CLIPPED FROMThe Lanark EraLanark, Ontario, Canada27 Jun 1917, Wed • Page 1
The was completely destroyed by fire late Thursday night. Of the large main building in which all the manufacturing was carried on nothing remains except a lint portion of the inactive stone wall and a great heap of smoking debris.
Part of Mr. Crierson, the Superintendants home, also fell prey to the flames, but the office and shipping room, store houses and a few other outhouses wore saved by the excellent and effective work of the firemen. The damage amounts to one hundred thousand dollars, covered by insurance to the extent of 50 thousand dollars. The fire originated at about 9.4.1 p.m. in the boiler room, and was first noticed hy Mr. Cardinal, nightwatchman, on his return from one of his hourly rounds.
A time clock is used and registered upon every hour as the watchman makes a complete inspection of the entire plant. He had just returned to the waiting quarters in the boiler room and had gone to the adjoining department for a handful of waste when the fire was spotted.
Though at times it seemed that the flames would get beyond the rear of the main building where there were a number of storehouses in which are kept large stocks of wool and other raw material it did not. The cloth from the shipping room was all removed to places of safety. Danger to the wool was immediate and serious, and, and the firemen did all they could do to hold down the danger at the east and north ends, the chances of cutting off the -wool losses seemed’ remote.
Extra precautionary measures were taken in this direction and all put in readiness with men and teams to remove the wool in short order. The arrival of the Perth Fire Brigade relieved the situation. They had been summoned and made the journey from Perth to help. When they came they saw a small smouldering fire in a wood pile which stands in the boiler room. Deciding that they could extingnish the blaze quite easily with a sprinkling of water, they went to procure pails and found upon their return that the flames had developed out of control, reaching high up the wells and all around the boiler room.
The alarm was given and quick help at hand, but so sudden and furious had the burning grow that it was impossible to do anything of an efficient nature. The mill firefighters were situated inside the building, but the raging flames prevented this being brought into service.
In a few minutes devastation hail spread east and went to the spinning and carding departments and westward into the finishing room. The last room of all to come to ruin was the weaving. Bursting from their confinement it hit the interior of the building, the flames passed out and over to the dye room and curled in the direction of Mr. Grierson’s house.
The situation was one of keeping control with Perth by means of relays of teams at points along every few feet. The Fire Captain (placed his engine at the Clyde Bridge on George Street), laid hose along Hillier St., caught up around the rear of the building anil joined with Captain White’s Lanark men in forming a complete barrage which cut off the danger from the wool stock anil outbuilding.
Stubbornly the flames shot and roared towards the superintendent’s home, lint equally stubborn and the ascendancy ebbed and flowed for nearly two hours before the flames showed signs of subsidence. In the mill itself large quantities of wool were stored amongst quantities of goods throughout the mill in various stages of fire.
In the scouring house downstairs a miscellaneous assortment of goods were ready for the machines and these were recovered. Thousands of dollars were in stock everywhere and had a strong wind prevailed even this might have been a vain effort, and when the fire spots came along they were quickly extinguished.
Precautions taken in this way saved the fire from spreading and the Fire Brigade was doing splendid work The fire engine stationed at the bridge, no more than one hundred feet distant from the burning building, worked along at full capacity and sent four strong, steady streams of water, distributed to the heat advantage, along the north sides of the building. This was a great task that demanded courage and perseverance.
About an hour after the first alarm the roofs began to weaken and fall, cracking and splitting with the terrific heat, broke off in sections and came down. The centre section of the mill was raised to the ground, disclosing fantastic shapes in twisted and gnarled machinery. A few years ago a brick storey had been added to tho mill, which is all gone, as well as about one-third of the eastern and western sections of the substantial old stone walls which enclosed the plant.
The destruction is so complete that all the order and form of this industry, which was Lanark pride and main support, has passed into the elements, and nothing remains but the slag of the ruin. The fire was all around and as far away as Smiths Falls the glare in the sky was noted. Crowds of people gathered from all quarters. Scores of automobiles came from the towns and villages and countryside. The fire alarm rang in Perth as soon as word was received there, end in a short time the engine and hose were ready end on the way.
Many of Perth’s folk came along in cars and other rigs.The building was originally a store owned by tlie Main, at that time a prominent business family in Lanark. A few years later the property was acquired by the late Boyd Caldwell and converted by him into a Woolen Mill. From time to time improvements end additions have been made.
When the wheels first turned that gave Lanark a standing as an industrial village there was general rejoicing. Caldwell’s Tweeds have honored Lanark for as long as it has existed. At the same time, it seems unthinkable that the place which has been the voice of inspiration for fifty years of successful effort and uninterrupted business policy, should be abandoned lightly. In the meantime plans have been in motion for recovering as fast as possible.
Appleton will take care of the finishing until machinery can be installed in the Perth plant. The Aberdeen Mill in Lanark will be doubled up in capacity by overtime.
Clyde Woolen Mills
- Lot 2 George St.
- Clyde Woolen Mills (Caldwell and Watchorn, proprietors; subsequently Boyd Caldwell and Co.) established a woolen mill in 1867.
- The building was destroyed by fire in 1917. (the Glenayr Kitten Outlet Store was later situated in the Boyd Caldwell store).
- Lot 2 George St.
- William Clyde Caldwell, proprietor, built and began operating a woolen mill by 1890.
- There was a fire at the mill in June 1901.
- It was still operating under the Caldwells until 1930.