Why am I documenting a planing mill? When I grew up as a child I lived next door to a lumber yard and down the street was the local sawmill. Some of my fondest memories are playing in that lumberyard and there is nothing like the smell of fresh cut wood.
Perth Courier, June 11, 1970
Perth Planing Mill
A few weeks ago, the Perth Planing Mill held its 120th anniversary celebration—this mill having begun operation in Perth when Alex Kippen founded the company in 1850. Mr. Kippen had attended school at Tayside in Scotland before coming to Perth in 1833. Between 1833 and 1850 he was the man responsible for the construction of the town hall at a cost of $10,000, the Bank of Montreal and many of the stately homes on Drummond Street.
The Planing Mill’s main function in those days was the manufacture of wood products mainly windows and doors. Custom lumber for farm work took up a large part of the business.
Alexander Kippen, son of Duncan Kippen, worked with the planning mill up to the time of his appointment as postmaster. It was then that the youngest son, also named Alex Kippen (and the father of Mrs. N.E. Sproule who still lives in Perth) took over the business.
When the youngest son of the founder ran the business he formed a partnership with William Allen who had a saw mill at the far end of Peter Street by the Tay River. The two worked together for some years with Mr. Allen shipping lumber up to the mill where Mr. Kippen and his 20 employees turned it into sashes and doors. Eventually, this partnership fell through and a few years later Peter Clement took over the mill. He ran it for a few years and then his son Bill Clement took over the operations.
25 years ago Bob McLenaghan began working part time at the mill. He used to deliver lumber by horse and cart. Soon Mr. McLenaghan went into partnership with Mr. Clement and later took over total operation of the planning mill.
There was only one serious and perhaps exciting moment in the long history of the mill. 20 years ago lightening struck the tall smokestack on Sunday afternoon. Fire was raging throughout the building when the doors were opened but the building was saved from any really serious damage by the fire fighters and others on hand.
Mrs. Sproule recollects her father checking the mill every evening for fire hazards. She said her father was very proud of the fact that they had no fires. Today the mill is still in the hands of Bob McLenaghan and his son John works at the mill as assistant manager. Mr. McLenaghan is proud of the fact that the Perth Planing Mill is the second oldest lumber yard in Ontario. The oldest is situated in southern Ontario.
Info below from the Perth Planning Mill Supply
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Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News