A few months ago I wrote about our local brickyards and the clay pits of Carleton Place. The clay pits were situated where I put the No Alligators sign under Ralph Shaw’s sign at the Arklan School 4 corners. The Godfrey brickyards were located just about where Shopper’s Drugmart is located now. About 300,000 red soft bricks were made in the brick season which lasted 4 months. It was owned by Taylor, Willoughby and Burgess before being purchased in 1914 by Thomas Godfrey.
The Godfrey’s lived down the street at 284 Lake Ave East and Thomas Godfrey’s son, Charlie, used to visit his father’s plant almost on a daily basis. He was assigned chores, but he used to love to watch the men working in the clay pits removing clay with picks and shovels. The back breaking work never stopped and then the employees would have to load it all up on flat beds that were later hauled to the brickyards by horse.
After the bricks were formed and dried for two weeks they would fire up the kiln and once that fire was lit it would not go out until the bricks were brunt to their proper colour. The glow of the fire was said to be seen for miles at night as work at the brickyard was in shifts but open 24 hours a day.
Most of the bricks were sold locally and some of Carleton Place’s finest homes in their days were constructed out of our local brick. Architecture begins when you put two bricks together and Findlay’s Foundry and the original Carleton Place High School also had their beginning at our local brick yard. Next time you pass by a brick home in Carleton Place, think of the work it took just to make one lone red brick.
“Ow, it’s a brick house
Well put-together, everybody knows
This is how the story goes”
With files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Thrilled to get this comment from Ken Godfrey
Hi Linda, I remember this brick house well, as it was my home from about 1953 to 1969. It was built by my grandfather, Thomas Godfrey, and he and his wife, Laura McLachlan, lived in it most of their lives! The main floor joists are in fact cedar logs, and I recall peeling some of the bark from them as a kid. Great memories, and thanks for your story.
Original sign hanging in the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
New sign I had put up thanks to Ralph Shaw and 53 Colours on the lake Ave east four corners