Tag Archives: Dack’s

The Dack’s Jewellery Store Checker Table

The Dack’s Jewellery Store Checker Table


Dack Family Checker Table

Hi Linda,

I have my great grandfathers checker table was at the Dack’s Jewellery Store in Carleton Place since they opened. During the depression, the other store owners on Bridge Street would come over and play forever on it. They certainly were selling anything!!! lol!!!

I have it in my garage and have no idea what to do with it. So i thought of you!!! Is this something you would like?

Jane Dack McLaughlin

I almost fell on the floor as anyone who knows me knows I run a historical shelter for all things Lanark County. This table for anyone who is counting is 120 years old. I have given it a home and told Jane’s daughter Ava that if she ever decides she wants to have it just to call and come get it. It is such a family memento and I am eternally grateful to look at each day.


Just a few of my local treasures

Last year Blair White gave me a folk art oil painting that George Raeburn did of his and now my home The Morphy Cram House/ High Diddle Day home. George had given it to Blair a good many years ago. When I pass on I want it to go back to the White family and have Blair’s son Ben look after it until he can pass it on to his children.



The history of this little Queen’s Hotel guy is: it was given to Gail Sheen-Macdonald by her late friend Dennis Miller from the Queen’s. It once belonged to his father Bill Miller and graced the entrance of our beloved Queen’s Hotel when Bill owned the establishment. He used to have a wooden cigarette coming out of his mouth so I improvised, and the beer bottle he used to hold has been changed to a bottle of wine for Gail.


Sandy Baird gave me the late Carleton Place resident’s Joey Cram’s trunk. I can’t possibly tell you what that did to me emotionally. It’s one thing to write about people– but it’s another to own something that once belonged to that person.




Aunt Eva Dunlop and Victorian Mirror bought from the estate sale at the Dunlop House on Townline



The original Balderson cow in the background.. I called her Baldy Walsh– because her udders swing both way. One must have whimsy…



Dack Family Checker Table

Checkers, or Draughts, are two different names for the same board game. One is more commonly used in England, while the other is most common in America. Curiously, in this case, it is the former colonies of England which uses the older name for this seemingly simple game. By the mid-nineteenth century, tournament-level checkers was played around the world, with the first world championship awarded in 1847. However, during the Regency, draughts was still mostly an amusing pastime which was enjoyed by many people, across all classes.

From what I have heard and read the menfolk of Bridge Street in Carleton Place loved themselves a good checker game.

George Leslie who once owned the Leslie/Comba building on Bridge Street was playing a game of checkers with another local merchant one day. A customer came in and paid 50 cents on his account as you could do that in those days. George, not wanting to be bothered never looked up and told the customer just to leave it on the checker board.

Just as the game was ending Reverend McNair of the Seventh Line Kirk congregation made his daily call  and approached the two gents playing with a big smile. Well that smile soon turned into a frown as George Leslie ending the checker game told his opponent quite emphatically,

“You Lost”!

With that George stood up and put the 50 cents in his pocket. It was said after that the the good reverend never visited the store again.


Dack Family Checker Table

Thanks again Jane for the table. We are who we are because they were who they were.

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 andScreamin’ Mamas (US

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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?


The Dacks and the Mysterious Old Anchor

Losing an Institution- Dacks Jewellers

The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

Carleton Place Folk Art from the Queen’s Hotel –The Millers

I Now have Part of Joey Cram

The Dunlop House — Saturday is the End of an Era in Carleton Place

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

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The Dacks and the Mysterious Old Anchor

The Dacks and the Mysterious Old Anchor

Sept 6 1968— Almonte Gazette

A relic of the Mississippi river’s interesting past was reclaimed from the waters recently by Kathy and Keith Dack. The two were diving in the river opposite the former Hawthorne Woollen Mills, now Leigh Instruments, when this discovered a ship’s anchor, well over three feet in length and of tremendous weight.
Does anyone know anything about this?


(with files from the Almonte GazetteAlmonte Gazette)

I found the article right under my nose.. of course, when I was not looking for it..:)

A relic of the Mississippi River was reclaimed from the Mississippi River by Kathy and the late Keith Dack in September of 1968. The two were diving opposite the Hawthorne Knitting Mills, then Leigh Instruments, when they found the ship’s anchor. This area is around the same area that Carleton Place’s once *floating bridge was located.

