Tales of the C.P.R. in Carleton Place




Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum- one above  from the Edwards Collection.


In 1908 a gentlemen travelling from the west to Montreal was relieved of his wallet somewhere between Pembroke and Carleton Place. The wallet contained a sum of money, valuable papers and a draft for $5000.

When he reached Ottawa the theft was reported and one of the railroad’s finest Detective – Sergeant Cooke took up the case. Soon Cooke had apprehended two men that had been on that same train to Montreal. Evidence was difficult to obtain but eventually one man fessed up and admitted they had indeed taken the wallet, got off the train at Carleton Place and spent the night at the Queens.

victorian water

They had taken the cash and thrown the  wallet with the rest of its contents in the “water closet” in the rear of the telegraph Office. The snow and frost were severe, which made the search more difficult. Finally Detective Cooke with two assistants  made a final effort to open the now frozen outdoor water closet and after some hours found the wallet which was indeed intact, but alas, had no money.

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Historical Note

The first indoor bathrooms that were made possible by the refinement of the toilet were communal affairs shared by many people. Previously, water closets were portable, so a dedicated space for their use wasn’t necessary. More elaborate residences might have had a dedicated dressing room that contained a water closet, a moveable tin or iron bath, and a washstand, but this type of centralised “bathroom” didn’t become widespread until indoor plumbing and permanent water closets gained acceptance toward the end of the 19th century. Within a few short decades, the toilet became a permanent fixture as bathrooms proliferated and portable washstands and baths gave way to dedicated spaces. It didn’t take long for indoor plumbing to gain acceptance as a good idea, and by the 1920s, American building codes required indoor bathrooms in all new single-family residential construction.







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.

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