Tag Archives: bricks

The Brick Houses of Carleton Place



A few months ago I wrote about our local brickyards and the clay pits of Carleton Place. The clay pits were situated where I  put the No Alligators sign under Ralph Shaw’s sign at the Arklan School 4 corners.  The Godfrey brickyards were located just about where Shopper’s Drugmart is located now. About 300,000 red soft bricks were made in the brick season which lasted 4 months. It was owned by Taylor, Willoughby and Burgess before being purchased in 1914 by Thomas Godfrey.

The Godfrey’s lived down the street at 284 Lake Ave East and Thomas Godfrey’s son, Charlie, used to visit his father’s plant almost on a daily basis.  He was assigned chores, but he used to love to watch the men working in the clay pits removing clay with picks and shovels. The back breaking work never stopped and then the employees would have to load it all up on flat beds that were later hauled to the brickyards by horse.

After the bricks were formed and dried for two weeks they would fire up the kiln and once that fire was lit it would not go out until the bricks were brunt to their proper colour. The glow of the fire was said to be seen for miles at night as work at the brickyard was in shifts but open 24 hours a day.

Most of the bricks were sold locally and some of Carleton Place’s finest homes in their days were constructed out of our local brick. Architecture begins when you put two bricks together and Findlay’s Foundry and the original Carleton Place High School also had their beginning at our local brick yard. Next time you pass by a brick home in Carleton Place, think of the work it took just to make one lone red brick.


“Ow, it’s a brick house
Well put-together, everybody knows
This is how the story goes”

With files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Thrilled to get this comment from Ken Godfrey

Hi Linda, I remember this brick house well, as it was my home from about 1953 to 1969. It was built by my grandfather, Thomas Godfrey, and he and his wife, Laura McLachlan, lived in it most of their lives! The main floor joists are in fact cedar logs, and I recall peeling some of the bark from them as a kid. Great memories, and thanks for your story.
Ken Godfrey


Original sign hanging in the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

ally (1)

New sign I had put up thanks to Ralph Shaw and 53 Colours on the  lake Ave east four corners




So What was in That Old Alligator Hole Anyways in Carleton Place?



I wrote a story months ago about that smart youngin’ in town called Ben White and his dealings with the old alligator hole on Lake Ave East and McNeely. It was a whopper of a tale–but honestly, there have been a ton of yarns coming out of that corner every day since I moved here in the summer of ’81.

Did you know there was once a brickyard in Carleton Place on the southeast of the McNeely and Lake Ave intersection? Mary Cook once wrote a story about Mr. Godfrey who ran that business– so, if you see her around maybe she well share a tale or two. When you drive by Shopper’s Drugmart– remember the men who worked hard to produce the bricks for our local town homes.


Thomas Godfrey from Carleton Place was one of the brick companies that made over 300,000 bricks for four months each season. Before Godfrey, it was owned by Taylor, Willowby, and Burgess before being run by Thomas. Godfrey. At night the sky would glow, and smoke would fill the air, and it all originated from the brickyard. Only 2-3 feet of clay was used to make bricks as it becomes stony below. So where did most of that clay come from? Well, it came from the old alligator hole located under all those condos now going up.

While the town of Carleton Place still ponders about the old clay hole alligator, we need consider the newsworthiness of a possible discovery of a giant alligator—even in areas where the reptile are not common. Throughout the recorded history of North American alligators, accounts of colossal alligators are abundant and often accepted as truthful in spite of a lack of hard data or evidence to affirm such reports. Last local I talked too said Digger the Carleton Place alligator measured at an even fifteen feet. Talk among yourselves.:)


Carleton Place Thought: The brickyards historical sign is located in the parking lot of Rental Village. That is a heap of a distance from its actual location. My suggestion? At the Arklan Stop sign where the tree faces are and the Ralph Shaw For Sale sign is…. well…. maybe that corner could be used to place those historical signs that are over at Rental Village now with a bench and a dedication to the old alligator hole. We have so many places that cold be tourist attractions– it’s mind boggling.