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Rockcroft and Flynn’s Turn

February 19, 2024

Flynn's Turn from the Air

By Guy Scott

The community of Rockcroft grew up along the Buckhorn Road, a few miles north of the hamlet of Buckhorn. The community straggled along the Government Road where there was enough soil for the pioneer farmers to coax their meagre crops from the shallow soil. The soil in the area is very thin, a few inches on top of the limestone bedrock, but in several locations farms were hacked out of the bush.

There never was any real town site in Rockcroft, but the community did contain a school section (SS#6 Harvey), a church and several widely separated stores. The Rockcroft Post Office was opened in 1898, the title ‘rock’ being very suitable. It was a convenience post office, and never very profitable. In 1904, its annual revenue was $21.91, while the postmaster received a yearly stipend of $25. The other post office opened the same year was further north at Catchacoma (Cavendish) and it was basically a summer-only post office.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Rockcroft had an unusual history. Originally, it was to be a branch of the Methodist Church of Canada. One day, the Methodist and Presbyterian ministers met on the road while on their travels and made a deal on the planned Rockcroft Church. Since Presbyterians outnumbered Methodists in the community, the Methodists simply transferred the planned church to the more numerous congregation. The church was opened in 1899 and continued in service until 1960. It was sold and remains a private residence on its original site.

Flynn’s Turn is the crossroads location where the road from Bobcaygeon (former Highway #36) met the Government Road (#507). The crossroads only had 3 corners as the road from Bobcaygeon terminated here. The Flynn family had the farm on the northwest side of the turn and in the 1920s, Charlie Flynn built a store at the turn. Flynn’s Store became a local landmark: serving gas and general supplies to both locals and tourists. Flynn’s store was the only store and gas station in the area; and many cottages going north to Cavendish used the store as a last stop before the cottage. It continues in operation today: even busier with the growth in local tourism.

The farm community at Rockcroft gradually declined as the land wore out and the lumber industry declined. Tourism began to replace farming and lumbering as the economic mainstay, but the real growth in the area is quarrying. Several massive quarries operate in the area: producing both limestone “cap rock” or decorative slabs as well as crushed gravel. The area around Rockcroft has been designated a prime source of limestone rock by the Ontario Government and several potential quarry sites remain undeveloped. The quarry business is not always popular with local cottagers.

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