I am not going to bore you with the historical facts about the Dunlop and Kenny family in Carleton Place. I am just going to say it goes way back to John Dunlop in 1828 and continued down the line with Olympian Clayton Kenny who made Carleton Place proud. If you have been reading my blogs, both families have lived in Carleton Place longer than a huge group of us put together. They might not have fought the Red Baron like Roy Brown did– but they all supported and lived in our town for years. Last Saturday the Kennys sold the Adam Dunlop house at auction. I cannot imagine how hard it was for a family to sell something that has been in their family for years. Sure, I have heard some of of the negative opinions made by some, but in this day and age life has to go on, even if you are willing or unwilling.
Many years ago the farmland was sold in an almost overnight agreement to the Town of Carleton Place for our Industrial Park. Frank Rolph was looking for a place for Rolark Cheque Services, and then Mayor Howard McNeely, “aimed to please” Rolph. McNeely asked Rolph point blank where he wanted to situate his business. Frank Rolph took one look at the map and pointed to the location where The Brick Furniture store currently sits. The story goes that Percy and Anna Dunlop were quickly solicited to sell their farmland at the rear of Townline East, and the completed sale took less than 48 hours. The family has said that in turn they were promised to have that sold land named “Dunlop Industrial Park”. Town officials beg to differ, and through the years there have been many mentions of the proposed name, but nothing came out of it. So who gave the Dunlops hope that there might be a name change?
Anna and Percy Dunlop sold their former farmland to the town, got paid, received a nice photo, and a firm handshake on the deal. It became the talk of the family for years about the disappointment they felt about the whole ordeal. Bill and John said that their Grandmother, Helene Anna Kenny, had made notes and wrote names on that photo so the family would remember what happened. When they were going through things in anticipation of the house sale Bill and John Kenny found the notes and photo, and the family decided they should pursue the matter with the town of Carleton Place one last time.
Wally Cook, who was on the Carleton Place Industrial Commission at that time as a council rep, was one of the key players in the Dunlop sale. Today, he told me what he remembered. Cook said he had never heard of a proposed name change agreement for the Industrial Park. “The sale of the lower Dunlop property occurred almost overnight when Howard McNeely was mayor in 1964” he said. Wally also told me he had heard “the same town talk” as I had about the name of the Industrial Park possibly being renamed the “McNeely-Dunlop Industrial Park”. But, nothing ever came out of it. Wally also wants to make it perfectly clear to everyone that the sale went through flawlessly and quickly because the Dunlops were great supporters of the community. They knew how important the Industrial Park was for the town of Carleton Place.
So what legal leg has the Kenny family got to stand on? Not much if you consider all they have are: personal notes, years of family conversation, and a single photo. In all fairness, a street called Dunlop Cres., was named after the family, but I understand where the family is at now. Their father Clayton Kenny is gone, the family home has been sold, they need closure–and we as town need to do what is right and honour what transpired many years ago.
Volundur Wally Thorbjornsson and Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn responded to my initial plea and Jerry brought it before council last night. He got the inquiry delayed so we can gather facts. Meanwhile Bill Kenny is still searching for the legal papers he has long been told about. So what do we do now? I think we need to look to our hearts now, and we as a town should honour the family’s wishes. This whole thing needs to made right,
I understand there are many streets in town with the names of the Founding Fathers, served in local government, or those who would go on to become historically significant for some other reason. From landowners to Founding Fathers, the town’s streets have been named, and renamed, honoring their contributions to our town. The core unit which determines the strength of any society, especially our town, is the family–therefore our council should foster and protect its integrity. Let’s do what is right and honour that handshake of years gone by, by renaming our industrial park after the Dunlop family.
Thanks to Wally Cook for his time and information
The Town of Carleton Place Town Council adopted By-law No. 14-64 on August 13, 1964 which purchased the noted land for future industrial purposes.