Campbell Woolen Mill Fire 1928

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Campbell Woolen Mill Fire 1928
Campbell Mill C1920 Almonte.com
James H. Wylie – leased the mill at Lot 20 Mill St Almonte and operated it as Elmsdale Flannel Mill (established in 1881) until he purchased the property in 1897. In 1887 at the Campbell Woolen Mill on Water St in Almonte, James Wylie installed a one set flannel mill in the building, added two more sets over the next two years, and operated it also under the name of the Elmsdale Flannel Mills. In 1897 Wylie purchased the mill on Lot 21 Mill St Almonte and operated it as the Golden Fleece Woolen Mill past 1910. __MVTM–https://mvtm.ca/biographies/

The worst fire that has occurred Almonte in many years broke out in the mill of the Campbell Woolen Company shortly before midnight on Monday evening. The mill was completely gutted, and Mr.. P. J. Campbell estimates his loss at $50,000, partly covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown.

It would seem to have started in a frame addition to the mill which was used for the storage of wood and coal. The blaze was first noticed by a young lady shortly before midnight. She immediately telephoned the alarm in. By that time, however, the fire had made considerable headway and the flames were shooting high into the air. It was just about 12 o ’clock when the siren awoke the sleeping town. The fire brigade was quickly on the scene but it was found it impossible to save the mill. By 3 a.m. the building was completely demolished.

The building was formerly owned by the Kirben Company, makers of furnaces. It was taken over about eleven years ago by Mr. P. J. Campbell who had for a number of years been operating asuccessful textile mill at. Blakeney. Mr. Campbell states that, he will not rebuild the Almonte factory. He has had offers from several towns to relocate and he is considering these. The loss of the Campbell mill to the Town of Almonte is a serious one. Although it had not been in very active operation of hue there were prospects of a busy season in the near future. The loss to the owners is also a serious one and the deepest sympathy is expressed for Mr. Campbell and his associates.

The former Campbell Woolen Mill building originally was built in 1872 as the Almonte Furniture Com­pany by Messrs. Kirby and Bennett and was known locally as the Kir­Ben Building. In September of 1876 The Almonte Furniture Factory had a large fire and the town wanted it to be rebuilt even if it was thought due to indifferent management and heavy loss the furniture factory would have to close down. The shares in the company were so low that shareholders were willing going to dispose them for 30 cents on the dollar- Read-The Sad Saga of The Almonte Furniture Factory

Darlene MacDonaldLocated at south east end if Water St. Next to C.P.R. tracksWhere Drynans was.Who knew❗🤔

Allan StanleyGrowing up my father’s house was the last one on Water Street before the Campbell Mill, where my Grandfather was a night watchman at one time. The mill burned down under mysterious circumstances after the owners lost “water rights” access to the Mississippi river. There was a lot of suspicion regarding the final fire… just some gossip perhaps that I had heard from elders when I was young.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Mar 1928, Mon  •  Page 13

The Campbell Mill almonte.com

Recently, Marjorie Campbell, a resident of Almonte, donated a painting of the Campbell Woolen Mill to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. The picture was painted at the request of Marjorie Campbell by Mr. D. R. Faire in 1979 from a photograph taken in the 1920’s. It was a gift for her husband Donald M. Campbell whose father had owned the mill. The picture had, hung in Mrs. Campbell’s living room for many hears, but she felt the picture and the story of the Campbell Mill should be hanging in the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum as a reminder of when Almonte was the center of Woolen manufacturing in Canada. The Campbell Mill was located at ‘the south-east end of Water Street, next to the C.P.R. tracks, where Brian Drynan now has his automo­tive repair shop. It was the only local mill that was located away from the Mississippi River, the source of power for all early mills. It was one of the earliest mills driven by steam power.

Our Heritage By Gerry Wheatley

Campbell Wollen Co.

