Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
In August 30th of 1897 an article was published in the Ottawa Journal about the new Carleton Place town hall and it was said that it was a building of which any town or city would be proud of. Of course in true fashion it was also included in the headlines that this new building might cause a new row at the next election.
Built on the south side of the Mississippi riverbanks the new town hall was just about to be opened. The building which faced Bridge Street was to house “a joint” town hall, fire and police station, concert hall and new library.
It was advertised as a building that would astonish strangers by its proportions and ornateness. The cost was currently at $25,000 and there were still yet bills to be settled. There was a good many ratepayers that were furious that the cost was above and beyond of the initial quote of $12,000 and they swore that council would be held responsible for such monstrous costs at the next election. In fact the media wrote that the council was said to have run away with their duties to their constituents, and it was built solely as a monument to them.
The newspaper also flip flopped and said that they had to admit the building was a credit to the town of Carleton Place built of such fine stone, fancy dressings and a slate roof. The ground floor would house the fire hall where the engine would be kept, along with the police station and the janitor’s quarters. The back of the fire hall opened on to the river by means of a tank under the fire hall. Fires anywhere near the town hall could be simply fought without taking the engine out of position. The suction pipe was simply let down into a hole in the floor and the hose carried out to the scene of the fire. Carleton Place had a Ronald fire engine at that time and Mr. Peden the town clerk has said it had given out every satisfaction and prevented many a serious fire. It was reported that they had the same fire engine for 12 years.
On the first floor the council chamber, a really handsome room wainscotted in polished birch with painted metal ceilings and stained glass windows. On the same floor was the mayor’s and town clerks office and a suite of three rooms to be used by the free library. The main entrance on this floor with all its glass doors, brass fixings, the polished steps and detail of finish of luxury was something only a city might have.
On the second floor approached by an ornate staircase the grand hall was the full size of the building. This will be where public gatherings are held and the town will rent it out for concerts and to different theatrical companies. The arrangements of this room are fairly modern. There is a large stage 60 by 30 feet and slanting which is in accordance with the latest views on theatrical architecture ,and this hall will hold 1000 people.
Between the floor of the stage and the ceiling of the fire hall is a long hall to be set aside for use for the members of the volunteer fire company. They will use it for their own social gatherings and to store their fire clothes in. At the end of the building next to the fire hall is a fire hose tower where a capital view of the town can be had. The architect that deserves enormous credit is Mr. G. W. King of Toronto. Carleton Place should say proudly,
“Come down and see our new town hall” and then aside, “It comes high but we must have it.”
Painting of town hall by Blaine Cornell
Sept 8 1899
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 27 Mar 1900, Tue, Page 7
150th Anniversary facts
Community Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 7– It was 1957!
Community Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 9– It was 1903!
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun