Fires in Carleton Place–James Gillies House


There have been many many fires in Carleton Place– especially when the oil  lamps burned bright. Today I was looking over a large list of Carleton Place fires that spanned from 1851 until 1987.

What was life like when candles and oil lamps were all we had to light our villages towns and cities with? Dangerous, definitely, but never dull. No one really knows whether we were born with an instinctive fear of the dark, or we acquired it gradually as a result of the myriad awful dangers like fire that emerged after night fell. As a rough estimate, one 60-watt electric bulb generates the light of approximately 100 candles.



Carleton Place Ocean Wave Dept on Bridge Street 1895- Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Valerie Edwards also sent me a story about the Edwards Grocery  Store fire in 1905 which is also up today.

When you drive down Beckwith Street and see the empty spots, it is a reminder of the 1910 fire. The park in back of the library once held this stately home belonging to the Gillies family and today we remember it and the Zion Church, Drill Shed, St. Andrew’s Manse, and the list goes on.



James Gillies (1840-1909) home built in 1884 and sat on the corner of Franklin and Judson and destroyed by fire in the fire of 1911.  The house was valued at $20,000. This was what was left after the fire.  



Photo from The Ottawa Journal, 21 May 1910, SatPage 12



Wendy LeBlanc–
This fabulous home was destroyed in the 1910 fire that covered a good portion of its neighbourhood including the old Zion Church at the corner of Beckwith and Albert.
When we first came across this photo on the Museum, we were certain it wasn’t a CP home. Some follow-up sleuthing through the National Archives gave us the info we needed.
A couple of interesting facts … the home was only 25 years olb when it burned. Mrs. Gillies who was by then a widow donated the land to the town to be used in perpetuity as a public space. I remember tennis courts there ( the south-west corner of Franklin and Judson corner) when I was a kid.
By the way, Mrs. Gillies’ generous donation preceded the much-lauded similar donation of the Stewart family (Stewart Park) in Perth.

RELATED READING- Carleton Place Fires

The Howard Little- Olympia Fire on Bridge Street

Food Fit For Olympians in Carleton Place

The Moffat Street Fire in Carleton Place– Archie Hudson

In the Year 1923 —- “BHM”– (Before Howard McNeely)

Tales From the Maguire Block in Carleton Place

The Almonte Fire of 1909

Do You Know What This Building Used to Look Like in Carleton Place?

The Rencraft Fire Dept Photo Brings Back a Familiar Name

The Edwards Grocery Fire

Scotch Corners Union S.S. #10 School Fire

Who You Gonna Call? The Fire Boxes of Carleton Place

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?

Fire, Could End All You’ve Become — Photos of those that Protect Carleton Place

Burning Down the House in Carleton Place

When The Streets of Carleton Place Ran Thick With the Blood of Terror!- Volume 1- Part 2

Carleton Place Main Street Fire — Okilman’s

The “Chosen Friends” of Carleton Place –The Fire of 1904

Trying to Straighten Out the Moffat Street Fire in Carleton Place–Archie Hudson? Harold Fischer?

Burnin’ Old Memories –The Mississippi Hotel Fire

Fire Drills, Loud Bells and a Whole Lot of Noise — Learning How Not to Burn in School

The Carleton Place Library Fire

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.

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