Lewis Englehart, born in Cleveland, Ohio November
2, 1842, came to London Ontario at the age of
nineteen and built a small refinery.
Englehart searched for crude petroleum to supply
his expanding refinery. When the City of
London refused to build a pipeline from the
Petrolia oil fields to London Englehart sold his
refinery and moved to Petrolia in 1876. The
J.L Englehart Co. controlled its product from
source to customer. The Silver Star plant,
the largest refinery in Canada had a capacity of
2500 barrels. Jake still dreamed of the
Paramount Canadian Oil Co. In 1881 he and
fifteen other men would organize and form an
agreement for the Imperial Oil Co.
Englehartís refinery and plants owned by the other
members became the nucleus of the new company.
1891, Jake married Charlotte Eleanor
Thompson. Their home, Glenview, was an
imposing red brick Victorian mansion with a
circular turret overlooking the extensively
landscaped property. Jake and Charlotte took
up golf and built a nine hole course at the foot
of the hill. The Engleharts were extravagant
and generous with their extensive gardens, opening
them to the citizens on Decoration Day to gather
flowers for floral tributes.
had another interest in the North. In 1906,
he became Chairman for the Temiskaming and
Northern Ontario Railway. By 1910 the
railway had earnings of one and a half
million. December 31, 1908, Charlotte
died. The contents of her will, revealed
that she deeded the residence, property and golf
course to the town for the establishment of a
hospital after Jakeís death. Seeing that
Petrolia needed a hospital immediately, he vacated
Glenview and transferred the property to the
community. In 1911, the thirteen bed
capacity Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital
Also for more on the Jake Englehart story check out
the Englehart website below ,
for the 75th Anniversary Book about CEE please click
here on the book's cover
Further to the above
here is an interesting piece by John Phair a local
Journalist ,Historian and Town Councillor
celebrates 100th anniversary
It seems Oil Springs isn't the only community with a
connection to Petrolia
planning a big celebration in 2008.
The Town of Englehart will mark its 100th anniversary
next year, and as most
will know, this Northern, Ontario community of about
1,500 was named after
Jacob Englehart, one of Petrolia's early oil barrons.
Englehart was a man who made a significant contribution
to Petrolia's early
development and had a lot to do with enhancing the
quality of life we continue
to enjoy today.
I have often thought that as a community we have really
given scant recognition
to a man who bequeathed the town a hospital, golf
course, and a substantial
The Town of Englehart, it appears, has done a much
better job in recognizing
Englehart's generosity and the benefits he bestowed on
Its council has charged an anniversary committee with
organizing an entire week
of celebrations to run from July 25 to Aug. 4, 2008.
Events planned include parades, picnics, historic
walking tours, and a gala
reunion banquet, just to name a few.
I suggested some time ago that the Town of Petrolia
should send a delegation to
bring greetings on behalf of our community and also use
the opportunity to show
our appreciation to Jake and Charlotte for the lasting
legacy they have left in
our fair town.
Jake Englehart was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1847 and
arrived in Canada at the
tender age of 19.
There has been much speculation over the years as to how
Englehart, at such a
young age, acquired the money to set himself up in
business in such a big way.
Nevertheless, shortly after arriving in London, Ontario,
he founded the J.L.
Englehart Company, building a refinery there and opening
an office in New York.
It was a time when kerosene was in great demand to
replace the dirty and smokey
whale oil that had been used as an illuminating oil for
Englehart soon acquired oil properties at Petrolia,
which was then in the midst
of an oil boom, and where he also established a
refinery, said to have been the
largest and most efficient in the world at that time.
By 1880, he was to play a pivotal role in establishing
Imperial Oil Ltd., one of
Canada's great corporations.
Englehart married Charlotte Eleanor Thompson in 1891 and
during their years
together built Glenview, their beautiful red brick
Following Charlotte's death in 1908, he gave their home
to the Town of Petrola
to be used as a hospital and also endowed it with
Imperial Oil stock so it
would not become a burden on the taxpayer.
Interestingly, as great as his contribution was to the
Town of Petrolia and the
development of the oil industry in Canada, he is best
remembered in Northern,
Ontario as the builder of the Ontario Northland Railway.
When James Whitney was elected premier of Ontario in
1905, he found the
fledgling railroad in a financial mess.
Englehart, known as a staunch Tory and a man of
substantial business acumen, was
the first person Whitney approached about taking the
helm of the troubled
railroad and rescue it from its financial woes.
Englehart accepted the challenge and reputedly worked
day and night at setting
the failing enterprise back on course.
He pushed the railroad further north and eventually put
it back on a sound
However, in Northern, Ontario, Englehart is most revered
for the largess he
demonstrated when a disastrous forest fire swept through
Northern Ontario in
1911, leaving many, homeless, penniless and without
Englehart worked diligently organizing relief efforts
and used his trains to
carry hundreds to safety.
He also spent his own money freely buying food for those
who had been left
A local legend has it that during the height of the
great disaster he nailed a
sign on his station at Englehart that read: "No one need
pass here hungry -
Jake Englehart died in Toronto April 6, 1921 at age 73.