Playground of the Rich
Once known as ‘the playground of the rich and famous’, Arliedale Lodge was owned and operated by Tom Marks, and his wife Ella, and named for their only child, Arlie.
Arlie Marks with her dog, Buster
The famous Marks Brothers
Tom Marks, owner of Arliedale Lodge, made his fortune as a member of his family’s musical theater group, known as The Marks Brothers.
The Marks Brothers were one of the most remarkable theatrical families in Canadian history, performing comedy skits and melodramas . Incredibly popular on the vaudeville circuit, the seven brothers played across Canada and the U.S. throughout the latter part of the 19th century and into the 1920s.
Born and raised at Christie Lake, near Perth in Eastern Ontario, they played to packed venues until moving pictures ushered in the sad demise for touring repertory companies.
“As prosperity increased the brothers sprouted diamonds like lights going on in a building. The men and their wives as well; we all had them, on fingers, arms, watch-fobs —everywhere. Tom wore a triple-stone ring with a five-carat diamond in the middle and a four carat stone on each side of it. It was never off his finger, on stage or off. If playing a tramp, a farmer or a cop, no matter what—the ring illuminated every gesture on stage.”
Kitty Marks, June 21, 1958 in an interview with Macleans magazine
Famous ‘Marks Brothers’ theatrical group – Tom, Alex, Joe, and Bob
June 14, 1922
“The most modern summer hotel in all of Lanark County.”
Grand Opening, Arliedale Inn, June 9, 1922 p. 4, “The Perth Courier”
Warm summer evenings were spent enjoying live music and dancing, chef-prepared cuisine, and the latest fashionable cocktails on the verandah.
In 1922, Tom and his wife, Ella Marks, opened ‘Arliedale Lodge’, and the who’s-who of Perth, and distinguished guests from far and wide flocked to the resort. Many of the guests were members of theater companies, musicians, dancers, performers and they returned to the lodge each summer for fun-in-the-sun water sports, fishing and boating. Warm summer evenings were spent enjoying live music and dancing, chef-prepared cuisine, and the latest fashionable cocktails on the verandah.
Flappers from the entertainment industry sipped drinks on the verandah and mingled with the famous Marks family
Friends, popular musicians, performers, and distinguished guests from across Canada and the U.S. flocked to the lodge each year.
Advertised as “the most modern summer hotel in Lanark County, with the main line of the C.P.R. railway, just 100 yards from the door.”
An article from “The Perth Courier” captures the mood and magic of Arliedale Lodge in the 1920s and 1930s:
“They were all merrymakers, and here was the time and place for fun and fancy. On a slight elevation facing the main front porch of Arliedale, about 100 yards away the dancing platform had been placed, the waxed surface glistened in the bright Delco lamps and Burns’ Orchestra syncopated the latest hits of the dance world. When the show was over there were many pledges made to return again to the breezes and beauties of this attractive and inviting part of famous Christie Lake.”
Popular songs of the 1920s, in the heydays of Arliedale Lodge: “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby”, “Bye Bye Blackbird”, “Rhapsody in Blue”, “My Blue Heaven”, “Yes, We Have No Bananas”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Singin’ In the Rain”, “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover”, “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love”, “Ain’t We Got Fun”, “Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue”
Arliedale dance schedule – June 30, 1922, p. 8, “The Perth Courier”
“Evenings were a time to socialize. After dinner, elegant ladies appeared in their fashionable flapper gowns, faces glowing, kissed by the sun; and well-bred gentlemen mingled on the verandah, enjoying drinks and cigars, and telling tales of the biggest fish caught, or the fastest boat ride across the lake.”
Many people were curious about the famous guests at Arliedale, and so Tom Marks began to submit a weekly list to the local newspaper, naming the guests, who were often from prominent families, and wealthy members of high society.
August 4, 1922, p. 8, “The Perth Courier”
Death of Tom Marks
“Thomas H. Marks, noted trouper of a bygone generation, and one of the Marks Brothers of old-time vaudeville fame, has taken his last curtain call. He died at his home, Arliedale Inn, Christie Lake, on Saturday, aged 81 years, and those of his audiences who survive him will be hushed with regret at the disappearance of a figure once familiar on the boards across the entire continent.”
“The Ottawa Journal”, May 11, 1936, p.9
Arliedale Lodge is Sold
Following the death of Arliedale Lodge owner, Tom Marks, the resort, including 33 acres of property was sold to local auctioneer, Clayton Hands, and his business partner, Richard Newson.
“The Perth Courier” September 5, 1963, p. 8 (25 years ago)
1938 Owners Clayton Hands
& Richard Newson
June 16, 1939, p. 5, “The Perth Courier”
July 7, 1939, p. 5, “The Perth Courier”
Richard Newson and Clayton Hands built a baseball diamond at Arliedale, and began to host softball games on summer weekends.
July 28, 1939, p.5, “The Perth Courier”
Neil and Verla Stewart
In the spring of 1957, Neil and Verla Stewart purchased the resort and surrounding property, and changed the name from ‘Arliedale Inn’ to ‘Arliedale Lodge’.
Neil Stewart, who served as President of the Christie Lake Hunters and Anglers Association focused on a more sporting aspect to the lodge, focusing on sport-fishing, as well as pheasant-shooting.
“Pheasant shooting has never been too good in the wilds about Ottawa. But now, Neil Stewart, who operates Arliedale Lodge at Christie Lake, 12 miles west of Perth, has set up a pheasant shooting ranch. Here, for a fee, pheasant are almost a sure thing if you can hit them on the wing.”
Nov. 17, 1960, p. 19, “The Ottawa Citizen”
Bill and Anna Groom
Anna and Bill Groom owners of Arliedale Lodge 1969-1971- photo courtesy of Kathy Groom Stewart
Bill and Anna Groom purchased Arliedale Lodge in July 1969.
“Arliedale Lodge had 1,000 feet of lake frontage, including a sandy beach. The weekly rate in the 1970s was $70.00, which included three meals daily. On the exterior there was a large wrap-around verandah with chairs and a lounge. Guests played horseshoes, darts, and croquet on the lawn.”
quote from: Kathy Groom Stewart – who worked at her parents’ lodge.
In December of 1971, Bill and Anna Groom sold Arliedale Lodge to Michael P. Schafer Sr., and for many seasons the lodge stood vacant…
What happened next to the popular summer resort on beautiful Christie Lake?
Discover the history and the mysteries of this legendary resort, built on a peaceful lake in Eastern Ontario.
From the earliest days of the famous Marks family and their distinguished guests hosting the who’s-who of the entertainment industry, and the many owners throughout the years.
Read the shocking rumours, learn about a mysterious fire, and what became of this fashionable resort at Christie Lake.
“Arliedale Lodge: Playground of the Rich and Famous”, one of a collection of stories in the new book, “Lanark County Comfort: Homespun Tales to Warm Your Heart”.
At The Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E, Perth, Ontario, Canada.
(also at Spark Books, Perth, Ontario, and Mill Street Books, Almonte, Ontario
For information call -613-267-2350.
To order your copy:
Arlene Stafford-Wilson, at the Book Nook, September 2021