Tag Archives: almonte flour mill

William Pierce Almonte Flour Dealer

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William Pierce Almonte Flour Dealer
he Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
28 May 1956, Mon  •  Page 38

There passed away at his home in Almonte, Ont. on Saturday, May 26th, one of the town’s leading citizens in the person of William R. Pierce, in his 64th year, after a heart attack in December from which he never fully recovered. Born at Eganville, Ontario, he was the son of the late William Pierce and Eliza Jane Bayers, one of a family of twelve children.

Mr. Pierce enlisted with the 20th Batt. CEF, and served overseas in the first Great War. Returning to Canada he was with the Post Office Dept, at Sudbury and, for a time lived in Windsor, Ont. In 1923 he married Miss Gertrude McMullan, daughter of the late Hugh McMullan and Mrs. H. McMullan of Almonte. To this union there were born one son and one daughter (Grace) Mrs. R. C. Paul of Ottawa and William at home.

Mr. Pierce purchased the Wylie Milling Company Plant at Almonte in 1931 and operated it under the name of the Almonte Flour Mills until 1951 when he retired selling to Mr. Philip Strickland, who continues to operate the firm. In municipal affairs Mr. Pierce gave valuable assistance both as Councillor and Reeve to the Lanark County Council for the town of Almonte for several years. 

During his 20 years as head of his firm of Flour Manufacturers, Mr. Pierce became an authority in his line, being appointed the president of the Retail Seed Dealers Association of Ontario of which he was still a director. He was an active and loyal member of St. Paul’s Anglican church at Almonte, and prominent in fraternal circles, a member of Mississippi Lodge No. 147 A.F.- & A.M., Almonte; Past 1st. Principal of Granite Chapter R.A.M, Ottawa Preceptory Knight Templars; Rameses Temple Shrine, Toronto; Ottawa Shrine Club; and member of the Eastern Star Chapter of Almonte. 

Of his own immediate family, there remain to mourn his loss, in addition to his widow, his son and daughter, three sisters and five brothers: Sarah Anne (Mrs. R. Warren; Ethel (Mrs. F. J. Cressay; Pearl (Mrs. J. B. Stone); Jane Mrs. M. . Morrison) of Sudbury; Gordon Pierce, Windsor; Arthur1 and Thomas of Pakenham; Frank of Sault Ste. Marie and Wilbert Pierce of Arnprior. The funeral was held from his late residence, Main Street, Almonte td St. Paul’s Anglican Church for service at 1.30 p.m. on Monday, May 28th and thence by motor to Eganville, Ont., where interment took place in the Anglican cemetery. Rev. Llewellyn Graham, rector of St. Paul’s Church officiated assisted by the Rev. Archdeacon J.C. Anderson of Ottawa. The honorary pallbearers were: Messrs. Clarke Gourlay, James Jamieson, William Jamieson, Hal Kirkland, James Newsome, Prescott and Fred Perrow, Hamilton and fifteen local members of Shrine Temple. The pallbearers were; Messrs. Geo. A. Thompson, Charles Scanlon, Cyrl Pierce, Harvey Cochrane; Lloyd Rourke of Ottawa, James MacDonald of Galt. On arrival at Eganville Anglican cemetery where committal took place, the remains were met by a military cortege of veterans and a firing squad from Foymont Air Station. Rev. Archdeacon Anderson officiated at the graveside.

1988 Toronto Public Library

Related reading

Almonte Flour Mills –Wylie Flour Mill

Philip Strickland Almonte Flour Mill 1959

Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

Almonte Flour Mills –Wylie Flour Mill

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Almonte Flour Mills –Wylie Flour Mill

When miller Edgar Salatandre halted the Almonte flour mill’s steel rollers in 1987, he closed a 164-year chapter of Ottawa Valley history. Still powered in part by the tumbling waters of the Mississippi River, the Almonte mill was the- last of 18 or so grist, textile and sawmills that once flourished along a 30-kilometre river stretch from Carleton Place to Pakenham.

