Category Archives: carleton place and beckwith heritage museum

Carleton Place Wins Prizes for their Wool!



Perth Courier, Sept. 17, 1880


Mr. W. H. Wylie, Carleton Place, received a special prize at the Toronto Exposition for the woolen shawls made at his factory. Messrs Boyd Caldwell and Son, Lanark, took first prize for Canadian Scotch tweed, and first prize for Cashmere at the Exposition.

Prizes for Woolen Goods—Among those manufacturers in Lanark County who carried off prizes at the Toronto Exposition now being held are:  Gold medal, for the Woolen Company at Almonte; and also Messrs Boyd Caldwell and Son, Lanark; and Mr. William H. Wylie of Carleton Place.


Historical Notes on Carleton Place Woolen Mills- from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and The Perth Courier–Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

Perth Courier, November 19, 1880

Mr. James Gillies, purchaser of the Code Woolen Factory, Carleton Place, was in town on Monday.

Perth Courier, August 5, 1881

Retiring—We are sorry to learn that ill health has compelled Mr. James Gillies of the Carleton Place Woolen Mills (Code’s) and the Braeside Saw Mill, to retire from business until has system recuperates. He offers his woolen factory for sale.

1900 – To supply serge for British army uniforms the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills.

1903 – The Gillies and Hawthorne woollen mills – recently working on overtime hours with 192 employees, after six years of improvements under the ownership of Canada Woollen Mills Limited – were closed.  The reason was stated to be loss of Canadian markets to British exporters of tweeds and worsteds.  The company went into bankruptcy.

1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill as a knitting mill.  A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

1909 – Bates & Innes knitting mill, after making waterpower improvements, began running night and day with about 150 employees.  The Hawthorne knitting mill was closed by reason of financial difficulties, and its operating company was reorganized as the Carleton Knitting Co. Ltd.



Ring Those Bells in Carleton Place– Wylie’s Woolen Mill


“Carleton Place July 31, 1885 from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

W.H. Wylie’s steam yacht “The Ripple”

(43′ keel, 10′ beam)

at Hawthore Woolen Mill, then operated

by W.H. Wylie.


Possibly W.H. Wylie sitting on fore rail.

On Fore Rail – A.R.G. Peden (Town Clerk)

Left on upper deck: Jim Burnie


Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

They Tried to Make Me go to Rehab

They Tried to Make Me go to Rehab

I found this ad the other day in an old Carleton Place newspaper from 1911 in the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum archives and wondered if it was an ad for what I thought it was. Good gracious Miss Molly it was! People did go to rehab.. well of some sorts!  Father Nugent guaranteed three days to cure you! Hail Mary!



The Neil Institute

Tucked in between the Dominion Chalmers United Church and a garage, is an unassuming, two storey home located at 373 Cooper Street. For a brief time, starting in 1910, it housed the The Neil Institute a rehab centre for the Capital’s “respectable” alcoholics.

In his book, “Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in American”, William L. White notes that “business-oriented addiction cures” like those offered by the Neil Institute, became so popular in the late 19th century, “that they developed into what today would be called ‘chains’ or ‘franchises.’

The Neil Institute had eight franchises in Canada including the one in Ottawa. Like it’s main competitor, the well respected Keeley Institute, the Cooper Street location was either owned by a private citizen or some investment group. The head office in Des Moines, Iowa charged owners a one-time fee and collected a percentage of fees billed to patients. It also made money on the sale of it’s three day vegetable medicine.

A High-Class Hotel For Ottawa’s Alcoholics

The Neil Institute was a comfy, cozy kind of a place. An ad that ran in The Ottawa Journal on March 23, 1912 features four large photographs of the interior of 373 Cooper Street with the following comments:

Throughout its twenty-two rooms, the Neal Institute is furnished in the most modern manner. It’s decorations and quietness suggest home. Its service suggests a high-class hotel or club.

Today, looking at this house from the outside, it’s hard to imagine it having 22 private rooms. The advertisements suggested that these rooms were quite large, each equipped with a bed and large dresser with mirror.

In keeping with it’s theme of a “high-class hotel”, the Neal Institute also offered meals tailored to the tastes of individual clients, as well as physicians and male nurses around the clock.

Kick Your “Drink Habit” In Only Three Days!

The Ottawa branch of the Neil Institute boldly proclaimed that anyone could kick their “drink habit” in only three days! The claim was made even more remarkable by the fact that a signed contract was handed to each incoming patient guaranteeing a cure! In the highly unlikely event that a patient didn’t kick the drink habit, E.L. Plumber, the manager of the Institute on Cooper Street, would refund their money.

The Neal ads suggested that treatment was so painless and quick, a businessman could slip away from his office for three days without his absence hardly being noticed!