The building originally was built in 1872 as the Almonte Furniture Com­pany by Messrs. Kirby and Bennett and was known locally as the Kir­Ben Building. The factory operated for many years, then had financial problems. In 1887, James H. Wylie, who owned other mills in Almonte, installed a one set flannel mill in the building, added two more sets over the next two years, and called it the Elmdale Flannel Mills. In March, 1919, Mr. P. J. Campbell of the Blakeney Woolen Company purchased the Kir-Ben building and started moving the looms and other machinery from Blakeney to the Kir­Ben building to produce flannels. In March, 1928, a Saturday fire heavily damaged the building. The Almonte Gazette. reported that “spontaneous combustion in the dryer room’ was suspected as the cause. “An alarm was I given and the fire brigade did effective work and succeeded in confining the blaze to one department.” The damage amounted to $12,000. Later in 1928, the picture of the Kir-Ben building was printed in The Almonte Gazette with the following report below it.“Campbell Woolen Company’s Mill at Almonte which was destroyed by fire in a Monday midnight conflagration. The loss is estimated by P. J. Campbell at $50,000, partially covered by in­surance.” The Campbell Woolen Mill ceased operations, the remainder of the building was demolished i and the Company was closed a few years later. I wondered whether there was any evidence left of the old Campbell Mill so I drove down Water Street to Brian Drynan’s Garage. Brian had found considerable evidence of the Campbell Mill while building his garage, house and other structures. The railroad siding to the Mill is still in place. He found stone foundation walls; a six inch cast iron pipe from the river to the Mill, thought to bring water from the river; and two large concrete slabs, one now serving as a base for propane tanks. And bricks’ lots of bricks. Brian remembers the bricks had markings on them and was told they were made in Almonte. He will try to find some of the old bricks for the museum. I am not aware of a brick factory in Almonte.

Unexpected Almonte
March 4, 2020  · 
This photograph of the Campbell Woolen Mill was taken in the 1920s (perhaps earlier). The mill was located at the south-east end of Water St., next to the CPR tracks. The mill burned in 1928.
This painting of the Campbell Woolen Mill by artist D. R. Faire in 1979 currently hangs in the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. Marjorie Campbell, a resident of Almonte, donated the painting to the Museum. It was originally a gift for her husband Donald M. Campbell whose father had owned the mill. The picture had hung in Mrs. Campbell’s living room for many years, but she felt it and the story of the Campbell Mill should hang in the Museum as a reminder of when Almonte was the centre of Woolen manufacturing in Canada.

The Campbell Mill was the only local mill that was located away from the Mississippi River, the source of power for all early mills. It was one of the earliest mills driven by steam.
FURTHER HISTORIC BACKGROUND / ANECDOTE:
Reported Gerry Wheatley, “The building originally was built in 1872 as the Almonte Furniture Com­pany by Messrs. Kirby and Bennett and was known locally as the Kir­Ben Building. The factory operated for many years, then had financial problems. In 1887, James H. Wylie, who owned other mills in Almonte, installed a one set flannel mill in the building, added two more sets over the next two years, and called it the Elmdale Flannel Mills.
“In March, 1919, Mr. P. J. Campbell of the Blakeney Woolen Company purchased the Kir-Ben building and started moving the looms and other machinery from Blakeney to the Kir­Ben building to produce flannels.
“In March, 1928, a Saturday fire heavily damaged the building. The Almonte Gazette reported that “spontaneous combustion in the dryer room” was suspected as the cause. “An alarm was given and the fire brigade did effective work and succeeded in confining the blaze to one department.” The damage amounted to $12,000.
“Later in 1928, the picture of the Kir-Ben building was printed in The Almonte Gazette with the following report below it: “Campbell Woolen Company’s Mill at Almonte was destroyed by fire in a Monday midnight conflagration. The loss is estimated by P. J. Campbell at $50,000, partially covered by in­surance.” The Campbell Woolen Mill ceased operations, the remainder of the building was demolished and the Company was closed a few years later.”
(source: rootsweb and painting at MVTM and mvtm.ca) #Almonte #ArtMatters

Listen to the noise..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)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpjqOD836y4

Related reading

The Sad Saga of The Almonte Furniture Factory

MIDNIGHT FIRE DESTROYS THE YORKSHIRE WOOL STOCK MILL 1923

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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