Folger was founded along the Kingston and Pembroke Railway —the Kick and Push Railway Trail. This railway was founded by the Kingston and Pembroke Iron Mining Company and came to Folger around the 1880’s. Wilbur and Robertsville to the south were founded on iron mining. Folger happened to have some of the best farming soil in the Lanark Highlands with 45 feet deep in clay and iron and so it was a logical place to start a village as well. Folger was another location named for promoters of the K & P. The Folgers were prominent Kingston businessmen who were engaged in shipping, banking, railroading and mining. B.W. Folger was for many years General Manager of the K & P.
This was a community which depended heavily on the railroad to support its lumber and mining interests. One local man recalls that “there was a dead end siding out there called Mopeville. Cars were known to run right off the end of the track at times, and they had a heck of a time getting them back on.”
The coming of the K & P enabled area men to go hunting further afield than before, for the northern part of the line was especially good for that purpose.
Today, only one elderly couple still live here. I got all the info. about the ghost settlement from them (Norman and Lillian Sweeney). The Sweeney’s settled here in 1960, 3 yrs prior to the railway lines being lifted, which forced Folger into ghosttownhood.
The village was founded in the 1880’s as a farming community. It grew to include a train station, a store, a sawmill, a post office, a school and homes. The mining company surveyed 70 lots from Lavant Station northward to Folger.
When the Sweeney’s moved here in 1960 the town was still in good stead. There were 6 families and the farms were still prospering. Hydro power had come in 1951. However, with the end of the trains running north of Snow Rd. in 1963 and with the lifting of the railway tracks in 1970 the hamlet went bust. It was once bragged that the village grew the highest corn stocks in all of Lanark County. There were also 50 or more head of cattle which grazed the open hilly fields. In 1960 the taxes were incredibly cheap. Would you believe for 200 acres the annual bill was only $9?
K&P Hiking Trail at the South Levant Road, former site of the K&P Levant train …
The Sweeney’s built their present home in 1975, which replaced their previous structure built in 1887. Here they raised their 9 kids. The kids went to school in Calabogie and elsewhere. A school bus did eventually come to Folger to pick up the kids way back in the bush in 1968. This didn’t last long, though apparently another bus came to pick up school kids in the 1990’s.
You would think playing sports would have been an impossibility considering the distances to larger communities. However, three of the Sweeney boys became pitchers for the Lavant baseball team. The local kids also used to dam up the Clyde River in the winter. It ran right through the village and so it offered the only spot to play hockey.
The road into Folger is amazingly well-plowed in the winter and has been for many years. The only snow issue occured during a huge storm in 1971.
For some extra income Lillian used to send homemade cans of cream to Toronto. Then when Coleman’s came to Carleton Place a truck was sent twice a week to pick up her cream cans. Norman worked the farm and also had stints with the army and Ontario Hydro. Norman served in WW2 in the Italian campaign against the Germans.
By the 1980’s the village was a full-fledged ghost town. Much of the former open fields had been slowly reclaimed by the forest. Today, in the Sweeney’s retirement they have the comfort of satellite tv and a phone line, which they finally got in 2007. Their Hummingbird feeders are often frequented by many of their tiny, feathered friends.
To get to Folger take the Kick and Push Trail northward from Lavant Station. When you see an abandoned brown home on the right (built circa 1930), across the creek, you are in downtown Folger.
The Kingston and Pembroke Railway (K & P) was a Canadian railway that operated in eastern Ontario. The railway was seen as a business opportunity by business people in Kingston, Pembroke, Montreal and New York. It would support the lumber (especially pine lumber which was in high demand across Canada and the United States) and mining industries, as well as the agricultural economy in eastern Ontario.
Incorporated in 1871, the K&P was intended to run from Kingston to Pembroke. By 1884, approximately 180 km of mainline and sidings had been laid, reaching Renfrew where it ceased after 12 years of construction. The K & P never did reach Pembroke. On January 1, 1913, the K & P Railroad officially became part of the CPR. The line was gradually abandoned beginning in the 1950s, with the last operating section from Kingston to Tichborne closing in 1986. The K & P is affectionately remembered as the Kick and Push railroad.