The Pakenham Bridge is Falling Down 1873

The Pakenham Bridge is Falling Down 1873

The new stone bridge was built in 1901-to replace a rickety old wooden structure.  The old bridge was so unsafe that it was illegal to cross at a faster pace than a walk. 

Editor Almonte Gazette: —  April 11, 1873


At last our bridge is covered, and such a covering. It reminds me of the Old Scot’s experience o f Canada’s roads, when he exclaimed, “Roads— ‘McAdam’ fear and tremble, of infernal corduroy.” Of all the coverings ever put on a bridge surely that at Pakenham village is the most villainously rough and rotten. Our Council must surely be demented if they will take the work off the contractor’s hands in present state. 

Small, hollow, intricately twisted cedars, a third at least of which are specific to cover the smallest country culvert, are made to do duty on this bridge, over which, on an average, lor six months of the year, 80 or 100 tons of lumber or other traffic may be expected to pass daily. 

Any man, who knows anything about such matters must, on examination, pronounce it a most unsafe and faulty covering, and a most expensive one too, as it could have been covered with three inch pine for a little more than half the money. 

Our municipal body were so fearful of failing in their re-election  that they would not ask for tenders last September when people could have made arrangements to take out the necessary logs for such a purpose. Tenders were asked for in February for either plank or cedar, when it was well known that no such length of plank could be procured on such short notice. 

Patties desirous of tendering could not do so, as there were no plans or specifications prepared, and the chosen five could not even tell the length and width of the bridge. One tender was sent in at the time specified, and on being opened was rejected, and a party was urged by the Council to put in a tender after the opening of the other—surely an unwarrantably irregular proceeding, to put it in its mildest shape. 

Parties desirous of proving the truth of my assertions had better take a walk over the bridge, if not afraid of breaking through the rotten cedars or dropping through the crevices Pakenham, April 10th, 1873.

The bridge was built in 1901 by O’Toole & Keating, Scottish masons from Ottawa, for a cost of $14,500. The stones, the largest of which weighs 5 tons, came from a local quarry. As a result of local pressure to preserve it, the bridge was never replaced with a newer one and restored in 1984. At that time, the bridge was also strengthened with reinforced concrete to accommodate car and truck traffic.

During the Great Famine (Black ’47), Irish families were sent from Grosse Isle, Quebec to Montreal and then on to local communities in Upper Canada which were either on a canal system or where industrialization was taking place and jobs were opening up. 

photo archives lanark

In Pakenham, Ontario there was an already established Irish community to assist the new arrivals to integrate into life in Canada. Some of the famine emigrants stayed here in Pakenham and others moved westward into Renfrew County.  Here are names of two families who came from Montreal to Pakenham between 1845 and 1847:

Patrick Maggidan (Madigan) and family

James Brady (three adults)  

What Happened to Lena May Connery of Pakenham? Connery Melanson Genealogy

The Bi Way Tour Margie Argue- Pakenham #1 and #2

The Bi Way Tour Margie Argue- Pakenham #3 and #4–Maps

Ingram Scott Pakenham

Prominent Merchant of Pakenham Expired After Opening Up For The Day

Clippings of Scott’s General Store

R Scott & Son Pakenham Gents Furnishing Dept.

Pakenham 1953

Photos of Early Pakenham

Needham Notations Pakenham Genealogy

The Pakenham Brush Fire of July 1939

The Pakenham Fire of June 1939 –Names Names Names

Mayne Store–Memories of the Pakenham Fire 1940

  1. The Pakenham Fire of 1940
  2. July 8, 1940 Fire at the Mayne Store Pakenham
  3. Dickson Hall Fire Pakenham-H. H. Dickson
  4. Fire at Pakenham Woollen Factory with Town Directory

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s