A Painless Cure

The Neil Institute was fond of emphasizing in their ads that patient’s were not required to inject medicine. One such ad, appearing in The Ottawa Evening Journal on March 23, 1912 stated:

Instead of the use of some metal which is daily injected into the blood of the patient and gradually acts on the tissue cells in such manner as to take the place of the hardening action of alchohol, and too often leaves the patient a wreck, there is employed a substance which directly neutralizes the immediate effect of alcohol, and so in the short period of three days the mucous membrane of the stomach is practically renovated…

Back in the day, any doctor or keen observer reading such an ad, knew this to be a swipe at their main competitor, The Keeley Institute. Patients checking into one of those facilities were subjected to daily injections of a controversial, but popular remedy called the “Double Chloride of Gold”.

Many Painstaking Years Spent Concocting 3 Day Cure For Alcoholism

So, what did Ottawa’s “high class” alcoholics get for what must have been a costly miracle cure? Vegetables.

In 1910, the Boston Evening Transcript revealed that Dr. Benjamin Neal, had spent many “painstaking” years concocting his own “purely vegetable medicine taken only internally…”

It goes on to report that Dr. Neal’s research demonstrated “that the drink habit, instead of being a disease or an inherited affliction, is due to the stored-up poison in the system, coming from the continued and excessive use of alcohol.”

Dr. Neal’s former employer, the Gatlin Institute of Colorado, launched a law suit on September 11, 1910, claiming the three day cure for the “alcohol habit” was stolen from their labs. It sought $100,000 in damages and an injunction preventing the further treatment of patients.

The outcome of this law suit is unknown, but the Neil Institute was still placing ads in major U.S. publications like The Rotatian in 1914 and the outfit at 373 Cooper Street was still in business in 1916.

Think Twice Before Lifting A Glass To Your Lips – Run up to 373 Cooper Street

It was probably not the vegetable concoctions being doled out at 373 Cooper Street that “cured” the alcoholic, but the twin forces of positive and adverse conditioning.

Ads, like the one seen below, admonished the alcoholic to “think twice” about taking a drink.

From an ad in Ottawa Evening Journal, March 23, 1912

Likewise, positive conditioning could be found in the cozy atmosphere of 373 Coopers Street, the camaraderie of fellow addicts and even the doctors who were, in some regards, counselors.

Was the Neal Institute a success? It’s difficult to say. It had a presence in Ottawa for at least six years and possibly longer, but disappeared as early as 1921 when John G. McGuire and his wife Kathleen operated 373 Cooper Street as a rooming house.

July 23, 2014—Categories Architecture–Forgotten Ottawa

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Mar 1913, Thu  •  Page 13
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Oct 1911, Thu  •  Page 11
373 Copper Street Otawa Now

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Mar 1913, Wed  •  Page 5

Related reading

The Lost Brading’s Brewery Railway Tunnel

Life in The House of Industry

Canned Heat — On the Road Again– to Poison Booze 1920s

Are You Sure that Isn’t Fusel Oil?

Did You Know Where Happy Valley was in Carleton Place?

Not Happy in Happy Valley? Head up to the French Line for some Sweet Marie

Is This Carleton Place Bylaw still in Effect?


Believe it or not these laws are still in effect..

Bingo games cannot last more than 5 hours (North Carolina)

If you cut down a cactus, you could be sentenced to 25 years in prison (Arizona)

It’s illegal to sell your eyeballs (Texas)

It’s against the law to sing off-key (North Carolina)

You may not sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday (Rhode Island)

You are not allowed to eat fried chicken any other way than using your hands (Gainesville, Georgia)

Red cars may not drive down Lake Street (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

You may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without an official permit (Wyoming)

It’s illegal to attend a public event or use public transport within 4 hours of eating an onions or garlic (Indiana)


View from the roof of a building on the north shore of the Mississippi River, c. 1920

The town of Carleton Place passed a bylaw prohibiting the trotting of horses across the Central Bridge in order that the vibration of the structure be lessened. In 1954, the Carleton Place Canadian believed the bylaw was still in effect, but not enforced. Does it still exist today?

Saving Carleton Place’s Past — Thank You Brenda Mattey!


Together we all work together to save bits and piece of Carleton Place’s past. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum is always happy to receive donations, especially old photographs– because sometimes by examining the background of old photos we can always learn more about “what was what” in Carleton Place.


We would like to thank Brenda Mattey for her donation of the old Carleton Place theatre seats to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum. Thanks Brenda who is modelling one of my designs/ hats with her father.


1963 Rule of Thumb for a Strong Physique — Straight Outta Carleton Place High School



What advice did Michael Moldowan in Grade 12B offer to the Phys Ed Class in 1963?

He said in the 1963 CA-PLA-HI that anyone who wanted a strong physique should consume at least one purchase of fries a day from his father’s chip truck.


