The Smallian Bridge is located on the Smallian Road and crosses the outlet of Smallian Lake. This is a longer span bridge. The original bridge was lower with a small hill (7 feet) on both sides. In the 1920s my father, Bill Smallian, and his three sisters would have to bring the cows across this bridge to take them home for milking. Occasionally they would force one of the cows to jump off the bridge into the water (there was no railing) and it would have to swim to shore. When asked why the cow was wet, their reply was that “she did not want to cross the bridge”. Whoever said that kids in the country couldn’t have fun?
The original name of the lake, like so many others, was Long Lake. My great grandfather, Louis Smallian and his wife Julia immigrated from Sollstedt Saxony, Germany in 1863. By 1873 they were settled and were farming near the lake. By 1901 their son, Alex, also had a farm on the lake. Living on the lake, Alex and his wife realized that they could supplement their income by providing lodging and meals for men who wanted to fish and hunt in the area. Soon their tourist business became their main income. My grandparents and then my aunt continued running the tourist business into the 1970s. In time, the lake became known as Smallian Lake. My cousin Mark and his wife Mimi, currently live on the original homestead which can be seen from the bridge.
On the lake there are two cottages built in the 1930s. Around 2010 Carl McInnis bought property from the Fraser Papers Inc. and started a cottage development. Today there are about 20 cottages and houses with seven permanent residences.
Smallian Bridge also created some excitement for a local truck driver, Howard Berndt. In the 1940s, using his own truck, Howard was hauling logs to Albert Mielke’s sawmill which was located on the farm my parents were renting and eventually owned. As he crossed the bridge with a load of logs, one of the stringers on the bridge broke and almost upset the truck into the river. Some of the logs fell off the truck into the river where they remained for many years.