The Coutts House- Rideau Ferry Inn




The Coutts House was a summer hotel on the Rideau located at Oliver’s Ferry (now Rideau Ferry). The original house was built in 1853 by Archibald Campbell who married Elizabeth Buchanan, daughter of Rev. George Buchanan who was the pioneer Presbyterian Minister of Beckwith Township who ministered at Franktown. Archibald and Elizabeth’s daughter, Helen Buchanan Campbell, married John Coutts of Oliver’s Ferry in 1856. John was one of six children of Peter Coutts and Jean Geekie of Kettins, Angus, Scotland.




This family settled in Oliver’s Ferry in 1843. John Coutts and his wife Helen Buchanan Campbell moved into this house in 1870. This was the beginning of the Coutts House which grew into a fine summer hotel for folks seeking pleasant recreation and leisure time.  The first bridge at Oliver’s Ferry was built in 1871 replacing the Ferry. Anne Smith was the first Post Mistress there and in 1884 she had the name changed from Oliver’s Ferry to Rideau Centre and by 1909 it was called Rideau Ferry.


In the year 1893 an addition was built at the back of the original house. It consisted of three floors. The first floor was a large dining room and the second and third floors each had fifteen bedrooms and a bathroom, making a total of thirty bedrooms in the hotel. Barns and Stables were built at the back of the hotel. Later a well was drilled and a windmill erected so water could be forced into the kitchen for cooking and drinking, and pipes were laid from the lake and water was forced to the top story by a force pump.



Guests coming by train to Perth and Smiths Falls were met at the stations by the proprietor of the hotel, with a horse and buggy. John and Helen Coutts had a son Peter Coutts, born 1860, who moved into the Coutts House in 1898 and operated the business for seven years. For several years after, it  was rented to various people until 1947 when it was purchased by Mr. Wallace of Osgoode, torn down and replaced with a modern building of cinder block construction. This was widely known as the Rideau Ferry Inn, a favorite dancing spot for young people for many years until it was destroyed by fire in 1986. It was rebuilt and as of 2005 is now a restaurant-written by-Gary Darby

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.

2 responses »

  1. wonderful history about the Coutts House ! My Mom is daughter of George Archibald Coutts of Rideau Ferry and that was the original family house for them ! I recognize it now as rebuilt but wonder if there are any remnants of the old place?


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