Down by the Old Mill Stream — Carleton Place


Have you ever really looked at Mill Street? There is so much history you take for granted on this street. Next time you drive down Mill Street– stop the car, and go for a walk. Did you know people never really walked down Mill Street? That’s because it was filled with mills and factory workers. Noises were loud, and the scents of the area were not pleasant. Everywhere bustled with hundreds of mill workers. Can you imagine?

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The Oatmeal Mill

Slackoni’s is the oldest stone building in Carleton Place dating back to the 1820’s and was once the Oatmeal Mill. There is a ghost in here that Rob from Slackonis has told me a few stories about.  For many years it was used as a garage and repair ship called McGregors.  In the late 1800’s a local public option vote in front of this particular building closed the public bars of Carleton Place. Seems fitting that it is a bar restaurant now.


Hugh Bolton

The Morphys at first didn’t care that where they settled—they had a room with a view of  thewater falls — with water privileges added. Not one of them tried to utilize it. In 1820 Mr. Coleman bought one of their privileges with the thoughts of building a mill here on the Mississippi banks- but he had such difficulties he didn’t carry through. Coleman however sold his rights to Hugh Bolton. Bolton erected what was the only grist mill between Perth and Bytown for many a day. In 1820 Hugh Boton ground out the first bushel of wheat in the first grist mill between Perth and Bytown. Jayne Henry from the Museum has heard stories of women walking from Perth to buy flour. In those days the trees were roughly cut down to clear roads. Some stumps were neck high and the women would rest the flour on their backs on top of the tree stumps.

The Hugh Bolton Grist Mill at 35 Mill street and the Brown Flour Mill next door date from the late 1823. The five story addition was added in 1885 to accommodate a roller press mill. This mill actually operated until the 1960’s until a fire destroyed the interior. In the 1980’s it was converted into condominiums. The origiinal millstone was found during the renovations and put across the street.  Hugh had ordered one from Scotland but it never arrived. (wonder what the shipping was on that one) So Hugh went up the river and got some made granite from up the river and carved his own.


The McDonald and Brown Woollen mill, previously leased, was bought by the Bates and Innes company from H. Brown and Sons, and its machines were removed to other local mills.

John F. Cram and Sons bought over eight thousand muskrat pelts in one week from district trappers and collectors and sold them at their Mill Street tannery. To make way for the building of a new flour mill the John F. Cram tannery and wool plant was removed to Campbell Street at the corner of Lisgar ( which later became Hastie’s) after fourteen years of operation on Mill Street.


The Boulton Brown Family Home

Built in the 1820’s this house served as the mill owners home for over 150 years. If you look at it closely it was built on an angle. Any reason why?  Of course! They just didn’t want to see the mill across the street where their business went on.  If you look closely at the back yard the limestone structure basement door opens to a sunken area in the back. The empty parking lot next to Spartan Pizza was once there front yard. The second storey porch and kitchen wing were added in 1878. Bill Bagg once owned this house before he moved into the old blacksmith shop next to the Gillies Mill. He sold antiques out of his barn and I bought a tiffany style lamp from him.


Historical note from Howard Brown

Guaranteed Flour

The subscribers having leased the Carleton Mills for a term of years are prepared to do custom grinding on the shortest notice.  Flour, Bran, Hash, etc. for sale.  Wanted, a large quantity of Wheat, also Oats, Peas, Corn, etc., highest prices paid.  Orders delivered free of charge.  We guarantee our flour to give entire satisfaction.  Caldwell & Brown.  April 16, 1871.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  27 Jun 1952, Fri,  Page 28

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

4 responses »

  1. The home across the street from the mill was the childrenhood home of Roy Brown that shot down the Red Baron during the first World War. I worked there in the late sixties when it was a nursing home.


  2. Just as a point of interest, Hugh Boulton was the brother of my Great Great grandfather Issac Boulton, and uncle to my Great grandmother Caroline Boulton Voyce Thurlow
    We have a long history in Carleton Place


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