Gold in Dem Dar Hills of Lanark


Lanark County is said to have as great a variety of minerals as can be found anywhere in the same area. Galena has been mined at Carleton and near Lanark, Quite an excitement was caused by gold being found in the streets of Lanark, and rubies and amethysts were found in Burgess 1879. Donald Sherwin from  FRIENDS of the TAY WATERSHED  is of the opinion that most known mineral deposits in the Lanark County portion of the Tay Valley Watershed have either been depleted in historic times, or are too small and uneconomic to be considered for future mineral exploitation.


The Perth Courier 1880—-Mr. Boyd Caldwell along with his sons William and Thomas commenced two weeks ago on January 5, 1880 to open up an iron mine on the property in the Township of Lavant, and he has taken out over 200 tons of ore already with four men. The ore has been analysed by Prof. Chapman, and according to his return yields 64 per cent, of metallic iron, and contains none of the deleterious substances, such as phosphoric and Titania acids and sulphur.

It contains about five per cent, of lime, which we understand is of benefit in smelting. The deposit is very extensive, 30 feet in width, and as far as at present known about 300 yards in length the openings having been made nearly the’ whole length (300 yards). Mr. Caldwell intends sending a sample to Pittsburgh, Pa., in the Spring to be smelted. Whither be intends after fully testing it to put up furnaces to smelt the ore. or to ship to the States, as has been done with other ores mined in Eastern Ontario, we know not.

Wilbur Mine screen res.jpg

Photo from Rideau Township Historical Society

This ore being so free from impurities it might pay to smelt it on the spot, as we believe there is abundance of timber in the neighborhood tor charcoal purposes.

Mr. Caldwell some years ago (when the gold fever broke out in Madoc) told me of the veins of quartz near the village of Lanark, and they contained according to Dr. Girdwood’s analysis, seventeen dollars worth of gold to the ton. Why are these veins not worked, when less than half of seventeen dollars of gold to the ton of reek will, and in many cases is made to pay handsome dividends ?


Photo from–Derek DavidsonMadoc and Local Area History

Travel back in time almost 150 years to relive Ontario’s Highlands very own gold rush! In 1866, local division courthouse clerk, Marcus Powell, stumbled upon a cave twelve feet long, six feet high, and six feet wide on the property of John Richardson, just north of Madoc. What he found inside is best described in his own words: “The gold was found… in the form of leaves and nuggets, and in the roof it ran through a foot thickness like knife blades. The largest nugget was about the size of a butternut.”

This discovery set off a gold rush the likes of which Canada wouldn’t see again until gold was discovered in the Klondike, thirty years later.-Eldorado Experience


Kim Woodside

Eldorado experience is permanently closed and has been since 2018. Thank you to those who visited. Kim Woodside


Eldorado Experience Facebook page

Today, you can go for a personal guided tour of the historic Richardson property with owner, Kim Woodside. Visit the discovery site, the remains of the ore processing mill, the streets of the original town of Eldorado, and several other historic points of interest. While you’re there, don’t forget to browse the giftshop your very own piece of ore from the Richardson mine, and try your hand at gold panning!
This wonderful 100 acre healing property is home to the Richardson Gold Mine, the Eldorado Copper Mine, the Eldorado Gold and Silver Reduction Company and the Phoenix Gold Mining Company.–Location: 5 McCann crescent, Eldorado


After working them for about a year, the Boyds leased a portion to the Bethlehem Iron and Manufacturing Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who carried out the bulk of the mining. The vein was considered to be of the very best magnetic ore. It varied in width from 10 to 30 feet and was assayed by a Professor Chapman at 65 per cent metallic iron. In addition to mines, the Caldwells also operated a steam sawmill, that provided employment to 50 men.

The Wilbur mine operated until 1911. Since almost everyone in town worked for the mine, the community was abandoned after the mine shut down. The post office closed in 1913 and recent floods have obliterated almost all traces of the community. However, if you travel along the old KPR rail bed, you’ll find signs of Wilbur coming back to haunt you. The railway station sign, a building thought to be the rail station and a humorous sign post announcing your arrival in Wilbur still remain.

Related reading

Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln

The Early Days of Working in the Ramsay Mine — Going Down Down Down

A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Where Were the Miracle Salt Springs in Pakenham? I Love a Challenge!

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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