater and Montreal lasted into the 1950s. The old railway station at Highwater is now a private residence.

Highwater Station

The second railway arrived in the Township soon after - but only just as it terminated at Potton Springs. lt was an extension of the Missisquoi and Black River Railway built to serve the copper mines at Dillonton south of Eastman. The Orford Mountain Railway (OMR) was launched in 1888 to extend the tracks to Mansonville and link up with the SER at North Troy in Vermont. lt was duly completed in 1907.

Both the OMR and the SER eventually became part of the Canadian Pacifie Railway. Passenger trains on the OMR - two a day in either direction - ran until 1936. The old folks in Potton still recall with affection the "Peanut Express" which served them faithfully for nearly 30 years. The station building on Bellevue Road in Mansonville is now a private dwelling.

Lady of the Lake on lake Memphremagog


The first steamer to navigate Lake Memphremagog was the stem paddle wheeler, Mountain Maid, built in 1850. She was followed by the Lady of the Lake in 1867. This steamer, a side wheeler, plied the Lake for 50 years,running from Magog to Newport and calling at various places along the shores including Knowlton's Landing, Perkins' Landing and Mountain House at the foot of Mount Owl's Head.

A screw steamer, the Anthemis started service in 1909. Ferry service on the Jake ended in 1954.