Its closure marks the end of an era that began in pioneer times and peaked at the turn of the century. The end for one of the town’s oldest industries also meant layoffs for 15 men and office manager Ardeth Brooks, who had worked at the mill for periods ranging from 12 to 36 years. Two men were able to retire on pension while severance payments eased the pre-Christmas crunch for the others, who say they will have to look outside town to find comparable jobs.

Salatandre, one of only about 30 millers in Canada, accepted a transfer to Toronto. Ray Ladouceur and his cousin, Don, at the mill 17 and 20 years, respectively, say they will look for jobs in Carleton Place and Arnprior, or Ottawa if necessary. “There is nothing locally,” said Don. Rick Gladman, who had been mill manager from 1978 to 1983 and is now operations manager at a much larger mill in Port Colborne, returned to oversee the shutdown.

“This is not a happy time for me,” he said moments before locking the mill door for the last time. “I’m losing a lot of old friends.” Economics, the great arbiter of change, had dictated that the mill, which once sent its flour throughout the Ottawa Valley and around the world, was no longer a viable operation. The cost of trucking western wheat from grain elevators near Prescott, a limited market, inadequate storage and outdated equipment made it uneconomical to continue operating the mill, said Lewis Rose, chief financial officer for Maple Leaf Mills Ltd, which owns the Almonte mill.

The Almonte mill’s production will be replaced by Maple Leaf mills in Montreal and Toronto, where grain boats unload at docks alongside. “There was no significant reason to continue having a mill there,” said Rose. “It didn’t make economic sense.” But to pioneer entrepreneurs, the 30-metre drop of the Mississippi River from Carleton Place to Galetta was a potential source for generating rotary power. The river became the catalyst in turning a wilderness into one of the country’s leading manufacturing centres for quality wool cloth. The reputation of the woolen mills built along its shores became international.

Local history buff John Dunn remembers as a youth seeing huge bales of worsted cloth being shipped to, of all places, England, which is famous for its woolens. “I can still remember seeing those bales and reading the labels on them,” said Dunn, who has lived in the town of 4,200 most of his life.

Before the textile industry got started, it was the grist mills and sawmills that created the nucleus around which towns such as Almonte were built. Their place names still dot the countryside Bishops Mills, Oxford Mills and Brewers Mills. Almonte, in fact, was first called Shipman’s Mills, after Loyalist millwright Daniel Shipman, who built a grist mill and sawmill here in 1823. Grist mills were essential for farmers, who hauled their grain to them for grinding into feed for poultry, hogs and cattle.

Sawmills cut the abundant timber into boards and planking for construction. As industry flourished, the early wooden mills were replaced with more formidable stone structures, many of which stand today. The sprawling six-storey Rosamond No. 1 woolen mill built in 1866 for $26,500 and shut down in 1986, was being converted into a condominium. Others have become restaurants, museums, art galleries and homes.

The nearby Mill of Kintail, built in 1830, was an abandoned derelict when rescued in 1930 by doctor-sculptor Robert Tait McKenzie. He restored the picturesque stone mill as his summer home and studio. It is now a museum housing many of his artistic works. The fate of the Almonte flour mill is still uncertain. The building is to be sold after Maple Leaf, which acquired it in 1965, removes the milling machinery, precluding possible resurrection by a competitor.

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The Victoria Daily Times
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
19 Feb 1909, Fri  •  Page 1

The original wood-frame structure was built about 1840 by Shipman. It was probably replaced by a second wooden mill, either in 1866 or 1886 but the history books differ here. The second mill was destroyed by fire in 1909. At the time of the fire, the mill was owned by The Wylie Milling Co. Ltd. The name still appears on the large, double-door office safe in the mill office. Wylie rebuilt, erecting a four-storey structure with stone walls more than half a metre thick.

The new mill, by this time evolving more toward flour than grist milling, had storage capacity for 12,000 bushels of wheat. The rebuilding was followed by a series of business transactions and foreclosures that led to the mill being acquired in 1931 by William Reuben Pierce. He eventually changed its name to Almonte Flour Mills Ltd., more accurately reflecting the mill’s main enterprise.

