Realizing How High the Mississippi River once Roared




Photo kindly shared by the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


The Mississippi river used to be a lot higher in years gone by. It was once a very important part of the Mississippi River system. There were the lumbering days of the 1800s, the steamboats carrying freight and running regular pleasure trips. At one time there were plans to build locks at Ferguson Falls and Innisville, but that dream never materialized.


Remember that the McArthur Mill did not have a basement for a long time as they used this same river to wash the wool directly in the water that flowed under the mill. Did you know at one point over 3000 finished yards of fabric came out of the mill a week?




I have written a few times about the river flowing next to the Gillies Mill. At one point they made a man made channel for the river to follow right up against the building and by Bill Bagg’s which was the Blacksmith’s shop.(had not been built in 1879 when this illustration was done)


There were originally three bridges as you can read here. But, it wasn’t until I saw this picture this week that I fully realize how mighty the Mississippi River once roared.




Same view as illustration and you can see how out of whack the sizing is in the illustration:)


Related reading

Take Me Where the Mississippi River Once Flowed– The Hidden Mill River

Channeling John Gillies

The River Dance of the McArthur Mill 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.

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