© Courtesy of Geography Collection, Memorial University of Newfoundland Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Division
An unidentified group posing outside the Octagon Castle.
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Danielle was born in Baltimore in the 1830 and settled in St. John’s in the 1880s after numerous visits here.
A dance instructor and dressmaker, he leased the old Victoria skating rink, which once stood near Government House. There, Danielle held elaborate balls and skating shows.
“Soon, the Professor became infamous for the outrageous outfits he wore to the costume balls given by his dancing pupils,” reads Planet Paradise, a website developed by Paradise Elementary students in the late ’90s.
The rink was destroyed by fire. Danielle disappeared from the St. John’s scene for a while, but resurfaced, organizing more balls as well as operating restaurants and a roadhouse.
“(His) eccentricity eventually led to a serious falling out between himself and the residents of St. John’s,” Planet Paradise says. “In 1895, proclaiming that he could no longer endure persecutions of the people of the town, he fled St. John’s and travelled to what is now known as Paradise.”
He built Octagon Castle and it became a desired destination for Townies. Danielle died in 1901 and is buried in the Anglican cemetery near Quidi Vidi Lake.
The Octagon Castle was operated by a couple of different people after his death and it was destroyed by fire in 1915. I hadn’t a clue about any of this. And the story behind Octagon Pond — which is actually shaped like an elephant’s head — will come in handy, giving me something to think about other than pain during those arduous Tely 10 training runs.
Email Steve Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, he’s @TelegramSteve.