Photos courtesy of Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

In Memory of Mike Moldowan — The Man Behind the Fries

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Related Reading:

Straight Outta Carleton Place High School — Wava McDaniel Baker

Straight Outta Carleton Place High –Teachers 1963

The Improved Stereo Remix of 1963 –Straight Outta Carleton Place High School

If You Ever Smoked in the Boys Room—– Straight Outta Carleton Place High School

As the World Turns in Carleton Place — Soap and Ground Beef



When I was 16 my mom washed my mouth out with soap for swearing. After the first breath of a swear word, I was taken to the bathroom, and the hot water turned on. Then she lathered up that up the bar of soap like no tomorrow. She began to scrub my mouth out and forced the bar in and out while I screamed.  She ground that bar on my teeth and rubbed it all over my tongue. If that wasn’t enough she took my toothbrush out and rubbed it all over the bar.  Bunny Knight then proceeded to brush my teeth and tongue with soap until the suds were coming out. I then had to hold the bar of soap in my mouth for 10 more minutes. It was awful!!!! I tasted soap for a week– but somehow I still swear like a sailor. Oh well…


One day a long long time ago Soap Chips were introduced in Carleton Place and James Bennett had a dish of them on the counter of his store. One of his regular customers who liked to taste things spotted the dish. Without skipping a beat James told her it contained chipped cheese and to please try some. She did with a smile on her face. Soon she made an awful face and the language which followed could be expressed by a series of dots and dashes.

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Seems like they were quite the pranksters at Bennetts, and Joann Voyce told me small meatballs were once thrown at her from the “other side of the meat counter”. I read about the huge teapot that hung from between the two storeys in two different spots today. The teapot advertised Salada Tea, One day in the 1924 when the town was celebrating Old Home Week, Ted and Jack Voyce climbed a ladder and painted the massive tea pot red commemorating the event.  No one knows where the tea pot is today. We can’t blame Ebay can we?:)


Take Me Where the Mississippi River Once Flowed– The Hidden Mill River


If you talk to some of the old timers in town they will tell you the Mississippi River once flowed up near Townline in Carleton Place and the powers to be re-routed the river bed to where it now flows. Somewhere down the line stories got mixed up and this week I found out the real story from Jennifer Fenwick Irwin from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum and was really shocked.


The Mississippi River flows around McArthur Island and a man made channel for the Mississippi River was built and re-directed for the McArthur mill. More on that next week. The shocking part was realizing that another channel once lapped the back doors of the old Gillies Mill. Yup–right by the back door and through Bill Bagg’s adjacent property that was once the blacksmith shop for the Gillies Mill. When Bill Bagg bought that house he found an open cistern/well inside his house and it had to be boarded up so no one would get hurt. That made me shiver and think of the film Silence of the Lambs.


So the driveway you see now and the land in front of the river is all fill. That’s right- limestone rock was brought in and they filled the channel up. I guess movements are like rivers. Dipping into them is never the same twice.

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Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

What Happened to Bill Brunton’s Roof in Carleton Place?



A month or so ago Bill Brunton had a question about his childhood home at 209 Moffat in Carleton Place. He was 8 years-old when the family moved there in 1972. Bill and his brother were looking around one day in the back of a closet on the second floor and they found a burned stairway leading to nowhere. They wondered if there was a third floor, or an attic, and never did find out the story. I went and took pictures and the first thing I noticed about the area was the majority of homes had Mansard roofs.


The roof of Bill’s family home was flat which was uncharacteristic of the area, the time, and architecture. There was nothing about the house in the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum files, and after a month of searching newspaper archives, I came up with nothing. Bill said the house next door with the grey wood porch was owned by *Winifred McRostie when he lived there. She would pay Bill and his brother in homemade Shortbread cookies for any odd jobs they did for her.

Bill always thought her house was very cool inside. There were stairs right into the kitchen, plus an ornate stairway in the front foyer. Miss McRostie had not changed the decor of the home, and it looked exactly the same until the year 2000 when she passed away.


So what happened to Bill’s roof? I am 99% sure there was a fire in the original Mansard roof. It was a very dangerous style of roof for firefighters responding to fires. Mansard roofs wrap around exterior division walls, allowing fire to spread in the cockloft.(a small loft or attic above the highest finished ceiling of a building)  That would prompt crews to open the ceiling above them prior to entry into units to ensure they are not advancing into a structure with an unknown fire overhead eating away at the chords of a truss supporting overhead weight.


You cannot deny the beauty of a Mansard roof. Everywhere you look in Paris, where it began, the Mansard roof line predominates, heavily contributing to the character of the city. Look around the older parts of Carleton Place– especially around the High Street side streets. See many examples of the once-popular and pervasive French style roofs that began with home owners that wanted the look of their homes to sophisticated and well traveled. Sorry Bill, I could not find the fire, but I am grateful the men of our Ocean Wave Fire Dept. saved the rest of the house.

