Unexpected Almonte
November 21, 2019  · 

This is a “general view of Almonte textile mills.”
From left to right, the mills include the Almonte Knitting Co., Rosamond Mill No. 2 (left of the tall building), Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill (tall building), J. M. Haskins’ Cataract Grist and Flouring Mills (foreground), and the 1858 timber slide on the right, used for moving timber from the upper level of the Mississippi River to “The Bay”.
Photo from the book, Lanark Legacy, no specific date given for this photo, but would be sometime circa 1863 (when Haskins had a grist mill) #Almonte #MillHeritage

During those years Almonte was known to travelers on the trains as The Woolen Town, because the Rosamond Woolen Company, the Old Red Knitting Company, the Penman Woolen Mill, Campbell’s Woolen Mill, the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill and Wm. Thoburn’s Woolen Mills all made the flat metallic clacking of the looms as familiar a sound of Almonte as the whistle of the CPR steam locomotive. (from roots.org)



The buildings of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Company on Mill street were gutted in a fire which raged in the early hours of Tuesday morning in 1923. It was the most serious fire which has occurred in Almonte for many years. It had not been the first fire for the mill as it also had a fire in 1919 a few months after opening.The loss is probably about $ 200,0 0 0, partly covered by insurance. It is understood that over $ 100,000 worth of new machinery had been installed during the past fifteen months and further expansion was contemplated The Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill is owned by Julius Cohen.and Joseph with headquarters at Bradford, England, and branches in the United States.

Dr. A. Metcalfe, who lives across the river directly opposite the mill, rang the alarm a t 12.25 a.m. and immediately the fire bell started ringing. In quick time Mr. Hugh Martin and the fire brigade had the engines out, and were assisted by hoses from the adjacent garages and Penmans Limited. The flames were soon burning fiercely and the gravest anxiety prevailed as to the safety of the nearby buildings.

While the favourable elements contribute to this result, the work. of the local fire brigade cannot be too warmly commended. The new gasoline fire engine which the town council had the enterprise to purchase last year did splendid work, while the old steam engine broke down under the strain, Hour after hour  the new engine kept up a steady pressure of 125 pounds, at times forcing water from the river to a height of over 60 feet.

There were twenty-two men employed in the mill. Mr. N. H. Nicholson. is the local manager and Mr. John Blakeley, the mill superintendent.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Sep 1919, Tue  •  Page 8– first fire in 1919

The disastrous fire which destroyed the Yorkshire Wool Stock – Mill on Tuesday of last week, was not entirely quenched until Monday morning of this week. During the five days it smouldered, the conflagration broke out anew several times and there was danger with the heavy winds that prevailed at times that the disaster might assume larger proportions than it did. The municipal fire fighting equipment was withdrawn in the morning following the fire. Since that time the quenching of it was left to the Penmans.

Mr. N. H. Nicholson the local manager of the Wool Stock mills says: “We had great difficulty in fighting the fire after the municipal motor pump was taken away, and although several times we asked for protection we did n o t get it, and we had to rely on Penmans for putting out the fire. “Several times the conflagration broke out again*, and  there was grave danger of it spreading. We had finally to go to Penmans for protection and they took care of the subsequent conflagrations. We are grateful to Penmans for their assistance during the fire, particularly to Mr. B. K. Gunn, the manager, and Mr. M. N. Playfair, their engineer. “The town of Almonte is apparently a t the mercy of Penmans. Surely it is the duty of the town to take care of its fires instead of Penmans.”

–Penmans Mill Street– almonte.com

 Today the Gazette asked Mayor Thoburn if he had any statement to make regarding the foregoing and he replied that he might have something  to say later. It is not yet known if the Yorkshire Wool Stock Company will rebuild its property in Almonte, but  there is no doubt it will be a serious loss to the town if it moves elsewhere. It is understood that the company has received offers from many towns of good sites and good privileges to move the plant to these places. If the plant is taken away it will mean loss of work to about thirty people, affecting about one hundred and fifty persons.Mr. Nicholson states at a special meeting of the town council was to be called to consider the matter, but he has not heard that anything has been done. ” It is up to the people of Almonte to consider whether they wish to keep the town alive, by offering reasonable privileges to commercial enterprises to stay in the district, or whether they would rather see Almonte as one of the has beens.”

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Sep 1923, Tue  •  Page 1

So what happened to the company? A few weeks later this appeared in the Gazette

The property of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill which was gutted by fire some weeks ago, has been sold, and the English company which owned it will leave Almonte. The purchasers are a company headed by Mr. P. J. Campbell, of the Campbell Woolen Company. The purchase price h;is not been stated, but the new company is capitalized at 100,000. This is the result of negotiations which have been under way for the past three weeks and only awaited the arrival of the principals of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill from England to complete.

Campbell and his business associates will make another change. It is no secret that he had intended to run for Mayor at the coming election. The Gazette asked him about this also, anti his reply was: “I had intended to run for Mayor, but I guess I can do more for the people of Almonte down at the mill than I can as mayor, meanwhile at any rate. I hope we have a good council next year.”

Related reading

Collie Mill Fire Almonte October 1, 1965

The Abandoned Appleton Mill

Almonte Fire 1903

1906 — Business Block is a Smouldering Block of Ruins– More Fires of Almonte

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

The Almonte Fire of 1909

The Almonte Fire 1909– Bank Manager Badly Injured

lmonte Fire of Nolan’s and Wylie’s Stable

The Almonte Fire 1955– Almonte United Church

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

Miss Eva Denault- Almonte 1911 Fire Heroine

Remember The Almonte Fire Truck Company?

Things About Bill Lowry 1998

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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