Paradise pond name has fascinating origin

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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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 sbartlett@thetelegram.com. On Twitter, he’s @TelegramSteve.

Organizations: Google, Arabian Nights, Government House

Geographic location: Baltimore, Victoria

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Recent comments

  • gerry
    June 26, 2013 - 11:15

    Re:the octagon castle,maybe if the home town area of Mr.Danielle in the U.K was rease To find out more info on the arcitecture of the old castle some more research could be done on Mr. Danielle's home town in the UK.Maybe the Octagon tower was built from drawings of a building that still exists somewhere in the UK.

  • scott
    June 18, 2013 - 11:20

    The concept of preservation and tourism do not exist in Paradise. It has been terraformed beyond recognition by it's rapacious lust for development. No tree is safe. A lot of old growth forest was decimated without a thought. Paradise should consider the few green spaces it has left and try to preserve them. As for tourism, they should rebuild the Octagon and make it into a tourist attraction.

    • PETER WELLS
      June 18, 2013 - 13:10

      The idea of rebuilding the Octagon Castle has been tossed around before, but there are many obstacles, the first being that the land it once occupied is now occupied by others, and had been since the 50's. There is little in the way of original plans, designs and interior specs, and what is know about it would cost millions of dollars to reconstruct. It sure would be nice, but who would put up the kind of money it would take to rebuild it and run it and of course up keep such a facility? There is much more to it than just build it. A model of sorts would be nice and displayed along with the history and pictures the town holds though, and display it at the community centre.

  • Mike Warehan
    June 18, 2013 - 03:45

    Interesting story...let's hope developers aren't allowed to level the place surrounding it like they did with Adam's Pond and now Neil's Pond.

  • PETER WELLS
    June 17, 2013 - 16:05

    Good article, nice to see it in print again. I have been giving talks on the Octagon Castle and Professor Danielle for about 15 years now at the Paradise Municipal Day, and from time to time at Paradise schools. This includes several pictures of the castle, of the Professor, his grave stone, and his funeral procession. Drop by it next year, or drop by my office at the Town Hall during working hours and I can let you have a look at what I display for the town every year. Good to see some interest in a unique piece of Paradise history that was almost lost.