There have been several bridges in Ferguson Falls. No one really knows when the first one was built but a map from the area in 1869 shows one. A second bridge was built in the 1880s which had hemlock sleepers 45 feet long with a 15 inch face. They were scored and hewed for $7.50 each.
The next bridge was built in 1919 and the present one in 1968. This is the ONLY bridge on the Mississippi River that withstood the results of the Crotch Lake disaster of 1857. All the other bridges were wiped out. Thanks to the toughness of the Ferguson Falls bridge the people of the village got the warning in time to pile boulders on the bridge and thus save it. Read-Did You Know About the Crotch Lake Disaster?
The Dam Case — Some time during last summer four of the employees of B. & W. Rosamond & Co. were charged before a Justice of the Peace with the crime of tearing away and destroying 60 feet of the dam at the long wooden bridge leading to No. 1 mill. The case was tried a t the Perth assizes in October, and a true bill against the four men was found by the Grand Jury.
The judge, however, had no time to try the case and it was left over to the Quarter sessions — the result of the trial being that the four men were found guilty and sentenced to three months imprisonment in the common Jail.
It is rather hard for the men to be thus incarcerated, for the facts are that the men were ordered by their employers to go out and destroy the dam, and that they (the employers) would stand between them and all harm, ensuring the men at the same time that they had the highest legal authority for doing so.
Under the circumstances we think it is a pity that the majesty of the law could not have been vindicated quite as well by a much shorter period of imprisonment. Since the trial we have heard but one universal opinion expressed In the affair, and that is, a strong feeling of sympathy for the four employees.
In 1862 Bennett Rosamond and his brother William leased the Victoria Woolen Mills from their father under the partnership of B & W Rosamond and embarked upon a programme of rapid expansion. In 1866, they brought into the firm, now renamed B & W Rosamond & Co-MVTM
Bridge on Pinehurst
Built by Bennett Rosamond, president and managing director of the Rosamond Woollen Company, one of the largest woollen mills in Canada at the time. In 1884, he started to clear his land on the “Point” in a quiet and secluded area known as Brookdale Park, and by March 1890, had announced contracts for construction of Pinehurst, “the handsomest house” at the “prettiest location in town.” This was followed by a lodge (1892), a grapery (1894), and two outbuildings (1895). Later, an iron bridge was built on the road leading to Pinehurst from No. 1 Mill and a stone wall was built along the driveway.
Stuart McIntoshThere were hills near both ends of the floating bridge. Many of the earlier wooden bridges were constructed this way but this one doesn’t appear to be long enough to be the floating bridge below Taylor Lake.
Stuart McIntoshDon’t know these folks and the landmarks are unfamiliar but the fences in the background may indicate a bridge on a private laneway like Lornie Wark used to have. We got stuck on it one snowy night after a Christmas concert.
Ken MacDonaldJoan Armstrong yes there was one on the 11thconcession of Lanark but it was longer than this as well, swampy on north end and no real flat farm land on the other.It went across to Robertsons and Elmer Yuills towards Galbraith
So there you have it and these photos from the Ferguson family. Any ideas?
Work is well on its way to demolish the stone bridge that was so much admired for a great many years as a masterpiece of the mason’s craftsmanship. It presented quite a problem to the contractors . It is understood they intend to remove as much of it as possible from each end on the surface and then drop the rest of it into the gorge from which the larger stones will have to be retrieved.
It is likely that destruction of this sturdy stone span will present about as much trouble as erection of the new single span which will have no mid- piers but only abutments at each end. As the stone bridge comes down it becomes more apparent that it never could have withstood the heavy traffic for very long even If it had been wide enough.
The Town Council’s chief headache in connection with the new bridge is described in the underlines beneath the cut that appears above. The Council has been criticized for not grappling with these problems sooner and for leaving it to the last minute as has been the case.
