Alice Cross Wilson led a busy life, as lively as the powerful set of rapids beside which she made her home.
Alice and her husband, Samuel Wilson, ran the Peerless Hotel, a four-story, 30-room brick hotel at the heart of the community of Cascades. In addition to guests, which included workers from the log drive and the Chelsea dam, the hotel housed the town’s post office, telephone exchange, and general store. It was also home to Alice’s ten children, her mother, and her grandfather, who lived to be 104.
In addition to the task of raising a large family, running a hotel, and hosting a variety of social activities, including fundraising events during the First World War, Alice played organ at Anglican and United services for over forty years. Her children remember her practicing hymns at night, after she had put them to bed, the music wafting up through a stove-pipe hole in the large dining-room ceiling. One of their favourites was “Shall we gather at the river, the beautiful, beautiful river,” which they always assumed was about their beautiful Gatineau River and the unusual, bustling home their mother had built for them, and many others, there.