Using diving apparatus they were diving in about 7 feet of murky water when they found the ship’s anchor embedded on the bottom of the river. Attaching a rope to the anchor and using power they dragged the object to shore and found out they had found an “ancient” anchor over three feet in length and two feet in width. Some of the original chain was well worn and the Dack’s wondered how what was left of the chain supported the anchor that was of great weight.

According to the article the anchor was left against a tree on the property of Kathy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Dack. The late Keith Dack was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Dack. It was said that the age of the anchor could go  back as long as 80 years or so when it was used in the “good old days” when steamers operated on  the Mississippi River pulling log booms and operating picnic excursions. The last steamer on the lakes  was apparently still tied up at the dock at the foot of Frank street in 1968.

A look into the Canadian’s files reveals that if the anchor belonged to an excursion steamer it could have been the Enterprise, which must have been a sizeable boat. This description of the anchor should give some indication of the size of boats which once plied the Mississippi from Carleton Place to the docks near Innisville. Steamers were quite common on the lakes,  constant excursions being run to the old four- storey Queen’s Royal Hotel with its long tiers of surrounding verandahs before it was destroyed by fire.



Photo–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum—This is a picture of the Queens Royal Hotel, built by Peter Prosser Salter in 1899 and was part of the Lake Park Resort just outside of Carleton Place.These Carleton Place citizens of the 1890’s are lined up on the Lake Park dock waiting to board the steamship “Carleton”. It ran regular trips between Lake Park Lodge on Mississippi Lake and the town docks located near the Hawthorne Mill at the end of Charles Street. 

The summer resort record of Lake Park, central site of  the early Canadian Canoe Club Association and Northern Division regattas goes back over 100 years. In its days Allan’s Point, and for many years later, was a favourite location for the aquatic outings and sport days of Carleton Place social organizations. It’s first small two- storey summer hotel was built in 1887. The Lake Park Company of Carleton Place Ltd. completed most of the existing lot and street subdivision of the community in 1893. To serve it with transportation the company built the Carleton ­ which was the lake ’s largest steamboat, an 80- foot double decked paddle wheeler.

So, therefore it may be concluded the anchor could have belonged to any of these boats, which once plied the lakes. Files also indicate there was also the 40 ft steamer the Lillian that once docked at the Lake Park Wharf.

Memories of what once was.



Lake Park Lodge dock that greeted many visitors at one time- Photo of Dock and Lake Park by Linda Seccaspina





So was it from the tugboat that used to frequent the Nichols lumberyard where Centennial Park now is– or the steamers that went up and down the Mississippi River?


1,500 people attended the C.P.R. employees’ picnic at Lake Park on Wednesday of last week, and enjoyed the thirty-eight events that made up the program . The baby competition resulted as follow s: 1, Leo Hockenhull, 11 months o ld ; 2, H . McDiarmid, 4 months; 3, George Dummert, 10 months’; 4, Roy McRostie, 4 months. Sept 1 1899

*Dack History-

Losing an Institution- Dacks Jewellers

The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers


*Floating Bridge–Thelma Hurdis said as a child when they were swimming they found shaped block/rocks that went across the river and Lloyd Hughes has documented the bridge in his papers on Bridge Street. Read-The Floating Bridge of Carleton Place — Found!

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Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum photo 1902



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal31 Aug 1899, ThuPage 8




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Aug 1899, ThuPage 2



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal04 Aug 1897, WedPage 7



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal30 Jun 1893, FriPage 7

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)

The Anchor on Lake Ave East???? Land Ahoy!!! Mike Flint

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 5

The Steamboat Picnics on Pretty Island

Don’t Be Scared Ladies –Steamers on the Mississippi

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

Losing an Institution- Dacks Jewellers



Photo-Linda Seccaspina

When the first day of January 2017 popped up I made a resolution. I was done complaining about the town of Carleton Place and the lack of vision due to complete and utter frustration. So today, I write not about town concerns– but more about losing a business that has been an institution in Carleton Place for 119 years– Dacks Jewellers.

Yesterday, January 18 at 10:41am Dacks Jewellers posted on their Facebook page that they  would be permanently closing their doors at the end of this upcoming April. The family wanted to thank their dedicated and loyal customers that have chosen to support their 119 year-old family business. That’s right-119- years in business.

