Charles Macnamara lived in Arnprior from 1881 to 1944, and worked as secretary treasurer for the McLachlin Bros. At one point in Macnamara’s life he became quite interested in the 16th century explorer and soldier, Samuel de Champlain. He conducted comprehensive research using his own correspondence with others, his interviews and knowledge of the Ottawa Valley to complete articles, such as “Champlain as a Naturalist” and “Champlain’s Astrolabe”.
It is interesting that in the years following Macnamara’s Champlain articles, the erection of a monument to Champlain on Chats Lake was discussed by Arnprior council. This is documented in the Arnprior Chronicle of January 13, 1928.
The following is an excerpt taken from Laurie Dougherty’s “Charles Macnamara – A Retrospective”
“Charles Macnamara worked as secretary-treasurer for the McLachlin Bros. Lumber Company for 46 years. From 1908 to 1917, Charles Macnamara was involved with the pictorial movement in photography. During this period he took many award winning photographs which have been published in multiple articles and photographic journals. Charles Macnamara was also an amateur entomologist, historian and field naturalist who contributed articles to various publications throughout his lifetime.
During his time in Arnprior, Macnamara became extremely interested in Champlain’s Voyage through the Ottawa valley. Correspondence shows that he took a great deal of time and effort preparing articles, such as “Champlain’s Astrolabe” and “Champlain as a Naturalist”. It was in 1919 that E.D Lee and Charles Macnamara made their way to the site where the astrolabe was found on green lake. Thanks to Macnamara’s detailed nature, there are today photographs of what they saw on their excursion and a precise account from E.D Lee himself.”
The Charles Macnamara collection is a wonderful piece of Ottawa Valley heritage and is preserved at the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives.