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.
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.
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