Shocked generations of customers began commenting on their Facebook page. Some offered congratulatory notes on their pending retirement not knowing what the real reason was. If you haven’t been downtown in awhile or visited Dacks you know that things are not all they should or could be on the Carleton Place Main Street. When Dack’s closes in April the town of Carleton Place is losing a historic business that sold Birthday and Christmas gifts for over a century.



Dad Keith and their late son Paul Dack who is greatly missed-Photo-Used with permission from the Dack Family

As daughter Jane Dack McLaughlin said yesterday:

“We didn’t want to close our doors, but sadly there is no traffic whatsoever left on our Main Street. We have been trying for several years to hold on– but– just one more business to go. Our downtown is in poor shape… but our town representatives, council and mayor have chosen not to listen to us.  Believe me this was not our decision to close, but the people stopped coming. We held on as long as we could. The downtown is in a sad state.”


It was no doubt a difficult decision for the Dack family, and the founding family member James Almond Dack  would be scratching his head right now wondering what happened. When James purchased his own watch-making business on Bridge Street in Carleton Place and opened the doors on July the 1st, 1898 business was brisk and less challenging than it is now.

Every day was a celebration and when he married Catherine Agnes Steel on the 7th of February, 1900, in Almonte, Ontario. They chose to enter what was called the family business, as it was the norm, and not the exception. That was always the intention- to carry on the family business, not realizing down the road that brick and mortar stores would face new challenges and struggles. Anyone who has shopped in Dacks this year would know the real reason behind their closing because the family has been quite honest about it.


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Photo- Used with permission from the Dack Family


Dacks has always been the heart and the soul of our community, and not only did they run an upstanding long time business they also had the honour of looking after the old Post Office Clock. Son Howard Dack, and his father James H. Dack  were given custody of keeping the clock running and in good repair in 1913. Unfortunately, after the building went into private hands, this beautiful clock fell into disrepair and no longer runs.

No matter which family member became associated with the Dack Jewellery store, the work ethics remained the same. There is no doubt that their guarantee of quality came with product and service for their customers. In 1898 they advertised that “they had the latest tools and would undertake any repair job in the best possible manner”. They cordially invited the people of Carleton Place and vicinity to share in their patronage. Isn’t it nice that in 119 years something hasn’t changed?


Photo-Linda Seccaspina


Do we really have to lose a business that provided incredible personal customer service and knew your children’s names?  It has become very frustrating to see places like Perth and Almonte have thriving main street businesses while watching Carleton Place’s gradually fading into the sunset.

They say that you don’t realize what you have until you lose it. In all honesty I never thought that Dacks would close– something that was such a big part of Carleton Place’s daily life for 119 years is now going to become history. No matter how much we tell the Dack family that we appreciate them it will never be enough for what they have given this town. Life doesn’t stop after a business closes down- but it will go on a lot differently. Will this loss finally tell us the worth of things, especially what is happening to our town?

Thank you to the Dack family for what you have given us through the years– I know this isn’t an easy decision- but may it give you some sort of peace to know how much we will miss you–and seeing the Dack name on the front door.

Dacks Jewellers

115 Bridge Street, Carleton Place Ontario K7c 2V4

 613 257-1440

Related reading:

The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers




“It’s sad when the longest running business in town is forced to close because the downtown has so little traffic for its retail store fronts. This should make folks angry too and hopefully will serve as a wake up call before we lose even more of the downtown core to “retirement”.”– Steve Yaver

“This is sad Linda. Thank you for informing us. I remember as a kid growing up that Keiths dad and Ross used to always walk past our house, heading to the store. LOL That’s likely 50 years ago now. Betty and Keith are two of the nicest and friendliest people in CP. Not just do you lose the business but you lose 2 more mainstays that have always promoted the town in the best possible way. I think in most cases, times do change. I think in this case, that they have gone through the worst of worst times, and survived after 119 years. It says something when they have reached the point that they have, when you think back, that depression, war, inflation and interest rates, were all something they have had to deal with. Now it has become insurmountable, because of all things, no one shopping on main street. Honestly, Keith and Betty, you are two of the greatest. Not just me, but the whole town of Carleton Place, will miss you.”–Tom Edwards




Thanks to Christoper Trotman and family- from their Grandparents that once lived at 244 William st.

