Fireplace is Hidden Near the Tour Boat Dock
The ‘Cement House’ was located immediately south of ‘Dollywood’, now the Visitor Centre at Bon Echo. From the tour boat dock, it is a few steps west, hidden in the trees on the hill. All that remains today is the stone fireplace and a bit of foundation.
The Cement House was used for meal preparation for guests of the Bon Echo Inn and cottages. Usually a cook-housekeeper lived here although many others used the cottage over the years. Beside Mike Schwager’s cabin it was the only place that was usable in winter months. Before a kitchen was added to Dollywood in 1955 by Earl Hawley, the Denisons and occasional guests at Greystones enjoyed their meals in the Cement House.
The Cement House was a two-storey frame structure. Mary Savigny stated it was believed to be the first cottage built by Dr. Weston Price. It was in this cottage Flora MacDonald wrote “The Night The North Lake Froze Over”, Alone in the Cement Cottage, December 13, 1919 for the Sunset of Bon Echo.
The Cement House is Reduced to Ashes
When the Denison property was turned over to the Province of Ontario, Merrill Denison reserved a life interest in the Cement House in addition to Dollywood and Greystones. In 1959 the Cement House caught fire and was reduced to ashes. The fire may have started when cement in the stone fireplace chimney fell away exposing the wood rafters to the fire burning in the fireplace.
A year or so (1960-61) after the fire John Savigny planted four rose bushes at the corners of the where the cottage stood which could be seen for many years. In 2022 they seem to be no longer visible. Today the fireplace still stands for visitors to examine the remains of another historic Bon Echo building.
The information above is from Mary Savigny’s book, “Bon Echo, The Denison Years”.