The Aftermath of the Lanark Fire June 1959


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The Ottawa Journal16 Jun 1959, TuePage 5


On June 18th of 1959 the fire inspectors conceded that the cause of the fire in Lanark Village on the 15th of June of that same year might be never known. A few days later a family by family survey by the Ontario government was determining the losses of the 3.5 hour fire.

Aid for the stricken village was pouring in by the 18th of June 1959 and the Lanark disaster relief fund had reached $11,152.00. Workers were continuing to clear up the mess left by the fire and families were staying at the local Odd Fellows Hall. There were tales from people who had lost everything, but all were confident that all would turn out well. The Canadian Red Cross had set up in the hall and nobody knew exactly where the food was coming in to feed these folks, but it kept pouring in since the night of the fire.

Ontario planning minister Nickle who visited the devastated village said even the artillery damage he saw during World War 1 did not compare to the destruction of the fire. Fire Marshall M. S. Hurst said the cause of the fire that began in the Campbell Sash and Door Mill was unlikely to be ever determined. In July of 1959 however, it was said that wooden shingled roofs and tar paper was the chief culprit along with combustibles where the fire began at the sash and door Mill.

Fire Chief Del Storie who was taken to the Perth Hospital exhausted from fighting the blaze was already back in Lanark helping to clean up the debris. His barber shop and pool hall was in line of destruction when the fire was halted and some how escaped from scorching.

Mrs. James Perry was also taken to the hospital after collapsing after the fire but was beginning to be on the mend. Even the Lanark Era which was one of a half dozen businesses to survive came out on schedule, but only half the normal size. Editor Erroll Mason was optimistic the paper could survive even though his advertising revenue was all but wiped out. Mason predicted the village of Lanark would have some modern businesses section within the year.

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The Ottawa Journal11 Dec 1959, FriPage 27

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The Ottawa Journal11 Dec 1959, Fri,

In December 0f 1959 13 new homes had been built on George Street and the population of 880 was only down a mere 45 people. Mr. Dowdall was rebuilding his sash and door company and Don Drysdale had set up his clothing and dry goods store in temporary headquarters. Walter Machan had his new barber shop but still missed the trees that had gone up in flames knowing he would never see any new trees full grown in his lifetime. A new town hall was being planned and 59 relief cheques had been distributed.

Mr. Paul said the fire had been hardly extinguished and the townspeople were talking about building a new Lanark and hopefully would the fire would become just a  memory.

The Lanark Fire of 1895

Lanark Fire 1959– Hour by Hour

The Lanark Fire June 15th 1959

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun



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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