The mill was acquired in 1951 by Philip Strickland, who previously had operated mills in southwestern Ontario. “The mill was in danger of going out of business when I bought it . . .” Strickland recalled from his retirement home in Orillia. “All its production had been for export, which was falling off. I managed to sell flour locally.” He brought in a new generation steel roller mill and business prospered. Production grew from 27,000 kilograms of flour daily to 90,000 kilograms.

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In 1968, the mill was again rocked by an explosion and dust fire, which blew out every window, lifted the roof and heaved the huge, three-storey rear stone wall out about a metre. Edna Clement, who worked at the mill for 45 years until her retirement in October 1986, has vivid memories of the 1968 fire. “I was sitting at my desk making up the pay envelopes when I heard a big bang and I thought the men in the mill were making some unnecessary noise,” she recalls. She left her desk to see mill workers fleeing the fire by sliding down a grain chute. She ran back to her desk, grabbed the satchel containing the pay envelopes, and escaped.

There was more excitement in 1974 when a 16-car train derailment rocketed two cars into the side of the mill and five cars into the river behind. “It’s sad, very sad indeed that it’s closing now,” says Strickland, who sold the mill in 1965 to Maple Leaf as part of an arrangement in which he joined the company as a senior executive. “It has a good staff. But the company hasn’t been able to sell all of its production and the land transportation costs have risen to the point where it was difficult to keep it going.”

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Dec 1987

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tue, Sep 21, 1909 · Page 5
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Sep 1909, Thu  •  Page 12

Philip Strickland Almonte Flour Mill 1959

Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

Philip Strickland Almonte Flour Mill 1959

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Philip Strickland Almonte Flour Mill 1959

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1959 Almonte

One of the main ambitions of Philip Strickland, owner of the Almonte Flour Mill is to prevent his business from becoming too ambitious. Within reason, of course, he’s as interested as the next man in making a profit But he’s also a firm believer that the margin of diminishing returns in living environment inevitably begins to make itself felt when business expansion is permitted to get out of hand.

“Bread may be the staff of life and all that,” says the miller of Almonte, coining a neat phrase, “but if a man doesn’t know where to draw the line in business, before he knows it he’s just working for his ulcers.” Strickland, who is remarkably ulcer-free, has owned his 100-year-old mill since 1951, and wild horses wouldn’t move him out of the charming town where it’s located.

Through Almonte cascade the waters of the Mississippi river less mighty than the river Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer drifted and dreamed on, but mighty enough to provide the power for Strickland’s mill and two others in Almonte, as well as many more above and below it. It also provides fishing, boating, swimming, skating and something to sketch for his family and the town’s inhabitants.

 

It would be hard to find a prettier river to settle beside. On summer nights the falls are illuminated, and in the still, deep places below them willow trees droop romantically and fish jump a far cry from anything the average city dweller encounters, short of an expensive two-week vacation. In fact, Strickland believes he has found the good life and the ideal village so many people are seeking – and he firmly intends to keep it.

In 1934, when he graduated in law from the University of Saskatchewan, jobs in law firms were scarce. “Those were the days in the West, he recalls, “when fellows just out of law school had to pay a lawyer for the privilege of being articled to him. And if any of the clients ever paid the lawyer, it would be with something like half a pig or a sack of potatoes. As a result, not one member of my class is practising law today: we all got into something else.”

After a year’s post-graduate course in business administration at Columbia University in New York, Strickland got into the flour business in Chatham, Ont. He stayed there until he joined the army in 1939. He landed with the Third Division on D-Day and by the war’s end had received the D.S.O. and the O.B.E. and had reached the rank of brigadier. He went back to Chatham after the war, and within a few years became president of his company and of two subsidiaries. His mill superintendent was Charlie Merilees, who came from the vicinity of Almonte. Charlie happened to mention one day in a nostalgic mood that Almonte was a wonderful town, with a flour mill that could really go places, since it was, he claimed, the only one between Peterborough and Montreal.

