The McLaren Fire — 3,000,000 Feet of Lumber Destroyed

The McLaren Fire — 3,000,000 Feet of Lumber Destroyed





Clipped from

  1. Ottawa Daily Citizen,
  2. 28 May 1879, Wed,
  3. Page 1


 Found online–We purchased this photo about 30 years ago in an antique shop in Lanark, Ontario, north of Perth…at the time, we rented a cottage on Bennett’s Lake and spent most of our days looking for antiques and paper items… we are almost sure that this mill was near the Mississippi River — On the back it is written: “These are the guys”



Gillies McLaren Mill 1896 Carleton Place–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum




In 1871, John Gillies sold his original mill, and home, in Lanark Township to John and James Herron and in 1873 he sold his share in the Gillies-McLaren holdings on the Mississippi River and at Carleton Place to his partner Peter McLaren for $330,000, about $6,270,000 in modern value.

Gillies reinvested the proceeds with his sons, James, William, John Jr. and David, in timber limits along the Madawaska River and mills at Braeside. Peter McLaren continued to harvest the Mississippi River limits, expand improvements for driving logs, and produce lumber at the Carleton Place mill.

In 1879 McLaren suffered a serious setback when a huge fire destroyed over 13 million feet of sawn lumber in the northern part of his storage yards at Carleton Place. Fire engines and men rushed to Carleton Place, by road and rail, from Almonte, Arnprior, Brockville, Smiths Falls and Ottawa, to support hundreds of local citizens fighting to arrest the spread of the conflagration. But for the fact the fire broke out on a windless day, the entire town of Carleton Place would have been destroyed. Part of the firm’s loss was recovered from $50,000 ($1,200,00022) in insurance and another $100,000 ($2,400,00023) in damages was paid by the CPR (which had subsequently purchased the Canada Central) after five years of litigation. Canadian courts determined that the blaze had been kindled by sparks from a passing railway engine, but the CPR appealed and the matter was not settled until the Privy Council in London held the railway company liable.



The Continuing Saga of Christena McEwen Muirhead—The McLaren Mill

The Day Carleton Place was Nearly Wiped Out!

Clippings Of the McLaren Case The Scandal That Rocked Lanark County

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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