Cramahe Archives Digital Collection
Sketch of the former Oriental Hotel, Castleton
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Sketch of the former Oriental Hotel, Castleton

Cobourg Daily Star, Saturday, June 28, 2001 The Oriental Hotel, Castleton Sketch and text by Barry King "Built by Timothy S. Giroux, a hotelkeeper from Norham, the Oriental Hotel has dominated the northeast corner of Spring and Percy Streets in Castleton since 1890. Although its projecting balcony has been enlarged and enclosed, and the old plank sidewalks have been replaced by cement, the structure still reflects a “frontier” time in the town’s history. Teachers, bankers, even the risqué performers with the old-time travelling medicine shows, found accommodation here. The salesmen with their supplies of tea, spices and magical ointments — rare commodities in the early days — tarried here also. The owners included Harriet Wolfram, Ziba Harnden and, during the 1920s, Andrew and Bessie Wolfraim ran the establishment as the Union Hotel. Inside, the salesmen’s colourful tins and packages were put on display, an ice cream parlour waited and, for those desiring stronger refreshments, a long bar of dark polished walnut stood in readiness. The sad story of Margaret Harnden is recounted in “How Firm a Foundation” by Eileen Argyris. Zeba’s 21-year-old daughter had fallen ill with tuberculosis and was too ill to be married in the church. With her wedding dress draped across the bed, Margaret was married to Edmund Quinn in the old hotel where she died a short time later. It has been said that her presence can still be felt in the now-historic home." Cramahe Archives does not hold the original item in its archives, but has a digital image.