It is said that some members thought they could get a fair sum of money for the old residence, but they soon found out that this was not the case especially when contractors who looked at it agreed that it could not be moved. It is said that there is little money to be made into a ring down sturdy frame house as much of the lumber is destroyed for building purposes in the process.
Not much is known about the history of this house. It had little land around it. The backyard was close to the cliff that leads down to Cannon Falls . However, people who lived in it years ago said it was a comfortable dwelling. But with the cliff behind it and the highway at its front door, it was a poor place to bring up young children. How the Council is going to get this building out of the way by Oct. 2nd when it is now Sept. 24th is anyone ’s guess. Maybe the fairies will wave magic wands over it and say hocus- pocus you old house —jump into the Bay.
Frank BlakeleyWhen the stone from the bridge was being hauled away, my dad intercepted the dump trucks, and had the drivers drop their load of stone off the edge of our property on Hope St. for fill. On the way out, the drivers got a beer for their trouble.
The view shows the carding mill, planing mill and cheese factory.
BY JANICE KENNEDY– 2008– What did you do? I spent a perfectly languid summer day doing perfectly languid summertime things getting out of town, enjoying the scenery, strolling, nibbling and browsing. Could you be a little more specific? Sure. I went to Pakenham, part of greater “Mississippi Mills.” The little village on the Ottawa Valley version of the Mississippi River is barely more than a half-hour from downtown Ottawa, so it’s a drive-in-the-country destination that doesn’t impoverish you at the gas pump. Why Pakenham? There are lots of little villages around Ottawa, aren’t there? There are indeed, many of them certainly worth a daytrip. But what’s appealing about Pakenham, besides the proximity and prettiness of the place, is its ambience.
Some visitors might call it sleepy and it does seem to be the antithesis of bustling but I prefer to think of it as laid-back. A visit to Pakenham is an undeniably leisurely affair. Is that code for “leave the kids at home?” Maybe. What I like about Pakenham is the opposite of what appeals to my two young grandsons, whose tastes run more to water parks and go-kart tracks. If you don’t count the ice cream, Pakenham’s attractions tend to be more adult-oriented. Tell me about them. The village is both attractive and historic. At nearly 200 years old, it seems to have a settled sense of self.
Many of the houses some of them meticulously restored or maintained with their original character reflect the 19th-century love of Regency and Classic Revival architectural styles. In fact, if your interests run that way, you can take a detailed historical walking tour of Pakenham, guided by a helpful little pamphlet available free at most village businesses.
Dating back to the 1840s, Pakenham’s general store is thought to be the oldest continually operated general store on the continent. With everything from fresh baked goods to brass beds, it’s a great place to browse. What’s the highlight? Pakenham’s landmark is The Bridge. If you come by way of Kinburn Side Road, the exit you take from Highway 417, you enter the village by way of its famous stone bridge (“the only five-arch stone bridge in North -America,” tourist literature boasts). It’s an impressive structure, built in 1901 with locally cruarried stone cut in the squared look of the time, suggesting solidity and endurance. Small riverside parks by the bridge allow you to get a good look at the five sturdy spans and, on the north side, to listen to the rushing burble of the water over what is called Little Falls.
Pakenham’s century-old bridge is the only five-arch stone span bridge in North America. Then there is 5 Span Feed and Seed (“We feed your needs”). Besides agricultural and cottage supplies, 5 Span also sells outdoor clothing and local maple syrup appropriately, since Pakenham is in Lanark County, the heart of Ontario maple country. Which reminds me: A visit to Pakenham could happily accommodate a short jaunt to Fulton’s, the sugar bush just a few minutes outside town (directions at fultons.ca). Sounds wonderful, but aren’t you forgetting something?
Did you not mention Ice cream? I certainly did. Summertime’s easy livin’ , should always include at least one afternoon stroll by the river or in this case, relaxation on one of the park benches near the landmark bridge to contemplate the flow of the Mississippi a homemade waffle cone in hand filled with the smooth, cool glories of ice cream. In Pakenham, you can get your dose of frozen decadence at Scoop’s (111 Waba, just off the main street) or at the General Store. Either way, it’s a short walk to the river.