*Miss Winifred McRostie

S.S. No. 13 Drummond
Flintoff’s School
The first log school, built in 1818, burnt down and a second one was erected 1870 in Drummond Centre with Mr. Stewart as the teacher. It was furnished with one blackboard, a sheepskin for an eraser and five maps on the walls. Twelve students sat in two rows of pine planks. Miss Winifred McRostie was the last teacher in 1929. Next, a modern brick building boasted a library, teacher’s room, two cloakrooms, hot-air furnace, flush toilets, pump room and play area. Start student, Roy Warner won the T. Eaton Co. Cup as Champion Pupil at the Drummond Rural School Fair, the Drummond Centre Women’s Institute prize for highest marks in arithmetic and composition, and the Lawrence James Gold Medal for the highest marks for the Entrance Exams in Lanark West and. In 1952, Mildred Stead Munro taught there for $1700 a year. Mrs. Carmel Fergusson was the last teacher in 1968 when the school closed. She died Nov 14 2000 at 97 years old.



Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Did Blind Tom Play in Carleton Place?



You will have to find out on Wednesday July 22 at:

The Ms.-Guided Walking Tour of Bridge Street – Wednesday, July 22

6:45 P.M.-8 P.M.


There is more to the history of Carleton Place than what you have read. Even if you have lived here all your life-you have never heard some of these doozies. Join Linda Seccaspina the evening of July 22 to hear an odd tale about the old Union Bank on Bridge Street. Then it’s across the street to former Dr. Preston’s residence for some medical mayhem potboilers. How about a few tales about body modification as we walk past Body Graphics Tattoo on our way to the Queen’s Hotel?

As you stand in front of the now Queen’s Hotel, you will hear accounts of what really went on at the Chaterton House Hotel when it was one of the most eclectic and theatrically renowned hotels in the area in the 1800’s. Not to mention the few ladies of the night that hung around in the alleyway. Then it is on to Ballygiblin’s across the street for a free dessert(beverages are extra) and a question and answer period, or just plain socializing.

See you then July 22, at 6:45 P.M. in front of Moore House (170 Bridge Street) across from the Carleton Place Town Hall

Approx Time- 645 P.M- 8 P.M

Tickets-$10.00 to support the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Details below!


Is The First Carleton Place Settler Buried Behind the Gourmet Grub?


The Moore’s were the first family to arrive in Carleton Place and hosted the Morphy family who arrived in 1819 and
moved on to settle close to the falls.The Moore home was a single storey log cabin which burnt down and was replaced by another. It was rumored that William Moore Sr. was buried on the site, which is located behind the schoolhouse on the junction of Hwy. 7 at the “Welcome to Carleton Place”

The log home structure on the main street of Carleton Place is the second home of the Moore Family. (Home of the Roy Brown Museum and the Chamber of Commerce)Jayne Monroe– Ouimet.



The “Welcome to Carleton Place” sign is behind the popular Gourmet Grub Chip Truck. When I spoke about it this week– one of our Museum members Lorna Drummond, wanted to go ‘twitching’ (not to be confused with twerking) behind the truck. She says the method works for skeletal remains also.

From Buddyzee Fisher —A member of the Moore family said William is not buried there. Most of the Moores are at the cemetery on the 8th line and also up near Beachberg.

So what is at that lot near the four corners.. Maybe some day we will find out


This week a UK homeowner discovered that she was sitting on an archaeological goldmine – when a 13th century chapel was excavated in her front garden. Mary Hudd, 68, was having trees removed from the garden when workers discovered unusual footings in the front of her country cottage.She then invited a local archaeological group to investigate – and they spent a year uncovering a 19ft x 52ft chalk block structure – and also found remnants of a stone tiled roof and plastered inner walls. Should we have an archaeological dig behind the Gourmet Grub Chip truck? Well, don’t tell any bylaw people or they’d want to see your 19th Century planning application form. Would we find some local “stone-hinge”?:)


Most people feel strongly about the need to protect the past because knowledge of the past helps us to know where we come from. Archaeology helps us learn about the history of farming, language, literature, art, and war. You name it, and archaeology helps us understand it. The less we know about our past means the less we know about what it means to be human and how we are all connected, not just now, but long ago, and how we will connect with each other in the future.


If you drop into the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum they are featuring some shadow boxes containing things found in the Carleton Place area by Rebecca Lapointe. She is by no means going to tell you where she found these objects, but these bits of broken treasures are part of our history, and just as important as finding dinosaur bones. Nothing beats the excitement of “hands on” archaeology!

If you have a heritage home begin a small dig on your own property, but in the meantime come and see these cool artifacts at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, and think about doing the same and preserving history as every little piece counts.


Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place