December 1933 Careton Place Gazette

Positivity – What Business Makes You Happy? Thanks Jane Dack

Etha Dack De Laney Broadway Actress from Ardoch and Other Folks

The Dack’s Jewellery Store Checker Table

The Dacks and the Mysterious Old Anchor

The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers

You Can’t Save a Town That Won’t Save Itself — An Op-Ed






Today is Friday. According to a writer and bloggers unseen code no one reads anything on Friday. So never post anything important on that day as it’s a lost cause. I have sat here patiently for a few days, but I can’t shut up anymore. So to heck with the unseen code.


This week I had three stories hit the top of my WordPress ratings feed.  


55 years ago–One of the Most Tragic Accidents in the History of Almonte

The Neelin Street Geese — Where are They Now?

The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers


It was a booming week for readership- no doubt about it. I have never written about Dack’s as their story frankly intimidated me as a writer. What more could I possibly add to their Carleton Place history?  But this week I took a stab at it as I thought it was a great story for anyone to read who appreciates hard work and historical feats. I mean, how many people stay in business for 118 years? I felt that just maybe somewhere outside the town limits someone might read this story and be curious enough to journey to the Carleton Place main street just to visit the store.


So the story got read quickly by thousands of people– tons of locals, and all over the world–from Canada to the United States to 9 other countries. Heck, even Norway chalked up a couple of readers. So my question is: if people in Brazil, Germany, Ireland and the list goes on read it– why couldn’t any of the local Carleton Place promotional “powers-to-be” share the story on their social media pages.


If you don’t care for me, or want my name on it as the author-then take it off- I don’t care. If you think singling out one local business is unfair- then hell, I have about 25 other local businesses I have written about you can use. Or edit it–whatever– I am not making any money off of it–so do what you want.

The business is not a member you say?  The province of Ontario and the Town of Carleton Place gives out money to promote tourism, and every single business in Carleton Place should be on that list. The town businesses should not be treated like a social club.

Am I too old to write about our local businesses? Yes, I was born when the wheel was invented- but my brain hasn’t stopped.  I don’t care what you do– but for god’s sake get some Carleton Place human interest out there as our main street and town needs a major transfusion before the heartbeat stops, or becomes just another bedroom community.

To very honest– I don’t have all the answers–but generic promotion no longer brings them in anymore– it’s a whole new world out there. For almost two years I have spent hours and hours a day trying to promote our town. Not one single person has forced me, and yes, it is my own personal choice– and maybe I am just plain crazy as some say.

Have I wasted a lot of time trying to help people who very clearly aren’t ready to accept help–or just too busy in their own cronyism world? You can’t force people to believe anything is wrong — wrong enough to warrant some major changes. We have been making the same mistakes in Carleton Place over and over for over a hundred years which I have documented.

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. But really, there’s only so much you can do isn’t there?

Thank you to Lanark County News and Events for publishing the story on the Dack’s



“I wait with baited breath for your rants Linda.  Don’t hold back!  The pot has to be stirred before the contents burns to the bottom”–Finger Wagger-CarletonPlace.com

Can You Fix Downtown Carleton Place by Rebranding? An Op-Ed


The Story Behind the Clock – Dack’s Jewellers




Photo- Dack Family



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 10 Feb 1900, Sat,
  3. Page 7


Sometimes we never think what lies behind our local store windows or wonder about the stories they have to tell. Dack’s Jewellers is the oldest business in Carleton Place and to tell you the truth it has always intimidated me as a writer.

I have always took it for granted that I couldn’t add much to the history of an iconic family business that everyone for generations has known and trusted in this community. Behind the success of every small business there lies a family, and in this case it’s one for the history books.



Photo- Dack Family


James Almond Dack had a long and accomplished life and was employed for 15 years with Mr. Thrall, a watchmaker in Almonte. On June 7th, 1898 the Ottawa Journal announced that James had left his position with Mr. Thrall. He had purchased his own watch-making business on Bridge Street in Carleton Place and would open July the 1st, 1898. It was also noted that Mr. George Godden, the former business in ‘the old stand’ was well on his way to Newfoundland to enjoy a long deserved vacation.