OK, I confess. Right next to the feed and seed suppliers, a small stand operated by local Cedar Hill Berry Farm was selling red, ripe and irresistible fresh strawberries. With visions of shortcake dancing in my head, I picked up a litre and doubled back to Watt’s Cooking? for a package of fresh tea biscuits (not quite shortcake, but close enough). That evening, in little more time than it takes to whip up a bowl of cream, we had our glorious old-fashioned summer dessert thanks to our Pakenham daytrip. I guess you could call that a sweet ending to a pretty sweet day? I guess you could, although it also made for a sweet beginning the next morning.
This was written inThe Ottawa Citizen==Ottawa, Ontario, Canada26 Jul 2008, Sat • Page 64
who built the first successful mills in the 1820s, built a bridge across the
river at the site of the current Maclan Bridge, laid out the street grid on
the south side of the river in the 1830s, and built a house on the south
side of the river c1835. Another early settler, Edward Mitcheson, built a
grist mill on the site of the current Almonte Flour Mill c1848 and laid out
much of the street grid on the north side of the river. By 1850, Shipman
and Mitcheson had created much of the street and lot pattern at the core
of the community. All of these features survive in downtown Almonte
Arriving from the north along Queen Street, one descends a gentle slope towards the Maclan Bridge.Before arriving at the bridge, a threshold is marked by a distinct collection of stately homes and a tight assembly of commercial buildings, which beckons the traveller to the commercial centre that lies beyond the bridge. Upon entering the bridge, one is struck by the commanding old Town Hall, set against a vast river landscape that opens up on both sides of the bridge. The sense of arrival is experienced first when arriving on the south shore of the river, and again at the intersection of Mill and Bridge Streets.
The Maclan Bridge serves as the approximate eastern boundary of the historic urban centre of Almonte, and the views from each side reflect this condition. The view to the east is a pastoral scene dominated by the treed riverbanks, and is largely rural in character. Looking west, the view includes the Town Hall, the Wylie Mill, CPR Bridge, and the first waterfall. The houses on the north bank are largely hidden by trees, although the Wylie and Menzies houses are prominent. The view reflecting the milling era remains largely intact.
Those who are in a position to observe traffic going over the back bridge feel sure that it is only a matter of time until some overloaded vehicle crashes through the ancient structure into the river many feet below. The term overloaded does not mean that a truck is carrying an excessive weight in the ordinary sense of the term but only that it is too heavy for the frail bridge. Notices at each end of this ‘horse-and-buggy” span- warns that combined vehicle and load must not exceed five tons.
That is the same limit that is put on old wooden structures on the back country roads which are now being replaced by safer and more modern links. But this back bridge is in a different class from a glorified culvert on a secondary road—it is a span on highway 44 and because it was built about 80 years ago– the exact date is on the plate— it no longer meets the requirements of heavy trucks.
Many people have little sympathy with these huge vehicles which have made it hard for the railways while ruining the highways that must be kept up by taxpayers, many of whom haven’t even got a car. But the fact remains they are here to stay in spite of the great damage they do and the nuisance they create. So the situation posed by the inadequate bridge is a bad one.
It means that all these big transports must go through the main street of the town by one route or another. They are hard on the streets and the noise they make is worse than the trains. It puts Almonte in about as bad a position as Carleton Place was in before the Provincial Government got around to building a highway bridge there that would divert through traffic from the main street of that town.
But this back bridge as stated before has a five ton limit. That daring or careless drivers do not observe this is a well known fact. Observers say they often hold their breath as a big transport dashes across in defiance of the warning signs. Someday it will go down and if there is no loss of life it will not, perhaps, be considered in the light of a calamity. Almonte Gazette April 1960
May 20, 1950–Almonte Gazette
Probably there is no more meaningless legend on a traffic sign anywhere than the one that adorns the “ back bridge” on Main Street. It says that loads going over the old structure must not exceed five tons. Being a link in Provincial Highway 44 many of the loads that pass over the decrepit span are nearer 15 tons than five.
