The Appleton General Store and Polly Parrot


appleton river

Mississippi River before the dam at Appleton

*NLRM 2012.19.3
Late 1800s – Early 1900s
Donated by Jim Lowry
Appleton general store-1940s Trish Stewart

Tom Arthur ran the General Store in Appleton for quite a long time. One year Tom and his wife took a trip to Ireland to trace their ancestors one year. Before returning home; they purchased a parrot which became a great attraction and pet with the numerous customers at the General Store. The language the bird used at times was “questionable”, and it was said by many that the bird had been taught by some wayward sailor.



Appleton store 2014

The picture taken below is by famed photographer  Malak Karsh. It portrays Mr. R. Lyons putting farm fresh eggs into a bag. In the picture are Mr. Lyon’s daughter Helen and Irene and Barbara Dunn being served by Mr. Lyons. Mr. Karsh came to Appleton after the war and spent a week filming the village. Lyons General Store in Appleton. —Elesnor Wright

You might be interested in the question of why the “country store” is pretty much extinct. Yes, Walmart’s ascent is a significant contributor, but also the Law of Unintended Consequences and EPA regulations played a major role.

EPA regulations from about 20 to 25 years ago mandated that store owners or gas distributors who owned underground gasoline storage tanks, replace said tanks and also have them tested for leaks and other costly mandates. Well, these country stores (that used to dot the landscape), didn’t sell enough gas to justify what would have been a major expense (at least $10,000 at the time if memory serves). The result: The tanks were simply pulled out of the ground and the stores quit selling gasoline. This significant change in business almost certainly contributed to their demise. (Did you notice they sold gas at the Appleton General Store? Check the 1940s photo carefully. Again this is why photos matter!)



Photo– Date:
Appleton, Town of Mississippi Mills, Ontario, Canada
North Lanark Regional Museum (2012.79.12.2)
Photographer: Malak Karsh
Donated by Eleanor Wright & Irene Dunn Thompson



Top Photo

NLRM 2012.19.3
Late 1800s – Early 1900s
Donated by Jim Lowry

Black and white photograph showing the Mississippi River at Appleton, Ontario. The woolen mill is featured on the left side of the photograph. The photo is from the late 19th century, early 20th century. The photo was definitely taken after 1880 when the three-storey addition was added to the woolen mill but before the construction of the dam in 1937.

The woolen mill was built in 1862 by Robert Teskey and was known as the Mississippi Woolen Mills until 1900 when it was taken over by Thomas Boyd Caldwell. In 1937, William Collie purchased the mill and petitioned to the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Corporation to have hydro brought to Appleton, Ontario. In 1937 a dam was built at Appleton to generate hydro-electricity.


 - FINE GENERAL STORE 35; In village of Appleton....

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  29 Oct 1949, Sat,  Page 35


Both top and bottom photo from the North Lanark Regional Museum

Middle Photo- Linda Seccaspina


647 River Road
Almonte, Ontario
(613) 257-8503

Photos from the North Lanark Regional Museum


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

7 responses »

  1. Linda, the only picture taken by Malak Karsh is the one with Mr. R. Lyons putting eggs into a bag. In the picture are Mr. Lyon’s daughter Helen and Irene and Barbara Dunn being served by Mr. Lyons. Mr. Karsh came to Appleton after the war and spent a week filming the village.

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