Strickland went to investigate and stayed to invest. He fell in love with the town, its people and its river, and he bought the mill lock, stock and sifters. He also bought himself a fine old stone house. He got Merilees to come down on a temporary basis and bring the mill’s capacity from 600 bags a day up to 1,000. Today, he ships flour to such far-away places as Ceylon, the United Kingdom, and the West Indies. He also supplies four of the six Ottawa bread companies, innumerable small bakeries in other parts of the district, hospitals, including the large mental hospitals in Smiths Falls and Brockville, and Kingston Penitentiary.

Hard wheat from the West comes from Fort William and the Great Lakes down the St. Lawrence to Prescott. Twice a day two trucks make the run to Almonte, hauling the wheat to the mill, where it is dumped, sifted of chaff, stones, corn, etc., cleaned, wet and warmed, and then allowed to sit for 16 hours, when the whole process is repeated. (This mellows it and improves the colour of the flour.) Next it is cracked, rolled, sifted again and again, artificially aged, shaken, vitaminized, sifted some more, and finally bagged.

 

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Of any batch of wheat, only about 70 per cent comes out as flour. The rest includes bran, wheat germ, shorts, middlings, screenings, and farina. Bran, broken wheat and wheat germ are sold with no further processing. Shorts, middlings and screenings go into animal feeds, of which the mill turns out 400 bags a day, while farina is sold over the counter as “breakfast treat.” “Where that name came from I don’t know but that’s what it’s always been known as here so that’s what we call it,” he says. Strickland makes no attempt to place any of his products in stores and sells over the counter to anyone who happens into his small, jumbled office.

 

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Since he only delivers to commercial establishments, many people who make their own bread drive miles to buy his whole-wheat flour pure, aged to perfection for baking, and without added preservatives.

Flour is made to rigid specifications, and in his tiny laboratory off the main office, Strickland’s superintendent, Ernie Armstrong, tests samples for their bread-making qualities. He has an extensive library on milling in his new house built upstream from the mill on a pretty stretch of the river. After flour, his greatest passion is fishing, and he wouldn’t go back to the city again for all the tea in China.

 

“When I finish work here, I’m home in five minutes and then it’s over the bank and into the boat for me,” he says. FIVE o’clock rush hour holds no terror for Strickland, either. His house, set in a broad garden, is just three blocks from the mill. Almonte has many splendid examples of the magnificent stone work left by the Rideau Canal stone-cutters in this area over a century ago and some of the most beautiful private tulip gardens in Canada.

The river splits and branches as it rushes through the town, and some of the older houses have private waterfalls in their gardens. The miller’s house has huge rooms, lofty ceilings and so many bedrooms that even with the entire top floor closed off, each of the four Strickland children has a large bedroom with room to spare for even the most space-consuming toys and hobbies. As well as being a grand house for a party, it is the best house in town for hide-and-seek, according to seven-year-old Susie Strickland.

The Stricklands golf in summer, curl in winter and play bridge enthusiastically in both. Entertaining goes on constantly in this town of 3,000 with 600 of whom have come within the last five years, many of them city people revolting against split-level, suburban living.

 

Last December, the Stricklands thought they would have a party. They found out they had only one free night between Dec. 15 and New Year’s Eve, and in the end they scrapped the whole thing. The potential guest list totalled 87. Mill workers, farmers, civil servants and professional people give a diversity to the population of Almonte unusual in a place of its size. Many retired people also live there. “I’m sure glad I didn’t have to wait that long,” says the miller.

 

 

Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

The Story of the Almonte Flour Mill

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..

Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

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Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

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I found this in the newspaper archives today and thought I would add it to the files of the Almonte Flour Mill

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CLIPPED FROM

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Jan 1968, Wed  •  Page 5

 

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Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

The Story of the Almonte Flour Mill

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

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My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

 

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I will never forget my summer job at the Almonte Flour Mill. I believe it was the summer of 78. I had the coolest summer job, was playing football in school, had the whole world by the ass, and now a summer job at the flour Mill. I had it made, and on top of that, I was going to make $5.67 an hour. Life was great. Showed up for work on the Monday morning, LOL wearing a tank top. Met most of the lads and they all seemed pretty decent. They were all laughing and joking with me. Not sure if it was because it was me, or what I was in for.

I knew John Hickey, but not well. He always seemed like a decent guy, whenever I saw him. Didn’t know much about him. He said to me” You ready for this?”. I said sure am, actually I was ready for anything. He said we have to load 2 boxcars this morning. I said ok and off we went. He and I got into the boxcar, and we got started. We alternated bags. All the bags were 140 pound burlap bags. We were going to fill the boxcar before break at 10. After the first few bags, it was quite warm, and it was very physical. You went to your end of the boxcar and put the bag down. Carrying these on your shoulder, LOL, no place for a young lad wearing a tank top. It wasn’t long before it had taken most of the skin off my shoulder.

I was struggling with these bags after awhile. I watched John to get some tips and he was having near as much trouble as I was. These were 10 across and 11 high. I watched John and he would take them off his shoulder and bang them off his leg and presto, LOL 11 high. I said to him I don’t think I can do that. He laughed and told me I would have to build steps. I handled 375 bags. Then break. Had a soft drink 15 minute break and we finished the second on by lunch time.

750 bags in a boxcar –375 each. This was the morning. LOL I was toast and still had the afternoon to go. There were plenty of wheat cars to do. There were lots of deliveries to do. There were always people pulling in to pick up bags of bran. It was a crazy busy place the whole summer. Not much more detail than that about the job, but being a young lad, who is simply just interested in meeting people and fairly social LOL, I wanted to give you as many names as I can of the fellows I worked with:

Ken MacDonald worked there. John Hickey, Carmen Dennie, Franny Klaus, Robby Chilton was the other summer guy who was there the summer I was there, Jimmy Sadler, Earl Barr, Rick Gladman, Donnie Desrosiers, Ray Ladouceur, Donnie Ladouceur, Bill Harris, Jimmy Fode, Keith Camelon, Stan Hall, Mike Solojew, Tom More, George Dennie, Johnny Bolton, Fred Somerton, Shirley Drynan. When I was there, Thurstons used to deliver flour to the mill. Peter Stevens and Ken Forrest were the usual drivers. Anyway, I think I have everyone. These were some of the greatest friendships I ever formed over the years. These are all great guys and fantastic people that I am still very honoured to be able to call them my friends.

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

The House on Thomas Street — Can You Help?

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The House on Thomas Street — Can You Help?

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From  Kathy McAuley

Hi Linda,

I have an interest in reading about the Almonte Flour Mill, particularly going back to the time Edward Mitcheson founded and owned the grist mill. Mitcheson was the founder of the north side of Almonte known at that time as Victoria.

Edwards widow, Rachel, owned my house on Thomas St in 1870 and probably prior to that, but records are hard to find prior to the 1870 amalgamation of present day Almonte.

From my research it appears that following Edward’s death in 1856 is the same time frame that James Rosamond moved from Carleton Place to Almonte. James lived in the same house until his death, he was in his 90’s. Through my research I’ve not been able to precisely say where James took up residence in Almonte, but I believe it might be the same residence of Edward and his widow Rachel, and could possibly be the mansion facing the flour mill on Main St., which also backs on Peterson St beside Canadian Hydro Components.


Going from memory of what I’ve found online, I can add the following:
Wilkinson St off Union St N is the maiden name of Rachel and the street turns on to Mitcheson Street.

Edward Mitcheson owned the land that surrounds Union St N. Edward and Rachel are buried in the old cemetery near Ace Hardware on County rd 29. Rachel moved to Manitoba to live with her daughter following Edward’s death.

In 1847 the Mitcheson’s lost a *3 year old son in a tragic death at the grist mill.


The front door of my house on Thomas St faces the (now) rail trail, most likely because prior to rail usage, it was a street–which dates my house prior to 1860. Lastly, I would like to know if there is any documentation of where the residence of either Edward or James is located. —From  Kathy McAuley

authorsnote)

I could not find much — but I am going to keep looking. 

#6- T and J Mitcheson from Almonte went bankrupt and their cases were taken over by a Brockville firm (sons?)

Clipped from

  1. The Gazette,
  2. 26 Feb 1879, Wed,
  3. Page 13



 - BAKKKTJPT NOTICES ONTARIO. Mketisgs of...

historicalnotes

A three storey flour mill built on the east side of the upper falls in the 1840s by Edward Mitcheson was bought some few years later by J. B. Wylie, and James H. Wylie.  The Hon. James Wylie’s eldest son, William G. Wylie, a magistrate and township treasurer, had died at Havana in 1851 on his way to the California gold fields.

*Perth Courier.. November 23, 1847 – A boy named Isaac Mitcheson, son of Edward Mitcheson, proprietor of the new Mills in Ramsayville, approached too near an iron shaft in the third flat of the mills, which caught hold of his clothes and knocked him violently against some posts that stood near causing almost instant death. The boy was three years and six months old.

 - Almonte Flour Mills Is Storied Success The...

Rachel Wilkinson was brought up by Robert Mansell and his wife Susannah. Land for the cemetery on Hwy 2 was donated by Robert Mansell. Story is that Wilkinsoon parents died on board ship from England(1820) and that they brought Rachel to Ramsay. Robert Mansell left Rachel then Mrs Michteson, a beqeust in his will.

Cant help with history of houses.
Judith Salley
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

relatedreading

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

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Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

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Dust explosion @ 1955 . The mill was run by Earnest Armstrong my Grandfather. They lived just south of the mill on the Mississippi river in Almonte Ont. Photos- Robert L. Armstrong

There is always more to the story, and today I got an email from Jo Camelon of the Camelon Lamp fame which I am hoping to update soon when the Middleville Museum opens.

Re: Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

It was interesting reading the letter by Ernie Armstrong. I was hoping to see the second page of the letter to see what he had to say. I just know that one cousin ended up being thrown with the blast and ended up with broken jaw and bones. Not sure about the other cousin. I was pretty young but I remember parts of it. My uncle worked at the dairy and later my dad did too.–Jo Camelon

With files from The Almonte Gazette January 1968

Well Jo, there were three men that got injured that day at the Almonte Flour Mill. Mill employees *Bill Harris, George Dennie and Franz Klaus were taken to Almonte General Hospital suffering from first and second degree burns to their hands and face and had multiple bruises.

An exploding boiler had touched off a dust explosion, an ever- present danger in a flour mill, which sent a sheet of flame throughout the entire main building. It blew out every pane of glass, lifting the roof and heaving the solid stone, three- storey rear wall out about one foot.

 

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My dad Keith Camelon ask me to submit to these to you They are of the Flour Mill in Almonte where my dad was an employee until it closed in 1987– Sandy Harris

A sprinkler system, installed since the last serious fire at the mill in 1937, came on immediately and kept the fire in check while the Almonte Fire Department raced to the scene. The flames were quickly extinguished, and although the firemen made a thorough search of the building for any sparks , they had no sooner returned to the fire hall at about 3:15 when another fire broke out in the cupola at the top of the main building. They had to rush back to quell the blaze, which caused heavy damage to the walls and ceiling of the elevator. The rest of the main building and its contents sustained considerable smoke and water damage and two walls were blown out of the boiler room.

 

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My dad Keith Camelon ask me to submit to these to you They are of the Flour Mill in Almonte where my dad was an employee until it closed in 1987– Sandy Harris

 

One eyewitness, Howard Barr, a P.U.C. employee and volunteer fire man, was standing next to the pens at the hydro plant across the bridge when the blast occurred. He reported seeing “a column of black smoke” shooting from the chimney about fifty feet into the air and at the same time, a huge ball of fire burst through the boiler room walls and shot out over the roadway, almost as far as the dairy across the street.  Barr added “it was almost as though a napalm bomb had exploded.”

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Ingress Intel Photo–The Olde Almonte Flour Mill

Barr shouted to Frank Honeyborne to turn in the alarm and running across the bridge, arrived at the mill to see men scrambling through windows, loading chutes, and any other exit they could find in the dense cloud of smoke and steam. Twenty men were at work in the building at the time of the explosion. Several windows were also blown out of the office, adjacent to the main building, where Edna Clement was working. Miss Clement had just stepped away from her typewriter seconds before her chair was enveloped in flying glass. Mill manager, Bill Bond had been working on an upper level with some men at the time and that group escaped the building by way of a loading chute.

About fifteen volunteer firemen with three pieces of equipment fought the blaze in zero degree temperatures. Mall employees pitched in as soon as the fire was extinguished to clean up the water before it froze. Broken windows were hastily boarded up in an effort to keep steam and water pipes from freezing, and a crew of men stood by all night with a hos e ready in case the smouldering debris ignited again.

All three injured men were in different parts of the mill. George Dennie was closest to the boiler room at the time of the explosion. Bill Harris was in another room on the main floor and fell through a trap door which had been blown open onto a cement floor nine feet below. Franz Klaus was in the upper – part of the elevator where the heat was most severe.

Mill superintendent Ernie Armstrong and Stewart King had a few anxious moments when  they found themselves trapped in the basement behind a door jammed shut by the blast. They eventually managed to open it and made their way outside. Mr.Armstrong said,

“In all my years in the mills I’ve never had a fire . Well, I’ve had one now and I hope I never see another one.”

The injured men are all reported to be in satisfactory condition at the hospital. Although no exact estimate had been made, mill officials said the damage could run as high as $500,000 and that it will be some weeks before the plant is back in operation.

Update–1968-01-25

The officials of the Maple Leaf Milling Company who are the owners of the Almonte Four announced in January of 1968 that they would be rebuilding the plant. The employees who got hurt in the explosion with first and second degree burns were expected to be released from the Almonte General Hospital in the next few days. The initial quote of $500,00 of damage was yet to be determined.

historicalnotes

*Jo Camelon says Donnie Ladouceur was also injured with broken jaw and I think an arm. George Dennie was his brother in law.

Ken MacDonald-Don Ladouceur was injured in a separate incident he was on maintenance and was changing a belt at the time!

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Related reading:

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

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Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

 

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Photo–Patrick Kruz-Doyle @kruzdoyle The Old Almonte Flour Mill

 

 

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Photo of the Armstrong family–Rob Armstrong‎

Yesterday the LCGS recieved a photo and two letters from  Rob Armstrong about his family and two company letters from The Almonte Flour Company from Almonte. The author of these letters was his Grandfather and Superintendent Ernest Armstrong.

Thank you Rob for sending these- we sure do appreciate it!

I put together a small photo blog about the company thanks to Rob’s ephemera.

Have you got any memories about the Almonte Flour Company-let me know in the comments.

 

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal15 Feb 1960, MonPage 28

 

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal27 Jul 1965, TuePage 4

 

 

 

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Letter from the Armstrong family collection–Rob Armstrong‎

 

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Jan 1968, WedPage 5

 

 

 

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The account of the dust explosion at the mill in 1968. The author is my Grandfather and Superintendent Ernest Armstrong. Letter from the Armstrong family collection–Rob Armstrong‎

 

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Jan 1968, WedPage 5

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal15 Feb 1977, TuePage 67

 

comments

Sandy Iwaniw—When I first came to Carleton Place in the early 70’s, the Almonte Flour Mill used to sponsor a ladies invitational golf tournament at Mississippi Golf Club. Every lady participating in the tournament received a 5 pound bag of flour.

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

 

Related reading

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River