Frequenters of Dalhousie Lake summer resort and visitors who have been deeply impressed with the natural beauty and picturesqueness of the locality will, says the Lanark Era, learn with regret that the old rustic bridge crossing Geddes’ rapids is soon to he torm away and its place taken by a modem structure.
The element of safety had to be considered, and the township council, becoming convinced that the bridge having reached a dangerous condition of decay, were forced to order its removal. Mr. E. T. Wilkie P.L.S., ot Carleton Place, took measurements of the span last Saturday for the purpose of preparing plans and specifications and will ask for tenders to build a new bridge when he has these completed.
It is likely a steel bridge will be built if it can be had for the amount the council will devote to the purpose. It is estimated that it will take from $1,500 to $2,000 to finish the work. The span at present is fifty feet, and it has been suggested to widen this to sixty feet, but the majority of the council are of the opinion that the present width is sufficient, as it has met all requirements in the past, so will likely remain at fifty feet.
After a curved or crooked course of many miles through rocky channels, past dense forest growth of birch, poplar and ever green trees where cultivated farms alternate with rocky barrens and hills the wide Mississippi river comes to a formidable crisis in its path at the high falls of the Mississippi where the leaping stream furnishes the greatest water power for the hydro development between the Ottawa river and the Trent system. A mile or so further down the wild water furnishes a minor power for the saw and roller mills of Walter Geddes; then after a rapid descent past high picturesque hills, one finds peaceful rest for a time on the broad expanse of Dalhousie Lake. On the wide beach of the lake and backed by all kinds of native trees and shrubbery have been built neat summer cottages owned by holiday people from far and near on the hill just above stands the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Geddes overlooking the lake and cottages and hills and farms which border the beautiful lake. Also read– Knitted Mittens for the Dionne Quintuplets–Mary McInty
Walter was the son of Adam Geddes & Jane Sim, who are buried in the Highland Line Cemetery at McDonald’s Corners. ——————————— Plot 504 : – Walter Geddes 1867-1950 – his wife, Violet McIntyre 1871-1957 ——————————— Death – Perth Courier – Dec.14,1950 – Geddes – At G.W.M. Hospital, Perth, on Thursday, December 7, Walter Geddes, beloved husband of Violet McIntyre Geddes, dear father of W. R. and D. F. Geddes, in his 84th year.
This was from Jay Playfair’s photo album and it should be in Lanark County in the Middleville, Lanark, Playfair area. I am hoping someone will know where this primitive bridge is.
The original road into Lanark from Watson’s Corners is now the unused Concession 1 Dalhousie road that goes off to the right just before the top of Connors Hill on County Rd. 8. That road would have had to cross the Clyde River at some point so that might have been the bridge for that road. I am in my 70’s – my Dad used to tell me about going into Lanark that way as a kid.
Paul MilotteI remember it being called the Cow bridge as well. If memory serves me right it was used to let Cows cross the river as part of the old Plant farm. It was a huge dairy farm back in the day and the Darou family dairy business bought milk from them. The main building of the Plant farm is the old Caldwell mansion that is now a bead and breakfast. Anybody remember the Red barn behind the main house? I think the same family converted the the old mansion into a nursing home after the farming operation had stopped.
Judy ArnottPaul Milotte I remember the barn. I remember when it was the nursing home and they had cattle and a vicious bull.
Sharon Bowesyes you are right Paul I remember the CGIT going there and singing Christmas Carols for the residents
Gary WhyteI use to deliver milk to nursing home.when I looked at the bridge that where I though it was now it is a bridge for golf course .a name comes to mind also lived in little house just across bridge off of mill St was bob Littlejohn
Michele ScanlanI can’t remember the bridge being that long it only went over the creek not a deep river. I think it was only one span not two.
