Tag Archives: dam building

The Cement Dam at High Falls 1919

The Cement Dam at High Falls 1919

Photo- Helen Geddes-The Canadian Mississippi River Paperback – Jan. 1 1992


Those who have been to High Falls in years gone by and those who have heen there within a period of less than two years remember it as a picturesque and romantic body of water tumbling down a descending pile of rocks until it reaches the levei expanse of a small lake below : and then continues on its journey down the river to Dalhousie Lake, but before reaching there turns the wheels in Walter Geddes mill by the lake. And the surroundings were those of the average Canadian woods, with the ever picturesque and prominent rock on the south east side, seemingly rising from out of the mist created by the falls for a distance of sixty feet. And there was a round about walk of a mile and a half over bush and glen before it was reached from the lake.

Alas, all this is changed now a magic transformation as it were, and in its place has sprung up a construction camp, and the once peaceful calm of the Canadian woods, lulled to sleep at nightfall by the music from the falls, is no more. On reaching Dalhousie Lake alter a 34-mile motor drive Mr. Howe, engineer in charge of the construction camp, is found in one of the summer cottages at the lake. , Mr. W. H. Whatley, second engineer of the camp, is with the men at the Falls. Both these men will be seen any day superintending the work. Instead of the mile and a half road or walk through the bush that formerly led to the Falls, a new road has been constructed of gravel from the lake right up td the camp, eliminating the roundabout.

Photo- Helen Geddes-The Canadian Mississippi River Paperback – Jan. 1 1992

Over this road much heavy material in the way of machinery and lumber has been and will continue to be drawn. When the sightseer has ascended the brow of a little hill the construction camp opens suddenly to view. There are many buildings a long row of bunk houses and dining hall, at the end of which two enterprising men from Toronto have opened up a little general store, and in this store there is a variety of stock, which seemingly included everything from medicine to overalls. Then there are store houses scattered all about, and stables for the horses, huge piles of gravel and another great pile of bituminous coal, and nearby the multitudinous activities of the camp are shown in two piles of logs ready to be skidded down a slope onto lumber waggons to be drawn to whatever particular point they are needed.

Sheds have also been built over certain gigantic machinery that must be protected from the weather until it is housed in the power house. To approach the bunk houses a long bridge has been constructed over the river, and while passing over this the sight-seeing party stopped to see a member of the camp washing some of his apparel in what he styled the American way. This was by tying a shirt to a good stout rope and immersing it in the rapids until the water was finished with the job, when the said shirt was drawn up, the water wrung out and it was tied to a clothes line to be dried.

On looking in the dining hall a-bout eight tables are arranged along each side with an isle in the centre. On the tables the while graniteware dishes arc all in their places ready for the next meal ; the cook was having a rest in his bunk tuning up on his violin, while a party of the boys hummed accompaniments to the music. The bunk houses arc roomy and kept in first class condition. In the centre there is a stove with two rows of wide bunks on each side. And the lumberjack of olden days would term these bunks parlour quarters, for they actually have springs and possibly they were mattresses that were to be seen on those springs.

Altogether the boys have pretty fair quarters and the only misgiving they have is of the mosquito weather rapidly approaching. In days gone by the river took two courses at the Falls ; the main body of water went over the height of rocks, tumbling below to the pond and then on its way out to the lake. While another branch took another course around a bend and finally reached the pond. This latter falls has been dammed, and to do this it was necessary to construct a dam over one hundred feet wide.

The course it pursued is to be the main power producer when the big round iron loom has been installed and the power house erected below at the side of the pond. Incidentally the log chute down which many a log has been run in days gone by has been taken out, lor the better part of its course will now be taken by the new floom. Referring to this old-time wooden chute a river driver came along as it was the topic of conversation. He remembered having run boats down it to save portaging when the log drives were on, and it was a case of holding his breath until the lower river was reached.

There is much work to be done at this beautiful power site before the natural water power has been harnessed and made to produce 3000 horse power, which is the estimated amount it will produce. The Hydro line from Perth to the Falls runs a long the road and through the fields by way of Balderson, Bell’s Corners, Fallbrook and McDonalds Corners. It will carry power into the camp from Merrickville shortly when poles and lines have been erected. Practically all of the power house machinery is on the ground now, having been brought in during the winter.

A short railway line in the camp constructed at a convenient location, provides the runway for a huge derrick. This summer will see many motorists going to High Falls to see the Hydro development. A modern house is now in course of construction, which is to be the home of the power house man when completed. But withal, nature has been intruded upon and the hand of man has strewn her works of art about for the purposes of serving the electrical needs of this twentieth century.

CLIPPED FROMThe Lanark EraLanark, Ontario, Canada21 May 1919, Wed  •  Page 8

A little to the north of the highway leading from McDonald’s Corners wended the Mississippi river down which thousands of logs were annually guided by jolly river drivers.  The Caldwells of Lanark and the McLarens of Perth were the leading lumbermen of the day.  Where the hydro equipment plant now stands, where the High Falls offered obstructions to the river men.  To overcome this natural obstruction an immense slide was constructed on the north side of the stream down which the logs were run without damage.  This slide was the cause of a long drawn out and costly law suit centering on what is known as “The Streams(?) Hill(?)”.  Such names as McDonald, McIlquham, Barber, Bowes and Greer are known from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the mills at Carleton Place.  Peter McCallum, I believe, is the only one of those hardy farmers who can now answer the “roll call”.  Down the stream from the High Falls, stood Geddes’ Flour Mill, where the stone process of making flour was in its heyday.  Here at the rapids is Dalhousie Lake—now renowned as a summer resort—then resplendent in its natural beauty.  Around this section we find the Geddes, Smiths, Pauls, McDugalls, Duncans and Millers, pioneers of large muscular frames, whose hospitality was in keeping with their frames.

Geddes Rapids Bridge 1903 — Dalhousie Lake

Have You Heard of Stump Lake?

The Old Playfair Dam 1909

Did You Know About the Crotch Lake Disaster?

The Clachan – William Smith– The Buchanan Scrapbook

Memories of the Lumber Era- The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings and Local photos from-Nigel Klemencic-Puglisevich

  1. Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys
  2. Your Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day