Life in Sellwood

The Town of Sellwood was completely run by the mining company.  There were no official police officers or police stations, and the only form of law enforcement was the company cashier, Donald A. Cowgell, who served as the justice of the peace and the local barber, Mr. Lafleur, who acted as police officer.  The town had no mayor or town council to decide matters and the town doctor, Dr. Cook, would only visit on certain days.

Given the size of the town, whenever there was a social event, everyone was invited.  People would gather to sing together while others would provide accompaniment on various musical instruments.  These social gatherings could last well into the night and sometimes through to the next morning.

The fact that some residents did not speak English was of no consequence to the people.  Everyone was welcomed with open arms and often "welcome to town" parties were held for new citizens.

Anne, Phyllis, and Grace Kunto in front of Sellwood school circa 1940.  Photo courtesy of Greater Sudbury Historical Database.In 1913, the first schoolhouse was built in Sellwood.  It was a two room building that served not only the educational needs of the students, but also the recreational and religious needs of the community.

Men from out of town would come to Sellwood to showcase black and white movies and summer picnics were a common occurrence.  All of the residents would converge on a chosen site for the picnic and there would be races, games, and prizes for all to enjoy.

At the height of its day, the Town of Sellwood boasted a population of 1,500 people, more than half of whom were employed by the mine.  It contained eight stores, four pool rooms, a bowling alley, two bakeries, two hotels, three boarding houses, a Chinese laundry, and two restaurants.

The two hotels in the community were The Warren Hotel and the Club House.  The Warren Hotel was located in the business section of town across the street from the school.  It was a three floor building that contained 100 rooms.

The Club House was a fancier style hotel that was frequented by the more prominent members of society, including the doctor and most engineers.


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