Photo- Dack Family


The Carleton Place Herald wrote on the 19th of July in 1898 that Mr. Dack was presented with a jewellers bench and a very kind “personal address” handsomely printed on pink satin by his friends and business acquaintances in Almonte.

But that was not all that James brought back from Almonte. James Almond Dack married Catherine Agnes Steel on the 7th of February, 1900, in Almonte, Ontario and they both entered what was called the family business as it was the norm, and not the exception.




Photo- Dack Family


You have to remember the majority of shops were owned by men, although some were owned by women or the widow of a shop owner. So, there was no mention anywhere if Catherine helped run the business or just looked after the family. But if you can raise a family you can build a business,  and I would like to think Catherine was active in the Dack family business.



Photo- Dack Family

The shops themselves in those days were small and could be dark,  but elaborately decorated and arranged and shops existed for every “social class”. The layouts were similar, however, and typically featured a “glass door or window”, a lighted counter area and racks behind the counter filled with merchandise and a staff to attend to customers. As one of their ads in 1898 said in the Carleton Place Herald:

“We are elegantly equipped and warrant every single job sent out.”





Photo- Dack Family


In 1900, the business was destroyed by fire and James relocated to another building on Bridge Street where the family resided in an apartment above the business.


Photo-Linda Seccaspina

A town clock was added on top of the old Post Office in 1913 with a 150 pound pendulum. The weight driven clock was manufactured by John Smith of The Midland Clockworks in Derby England.  The massive 800 lbs. brass bell located behind the clock tower was manufactured by John Taylor of Longborough. The four stained glass faces of the clock measure 5 feet 6 inches in diameter.
The honour of putting the clock in motion was given to Howard Dack, and his father James H. Dack  was given custody of keeping the clock running and in good repair. Unfortunately, after the building went into private hands, this beautiful clock fell into disrepair and no longer runs.  James Dack died in 1930; and his son Kenneth Steel Dack took over the business.
Photo-Linda Seccaspina



Upon the death of Kenneth S. Dack, his son William Keith Dack inherited the business and is the present owner. 

To this day the store remains on Bridge Street and is still owned by the Dack family. Small businesses are the backbone of our community and Dack’s Jewellers is the oldest continuous family owned business in Carleton Place.  It’s still sells a wide variety of jewellery and giftware, and they continue to offer jewellery and watch repairs. Bottom line is–it’s still the family business, and that’s what makes Dack’s the heart and soul of our Carleton Place main street.

In 1898 they advertised that “they had the latest tools and would undertake any repair job in the best possible manner”. They cordially invited the people of Carleton Place and vicinity to share in their patronage. Isn’t it nice that in 118 years something hasn’t changed– just like the old safe in the photo below.

After all, time is the soul of a business and and the greatest gift you can give someone is your time like the clocks Dack’s still sells. Sales may go up and down throughout the years but good service stays forever and generations will never forget how Dack’s has always gone the extra mile and supported our town. Now that I can personally add as a writer to its history.





Photo-Linda Seccaspina



Dack’s Jewellers

115 Bridge StreetCarleton Place Ontario K7c 2V4

 613 257-1440


Photo-Linda Seccaspina




1919-In a baseball game at Riverside Park between junior teams of Carleton Place and of the Smiths Falls C.P.R. club, local players included Mac Williams, Bill Burnie, Howard Dack, Jim Williamson, George Findlay, Tommy Graham, Gordon Bond and Clyde Emerson.  The umpire was Bill Emerson.  The score was 15 to 14 for Smiths Falls.

McRostie Farm

Thomas Burns held the first crown grand of 80 acres in 1828, but Robert Johnston was shown as the owner in 1829. John McRostie bought the property in 1840, built the house and it remained in the family until 1919. It was then sold to Alec McClean who actually flipped it to Daniel Sullivan. In 1923 Albert Powell took possession with the acreage at this point being drastically reduced and it was bought by Howard Dack.

The stone home didn’t come back into its own until Howard Dack bought it and proceeded to restore and renovate it. When Dack bought the house from Albert Powell in 1946 the stonework had to be completely redone including the stone trim of the front door. Old wooden shutters were attached to the windows, and the sun porch facing the river was an addition. The large fireplace that sits in the living room came from the old Captain Glendinning home on Glen Isle.

Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News