- Photographer 1896 - 1938 (Approx.)
“Messrs. McKenzie and Stanton, photographers, of Port Perry, are about to commence business in Fenelon Falls, and Mr. Robert Rutherford has been busy all this week putting up a gallery for them on the east side of Colborne Street, opposite the McArthur House. It measures 14 x 35 feet, with a 9 foot ceiling and will be ready to move into by tomorrow morning” [FFG 24 Jan 1896: 5]. This artistic partnership does not appear to have lasted, but Stanton became a permanent part of village life. Stanton briefly went back to Port Perry but returned to Fenelon Falls and reopened his photograph gallery in June 1897 [FFG 18 June 1897; 4]. Certainly he appears in the directories after July of that year. James H. Stanton married Margaret McFarland, second daughter of Mr. Robert McFarland of Somerville, on Wed. Jan 16th, 1901 (she was the niece of Mr. Joseph McFarland) [FFPL 01.6]. The couple lived on Francis Street West.
In the age before the development of personal cameras, many area residents went to have their photographs taken at Stanton’s studio. In addition to portraits, Stanton also took landscape shots of the area and sold the prints as souvenirs to the growing tourist trade. Many of the famous and familiar photographs of the village and its citizens are from his camera.
A 1928 article in the Gazette summed up his career:
“Established in March 1896 by Mr. Frank McKenzie and Mr. James H. Stanton, who came to Fenelon Falls from Port Perry and went into partnership in the photographic business, the Stanton Studio still occupies its original site, although the building was been considerably enlarged in recent years. Dissolving partnership with Mr. McKenzie about six months after coming to Fenelon Falls, Mr. Stanton took over the business himself and has continued to carry it on successfully ever since.
Today the studio has all the equipment of a modern amateur finishing department and is one of the best equipped studios in both portrait and amateur work outside the cities. It is also said to be the only studio in Ontario located in as small a place as Fenelon Falls. Photography has changed greatly during the years but Mr. Stanton has kept pace with its development and has been a regular attendant at the Eastman Professional School of Photography and at all photographer’s conventions for over twenty years. Tintypes were the fashion in photographs when Mr. Stanton first started his work and all mounting was done on heavy cardboard where now folders are used for this purpose. Colour work in oils, a new method in photography, is done very successfully at the studio.
For twenty-eight years Mr. Stanton has been a Canadian Kodak dealer being the only [28.10A] photographer out of hundreds to handle Kodak supplies. In 1917 photographs and records were added to the stock and Mr. Stanton also handles the Marconi Radio, having the first radio agency in town.
Miss Allie Carley, who has been in Mr. Stanton’s employment for 17 years is familiar with all the branches of amateur photography and very capably handles the different parts of the work. Keenly appreciative of the natural beauty of Fenelon Falls and its surroundings, Mr. Stanton is convinced that no other town is more advantageously situated in this respect. Mr. Stanton has served the town as Councillor and School Trustee. He is a Mason and a Presbyterian. …” [FFPL 28.9A-10A].
According to D&B the studio remained under Stanton’s name until 1938, when the business was taken over by Allie Carley. Local residents remember that Alice B. (Allie) Carley worked in Stanton’s studio most of her life and carried on the developing business after he left. She also lost her eyesight by the end of her life. Only a small portion of Stanton’s photographic output survives in private collections. Many of his negatives etc were probably destroyed when the business was finally closed in the mid-1950s. It is not known where the Stantons are buried.
733 Variant name: Staunton, Staton. 734 One source says it only lasted six months [FFPL 28:9A-10A]. 735 Those who remember his studio say that Stanton used to show photographs in his window and people would walk by to look at who and what was on display. There was also a water fountain at the end of the sidewalk. 736 The Stantons had a son, Gordon, who was born at Fenelon Falls on Wed August 6th, 1902 [FFPL 02.9]. That son was married in 1927. On Sat. June 18th, 1927, at the King St. United Church, Oshawa, ... Olive Mae, only daughter of Mr. E.A. Sharpe and the late Mrs. Sharpe, Kingston, to Mr. Gordon Stanton, only son of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Stanton, Fenelon. 737 Mrs. Stanton was recovering from an appendicitis operation in Lindsay in March 1937 [FFG 1 April 1937; 8]. 738 Reminiscences of Helen Stewart Speller. Allie Carley died in 1967 and was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery. Some residents remember that Stanton was an "odd" individual, who was not very friendly and who always walked three paces ahead of his wife.