Judy ArnottSherry Lilicos’ mom and grandmother ran the nursing home. In recent years she and her husband Brian bought the place and made it into Clyde Ha
From the Perth Courier and Documentation by Ron Shaw-CLICK
March 29, 1889 – The road from Middleville to Lanark was the scene of another accident. While Mr. A. Lawson was driving the mail from Middleville to Lanark on Monday morning the wheel came off his buggy and, the horses taking fright, he was thrown out. In falling he came into contact with a stone fracturing his skull and breaking his lower jaw. He died on Tuesday night at the house of Mr. Robert Barr where he had been carried from the scene of the accident.
June 4, 1869 – A sad accident occurred on the River Clyde about two miles from Middleville at Taylor’s Saw Mill. Waddell McFarlane, 21, son of Mr. McFarlane, postmaster of Rosetta, was driving saw logs over the dam at Taylor’s where a jam occurred. Young McFarlane, in his efforts to release the logs, boldly stepped on the logs immediately at the head of the chute. When the one on which he was standing became loose he was carried over the dam. McFarlane was carried along with it and when he arrived at the foot, the log struck him and before assistance could be rendered, he sank to rise no more.
The new stone bridge was built in 1901-to replace a rickety old wooden structure. The old bridge was so unsafe that it was illegal to cross at a faster pace than a walk.
Editor Almonte Gazette: — April 11, 1873
At last our bridge is covered, and such a covering. It reminds me of the Old Scot’s experience o f Canada’s roads, when he exclaimed, “Roads— ‘McAdam’ fear and tremble, of infernal corduroy.” Of all the coverings ever put on a bridge surely that at Pakenham village is the most villainously rough and rotten. Our Council must surely be demented if they will take the work off the contractor’s hands in present state.
Small, hollow, intricately twisted cedars, a third at least of which are specific to cover the smallest country culvert, are made to do duty on this bridge, over which, on an average, lor six months of the year, 80 or 100 tons of lumber or other traffic may be expected to pass daily.
Any man, who knows anything about such matters must, on examination, pronounce it a most unsafe and faulty covering, and a most expensive one too, as it could have been covered with three inch pine for a little more than half the money.
Our municipal body were so fearful of failing in their re-election that they would not ask for tenders last September when people could have made arrangements to take out the necessary logs for such a purpose. Tenders were asked for in February for either plank or cedar, when it was well known that no such length of plank could be procured on such short notice.
Patties desirous of tendering could not do so, as there were no plans or specifications prepared, and the chosen five could not even tell the length and width of the bridge. One tender was sent in at the time specified, and on being opened was rejected, and a party was urged by the Council to put in a tender after the opening of the other—surely an unwarrantably irregular proceeding, to put it in its mildest shape.
Parties desirous of proving the truth of my assertions had better take a walk over the bridge, if not afraid of breaking through the rotten cedars or dropping through the crevices Pakenham, April 10th, 1873.
The bridge was built in 1901 by O’Toole & Keating, Scottish masons from Ottawa, for a cost of $14,500. The stones, the largest of which weighs 5 tons, came from a local quarry. As a result of local pressure to preserve it, the bridge was never replaced with a newer one and restored in 1984. At that time, the bridge was also strengthened with reinforced concrete to accommodate car and truck traffic.
During the Great Famine (Black ’47), Irish families were sent from Grosse Isle, Quebec to Montreal and then on to local communities in Upper Canada which were either on a canal system or where industrialization was taking place and jobs were opening up.
In Pakenham, Ontario there was an already established Irish community to assist the new arrivals to integrate into life in Canada. Some of the famine emigrants stayed here in Pakenham and others moved westward into Renfrew County. Here are names of two families who came from Montreal to Pakenham between 1845 and 1847: