Me again, haven’t been getting much time to do any can/jar removal from our basement these days with snow removal time fast approaching and trying to get all our costumers set up!! But I did hop down the other day because the kids wanted to make ‘night lights’ out of glass jars with twinkle lights added. And this little cutie was sitting right on top!
These tablets must of been so tiny compared to what we take these days for ‘weak and impaired digestive powers’ ! I love the wording– Amy
Once Upon a Time it was Yesterday Linda Knight Seccaspina
They say if you time travel in your dreams you might end up in a continuous loop, and if it were possible to go back a few years maybe we could undo our mistakes. Last night I found myself once again breathing in the past.
Sitting on a bench outside the old train station in Cowansville, Quebec in a dream, it seemed like forever, but in reality it was probably just a few minutes. Nothing had changed as the lunchtime whistle blew from the Vilas factory across the way, and the ghosts of workers past streamed out of boarded up doorways and broken windows.
I saw the Realmont building and remembered it being such a mysterious place to some of us as teenagers. Whispers of what went on in that building were always on my mind and the secretive hygiene products of what we thought they sold were now irrelevant in my life.
I looked at the old bowling alley across the street and remembered the evenings spent in a cigarette smoke filled basement dancing to 60s music and the friends I will never forget.
Sitting on the cement steps of the old Voyageur Bus Terminal I watched my late Father trying to calm the owner, telling him to ignore the teenagers with their transistor radios as they were never going to take his jukebox business away. In reality all of us are just full of hot air and I had to giggle at my father’s lack of faith in technology. I snapped a photo of the two of them realizing it would probably only end up becoming memories and kept on walking down South Street stopping to peer into Hashim’s window.
I had spent a great deal of my youth shopping in this store and loved the smell of new clothing and running my hand down the long wooden counter on Friday nights. In those days you trusted your retailers, and so did my Father when I purchased a pair of lime green ‘leprechaun’ shoes there in the 60s for $7. I remember those shoes as being the most outrageous, but incredibly uncomfortable shoes I had ever worn.
My Grandmother was sitting on the screened verandah and I waved as I walked by and said I would be back. She pointed to the big Shell truck that was unloading gas at the corner gas station. Every Friday evening the truck would pull up and the heavy smell of gas would invade the air. Grammy would put her hands on her hips and tell the driver that the next smoker who lit up was going to blow us all to kingdom come. My grandparents never owned a car so they had great difficulty understanding those who did.
I longed to see the shoes in Brault’s window as I had always admired their quality and cutting edge. The Anglican church beckoned me to pay homage to the place that I had spent a great deal of time in. The usually locked door was open and I looked inside and remembered the sound of the choir and the smell of the vestry that my Grandmother and I worked in every Friday night. I saw apple blossoms on the church pews for someone’s wedding and this seemed all too real and better to relive this just once more and not a thousand times again.
It was a debate where to stop next– Cowansville High School or Le Patio restaurant across the street. Both had been instrumental in my growing pains and I swore I heard the song “These Boots are Made for Walking” on a continuous loop and the smell of “patates frites avec sauce” filled the air.
I looked down the street and saw the shattered glass of the Mademoiselle Shoppe and knew I could not cross the bridge and go further because I was caught in a loop of that Winter day in 1959. Many children were hurt in a terrible accident which I am sure they too never ever forgot.
Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find what is near and life now has to begin at the end of my comfort zone. My past has given me the strength and wisdom I have today and some things are better left in yesterday along with all the mistakes and regrets. What happened yesterday is just a story, and I accept the result of once having had the time of my life and know that you can always go back home– somehow.
In the books that were donated I have come across some interesting information about a home that was once in Ashton that was called, “The Castle”. It was believed to be build by Mr. Archie Blair and was an imposing 3 storey, 14 room frame bulding painted white.
It had a high roof with four gables and the surrounding verandahs were supported by broad pillars. Over the large hospitable French doors was a very ornate fanlight. Mr. Blair operated a shoemaking business over at the Forester’s Hall and had two sons: Dr. Blair and Jack Blair.
The imposing home was destroyed by fire. Living there at the time of the fire was Mrs. Archie Blair, her sisters Tina and Jessie McEwen and a brother Sandy McEwen. Sandy was in bed with a broken hip when the fire broke out at noon hour. Hilton Fleming was at his home nearby for his midday meal, noticed the smoke and realized that Sandy was upstairs and helpless scaled two fences and enetered the burning building. He was able to snatch Sandy in his arms and head for safety. Sandy kept shouting for his pants, but Mr. Fleming just screamed back ” to hell with your pants’ as he carried him to the safety of the Forrester’s Hall. The hall later was a residence owned by Mr. Slade.
with files from the book donations “Country Tales” Donated by- Ed and Shirley (Catherine) Simpson
My parents bought the house in 1958 for $12,000 from Rev McCord’s widow. They lived there until 1986. I lived there until 1971. It looked quite a bit different then. Porch was open, 2nd floor balcony had a railing and a door to the balcony from the adjoining bedroom.
The living room fireplace was built in the early 1960s by Jack Wilson, a well known local mason. Read- In Memory of Jack Wilson — The Mason’s Mason Angelstone was in fashion then, so that was what it was built with. The living room was originally three rooms… living room, dining room and front hallway. The door from the front hall to the living room and the doorway between the living room and the dining room were originally large pairs of sliding pocket doors. The rooms were opened up into a single room at the same time as the fireplace was built.
The main floor powder room off the kitchen was originally the back stairs to the master bedroom. My parents converted the back stairs to a powder room about 1972. The bedroom over the kitchen was the original master bedroom. When indoor plumbing became popular, the owners at that time partitioned a slice off of the master bedroom to put in a bathroom. That reduced the size of the master bedroom but was probably worth it
Rob TyrieMy parents update the back addition and set up the 3rd floor space. The also opened up the main floor space.
Rick RobertsRob Tyrie agree on the attic… it was used for storage and unfinished when my parents sold it in late 1986 or early 1987. The next owners, your parents converted the original stairway to the attic to more closet space, added the spiral staircase, and finished the attic including enlarging the dormer. The opening of the main floor was done in 1961 or 1962 by Parkman and Taylor (contractors) for my parents. I lived there at the time. Mrs McCord, the person my parents bought it from, was completely furious and “disgusted” that my parents chose to open up those main floor rooms.
Toby RandellRob Tyrie could likely give you some history on this house. He and his family lived in it for years.
Angela FinniganI use to walk by daily on my way to school I lived on frank St. The home has gone through many changes over the years beautiful changes always admired this house and the Harley Davidson parked in the driveway!
Trish TaylorJust a comment on how beautifully this house has been restored, AWESOME!! Question, does anyone know what the cut out at the bottom of the stairs is for? THanks!
Rick RobertsTrish Taylor do you mean the grate under the bottom step of the stairs? That was a cold air return for the furnace. The floor joists are logs cut flat on top and bottom. The cold air return in the basement was sheet metal covering the opening between those logs.
Rob TyrieAh. Beautiful Renovation. My parents owned it before the Devlin’s. I never lived there but brother Todd did. They moved there in 87 or 88 if I remember correctly. Lots of great memories and family events and holidays there up until my Dad passed in 2005. CP is a great town. As my mom always said, that house had great bones.
Wesley ParsonsI can tell you it was well decorated, lol. The place was “alive” with plants and flowers. The back dining room was host to a massive round table with a large rotating lazy susan so you could spin the food around to you, I had never seen one before. That third floor loft was awesome, it was a tv room for us to watch movies, had a bed for my occasional sleep it off, I mean sleep over, and it’s own mini fridge, which in the 90’s was super impressive. First time I tried Thai food was in that kitchen, first time I had a martini was by that fireplace. The back gardens were so intense Todd cut the lawn with a manual powered rotary mower, there wasn’t enough grass for a real lawn mower.
Wesley ParsonsGlen Kirkpatrick I was going to mention it was the loudest dinner conversation ever, lol, a round table full of passionate and intelligent people talking about Tech, or politics, or global affairs, or ethics, or you just never knew what the conversation was going to be, just that you had better bring your A game cause it was going to be deep.
Gerrie DrydenRick this is fantastic! Many rousing card games, as well as other events enjoyed by our parents in that beautiful home! Thanks for the memories. I have memories as a young girl being there. Ross says he delivered newspapers there too.It’s been beautifully renovated!
Rick RobertsGerrie Dryden I let mom know about the lisitng this morning. She was so impressed with how it is decorated. Mom always wanted to paint out all of the original wood trim but dad wouldn’t go along with it. She managed to get some done before he noticed
Sherri IonaVery nice home. It will sell for much more.Rick Roberts, I didn’t know you lived there . . . You walked me home in Grade 8, and it was about 2 miles one way!
Rick RobertsMarlene Springer Yes… we found newspapers (insulation) in the walls that dated it. However it is possible that the house was older because those newspapers were in the walls of the summer kitchen which may have been built after the house was built. We found them when we were tearing off the summer kitchen in the late 1960s to build the existing family room, laundry room, and what is now the exercise room. The exercise room was my dad’s workshop.
Photo of the day–Found this amazing picture while digging through a box of stuff left by the previous owners… Fairly certain this is Bess Caldwell, circa 1900-1905, ripping around the lawn of Goth Manor on her goat cart. from Northern Gothic in Lanark https://www.instagram.com/northerngothic/
THE CALDWELL’S COME.
In 1837 the lumbering industry throughout Canada passed into an era of unexampled prosperity. This attractive business condition marked the entrance into active life of the village the Caldwell family, who coming out from Lochwinnoch, Scotland, in the early twenties, had gone on with others to the Township of Lanark. But the strong armed young sons John, Alexander and Boyd had learned woodcraft and possessed the business acumen and foresight to penetrate its possibilities. They were more ambitious than could be gratified on the Lanark homestead. Alexander and Boyd formed a partnership in 1837 and for thirteen years together engaged in the export timber business. They acquired lands and when they dissolved partnership these were divided, Alexander retaining the Clyde lands, Boyd the Mississippi, and pursuing separately the fortunes of the timber trade. They moved into Lanark Village and until their death remained the central figures of that great lumbering industry which they carried on.
Sandy, as Alexander was affectionately called, possessed in a marked degree the power of winning men. His promises and his threats were alike accepted irrevocably. If a man proved himself on a jam of logs and Sandy said he should have more per month than he engaged for then the man got the increase, or if big Mick Ryan, swinging, swaggering Mick, tearing down Hall’s Hill shouting in response to a query, “drunk again ?” “Yis, be gad, it’s not every day I kill a pig” — if Mick went home and ill-treated his wife and Sandy knew of it then there would be threats and executions. Poor Mick he feared nobody but Sandy ; one day when in response to a summons for help the latter went to remonstrate with the Irishman for his cruelty he found him sitting in the house busy with a saucer of tea. He never looked up but at the first word from Sandy, Mick threw the tea in his face, but for his impudence and other misdeeds found himself sprawling upon the floor. Sandy nearly broke his hand with the blow.
But there were happier times than this settling of family disputes. Every person acquainted with the life and disposition of a “shantyman” knows that in his merry moments, when through with the season’s operations in bush or on “drive” he is wont to engage in diversion of an innocent nature. And also in the long winter evenings when the work of the day is done and the “lads” have all returned from the woods and are seated around the camboose. It has been an arduous day perhaps out in the “works”; from before dawn till twilight’s close the men have been faithfully attending to all the parts of making logs or timber, chopping, scoring, hewing, skidding, hauling, with a brief midday meal of bread and pork at the base of some tall monarch of the woods, then thankfully coming to camp at night the lads file in, take their turn at the wash basin and then red cheeked and hungry they get down to a good substantial meal of meat and bread and tea. The appetite of a shantyman is great and swift. He eats a lot and it doesn’t take him long. So when the meal is over there are axes to grind, peavies to tighten up, axe handles to make and everything to get ready for the morrow’s operations. After this is all carefully attended to the jubilant spirits of the “shantymen” find expression in songs and sports. And it was in these sports that the leader Sandy excelled. He was always ready for a trial of swayback, twist the broom, hop the barrel or any one of the many games of the woods. This was the winning side of his nature but he also possessed a keen appreciation of the practical side of affairs and was ready to note every detail of the business in which he engaged. Thus, on the “drive” season when a jam of logs or timber obstructed the stream no readier arm or knowing mind ventured out upon the mass of locked timbers. Quick to find the place where the pinch of a peevie would do most good, where the unloading of a log would relieve the pressure in the proper spot, he appeared to possess a genius for bringing order out of chaos by this speedy restoring the tranquil passing of the drive. Moreover in the estimating of a timber limit few men of his time knew better than Alexander Caldwell how much square timber or logs a given area would produce.
The partnership of 1837 then, between these two brothers Alexander and Boyd Caldwell, was one destined to have only good results for they were both eminently qualified. Thus we see them for thirteen years actively engaged side by side until the importance of their interests led to an understanding that each could pursue his fortunes alone. This perhaps was a good thing for the young village because it now became the home of two aggressive lumbering concerns instead of one and these added to a number of other companies who did business on the Clyde or Mississippi gave Lanark that picturesque bearing and character which belongs to every prosperous lumber town. In those days Lanark Village was spread over as much area as at the present time.
IMPETUS OF THE FIFTIES.
The growth of the village so far as steady population and the erection of houses are concerned was slow until the fifties. Then an impetus seemed to be given progress and we find the Caldwell store and residence among the substantial structures that came into form at that time. This building is one of the best pieces of masonry in the place and indeed we know of no walls built here since that excel these in point of workmanship.
It was also in this decade that the Congregational church of Lanark came into existence.
A simple incident brought this about. Certain preachers at Middleville had been holding strong attractive meetings and a few of the elders and members of the Presbyterian church had gone to hear them which brought upon the offending churchmen the displeasure of the meenister. This precipitated a church quarrel which ended in 60 families seceding from the Presbyterian Church owing to what they called arbitrary treatment and setting up a branch of the Congregational Church. This was about 1848 although the congregation was not formally organized till 1852. Two years later an offshoot found good soil in Lanark Village when a congregation was organized here and in 1856 a church built and opened. This was the building partially destroyed by fire in 1900 and torn down to make room for the splendid new church in 1903 with Rev. D.C. McIntosh, pastor.
The rolling nature of the country upon which Lanark is built has given prominence in name to some of the more conspicuous peaks and stretches inside the corporation. Thus we speak of the French Hill, Legary’s Hill, the 50 acres, in the same manner as Glasgow people speak of similar peculiarities in the topography of their city. The bend of the High Street was the Bell o’ the Brae, where according to ancient tradition Wallace won his strategic victory over Bishop Beck of Durham and the English garrison of the Castle. Balamany Brae was another historical incline and Glasgow Green at the foot of the Saltmarket was a fashionable promenade down to the end of the eighteenth century. At that date John Mayne could write :
Whae’er has daunered oot at een And seen the sights that I hae seen For strappin lassies tight and clean May proudly tell That, seach the country, Glasgow Green Will bear the bell.
I have often thought of dear old Glasgow Green when on a Sunday afternoon perchance I roamed over Lanark’s 50 acres. It is true that the 50 acres will ill compare in point of size or historic association with the famous green, nearby the Court House where in July, 1865, the last public execution took place. It was that of Dr. Pritchard, the Sauchiehall Street poisoner whose mortal agony was watched by some thirty thousand persons. But our 50 acres is a considerable stretch of green and here in the summer time Lanark lads and lassies are wont to stray even as they do in the Old Country and moreover where Ned Belton and a certain cobbler along with a number of cronies held full many a sweet and savory “bouillon.” Our own poet John Moran has immortalized this feature of the 50 acres in his clever verses on the “Stolen Gobbler.”
One who is at all acquainted with the history of Lanark cannot mention “French Hill” without recalling memories of a pleasant old Frenchman who once lived there. Whence he came I know not nor do I care to enquire, for the people who knew him always speak so reverently and affectionately of “Old Tut Millotte” that I fain would believe he spent all his days in Lanark. Everybody knew him and none had an ill word to say. Fortune had not been kind to Tut even when we consider a lack of making the best of opportunities. But though the fickle dame frowned and despotically refused to accord the beaming old fellow any roseate chance yet he never showed discouragement.
He had a position with the Caldwell firm when that company were in the heyday of their lumbering. Cooper by trade, it was his duty to make barrels in which to pack pork. This he did in the summer time and cut up and packed the pork in the fall. His workshop situated on George Street at the base of the hill between the Era office and Nelson Affleck‘s blacksmith shop contained all the equipment necessary for the business. In one end stood a pair of scales of the old pattern, large board squares supported by chains from a balance beam of iron. A huge cutting block and a ponderous cleaver such as some Gargantua might use, a sharp knife, a huge fork, a pot of lamp black and a brush with which he marked B.C. & Son on the carcass completed the outfit. He also wore while in this inspecting house a special suit which bore thickly spread evidences of his calling for the grease accumulations of years deepened until it was reckoned by inches. Pork for Millotte‘s inspection was usually sold at the Caldwell office or store before submitting for inspection and almost invariably Millotte received it with the remark “No meestake, fine pig for Boyd’s Willie.” This perhaps was not intended as a word in praise of the pork so much as it served to please the seller, and brought the reward of a glass of malt at Dobbie‘s tavern, and when night came he was pleased to boast, “No meestake, twenty one horn of malt and all right yet,” accompanying this statement with a slap of the right hand upon his open mouth which produced a sharp sound indicating all was right below. Dear old Millotte ! Your bronzed features and fringe of snow-white hair, your imperturbable disposition has set many a one thinking.
The death of Alexander Caldwell in the sixties and Boyd in 1868 passed the control of the family interests on to a younger generation. The late W.C. Caldwell, M.P.P., took up the business which had been established and vigorously prosecuted, with success by his father; T.B. Caldwell and William Caldwell succeeded to the holdings which had made the name of Boyd Caldwell and Son prominent among Canada’s foremost commercial firms. The old school dropped into history and Lanark’s business circles were now formed of younger men who by their energy, push and enterprise have shed fresh lustre upon the family name. Early in life W.C. Caldwell became identified with the political life of the province and for upwards of thirty years stood as the leader of the Liberal party in the North Riding of Lanark. He engaged in numerous political campaigns and invariably won the admiration and respect of those with whom he came in contact even when they found their views diametrically opposed to his. His manly bearing and straightforward manner were of the kind one might expect in a son of a worthy sire. Lanark mourned when her honored son was laid low, for his achievements in public life had brought enoniums not only upon himself but also the village of his birth. One of the more important election contests in which he invited public opinion was that of 1879 when he defeated Dr. Mostyn by the majority of 282 votes. When the news was announced after the returns were counted up, wild enthusiasm prevailed. A procession was formed and marched out to meet the conquering hero who had spent that day in Almonte and was returning home in the evening. Ardent supporters manufactured a banner out of colored cloth and upon it the number 282 flamed. With this emblem of victory waving proudly in the breeze, the long line of men entered the village and shouts of acclaim greeted the man who won the day. A banquet held in Baird‘s brick block the same evening has never been surpassed in point of excellence. Political fervor also ran high and speeches made which are remembered down to the present day.
Mr. William Caldwell moved to Toronto a few years ago and his removal left Mr. T.B. Caldwell the sole representative and proprietor of the Boyd Caldwell interests which included the Clyde Woollen Mills, timber limits, iron mines, and the large Lanark store. T.B. Caldwell is now North Lanark’s representative in the Federal Parliament. Since the death of his father the expansion has ever been reflective of that careful business administration combined with aggressive enterprise which have always characterized the name.
July 15 1887 Almonte Gazette-Thoburn building a new home
—Mr. Wm. Thoburn has purchased from Mr. J. Jamieson a part of the property on Union street on which the latter gentleman’s residence is situated ; also a few lots immediately adjoining from Mr. B. Rosamond. Mr T. intends putting up an elegant residence for himself on his new purchase
While returning from church on Sunday evening a number of people were walking on the road because of the slippery condition of the sidewalks. When, near Mrs. Bryson’s residence on Union street the pedestrians were met by a horse and cutter in which were two men, and when passing Mayor Thoburn and his daughter, Mrs. Percy (Annie) Jamieson, the driver struck out at them with the whip, hitting Mrs. Jamieson across the, face and knocking off her glasses. Mr. Thoburn at once followed the rig and endeavored to ascertain who the occupants were but he failed in this. The act was a dastardly one and-might have resulted in serious injury, though fortunately such was not the case. The matter has been reported to Chief Lowry and an effort will be made to bring the culprits to justice. 1898- Almonte Gazette
Willie Thoburn (son of William Thoburn), to whose illness reference was made in last week’s Gazette, died on Saturday night.He was nearly sixteen years of age,and was in many respects a bright-boy, but was not possessed of sufficient physical strength to enable him to give full play to his intellectual powers. On the 25th of May he attended the lacrosse- match, and his illness, was thought to have resulted from exposure to the extreme heat and the excitement of the game.Much’ sympathy is felt for Mrs. Thoburn and her family in the bereavement which has fallen upon them.The funeral to the eighth line cemetery on Tuesday was largely attended by sympathizing friends. Almonte Gazette– July 3 1903
Sue Winslow-SpraggeThis is a beautiful old house. I remember it well when it was owned by the Fairney family
Marty TaylorKevinandSusan Sonnenburg-Cadman –Never played with any kids at that house that I remember
The Thoburn Woollen Mill, which operated from 1880 to 1956, sits on one of Almonte’s most significant historic sites. Beside the first set of falls as the Mississippi River flows through the town, the site has had 182 years of near-continuous commercial and industrial activity. In 1820, settler David Shepherd fulfilled his land grant obligations by building the area’s first sawmill here. Since then, a variety of other users have been drawn to the site, always in large part because of the river and the water power it provides business. Thoburn emigrated from England to Upper Canada with his family in 1857 when he was 10. He worked diligently to become, according to his 1928 obituary in the Almonte Gazette, the town’s “first citizen” and “one of the foremost businessmen in Eastern Ontario.”
Thoburn bought the original mill buildings in 1880 during the boom years of the woollen business in the Valley. When the mill ceased operation in 1956, the building was bought by Ottawa sheet metal contractor Bill Irving. In the mill he found an old, locked safe. It was forced open, revealing six of Thoburn’s ledgers and correspondence copy books. The books were given to Mr. Potvin by Mr. Irving on the strict condition that they re-main with the building and on public display. “The books are an incredible link to the past,” Mr. Potvin says. The first ledger entry on Jan. 31, 1881, shows that the mill initially had two employees.
By April it was busy producing felt with 16 workers including four weavers, all women. Twelve of the workers earned between 40 cents and $1.75 a day for a 60-hour work week, while the weavers were paid by the yard for finished work. The correspondence copy book reflects the stresses of starting a new business, and the central role of the press in forming 19th-century public opinion. In February of 1881, with his business just starting, Thoburn was eagerly awaiting shipment of machinery for his mill from Mr. Arnold, a Troy, New York supplier. Annoyed that the machinery for which he’d already paid hadn’t arrived, Thoburn wrote a letter exhorting Arnold to send the equipment and threatening in scrolling handwriting that “if we are put to any trouble about this affair it shall be known throughout the whole United States and Canada by the Press of each country. We acted our part honourably and all we ask of you is to do the same.”
The 19th century Thoburn Mill was destroyed by fire in 1909 and 1918. It was rebuilt in 1919, served as a mill until the mid-20th century, and was converted to condominiums in 2000-2009
38 Main Street East: The second Trinity Methodist Church was built of stone in the Gothic Revival style in 1887, replacing the 1860 Methodist church.37 Mill owner William Thoburn played a key role in fundraising and planning for the new church. Marshall Benjamin Aylesworth was the architect for the church and for Thoburn’s house (161 Union Street). William Willoughby and his sons George and Richard were stonemasons for both the church and for the Town Hall in 1885. The church became Trinity United Church on church union in 1925 and closed in 1951.
77 Mill Street: In 1889-90, the federal government built the large stone Post Office and Customs House at the top of Mill Street, designed by Dominion Architect Thomas Fuller and built by local contractor Robert Cameron.39 The clock tower was added in 1914 at the urging of then-MP William Thoburn, whose textile factory was located next door;
“Interestingly, the building’s monumental four-faced clock tower was not added until between 1913 and 1916 when a local Member of Parliament, named William Thoburn, ordered its construction. Thoburn, who was also a local mill owner, was rumoured to have demanded the erection of the clock tower to ensure the timely arrival of his employees to work each morning.
John MorrowIf I remember correctly Mr. Thoburn’s mill was off Little Bridge Street, behind both the Post Office and the Town Hall, so the clock tower would have been readily visible from both buildings. Mr. Thoburn retired from Parliament in 1917 when Lanark County went from two ridings (North and South) to one covering the whole county, being succeeded by Dr. Adelbert Edward Hanna of Perth, father of then future Almonte Gazette editor/publisher Stewart Hanna.
William Thoburn (1847-1928) arrived in Almonte in 1867 from Pakenham and began to manufacture flannels in 1880 from a factory located on Little Bridge Street. He is a significant figure in Almonte history, serving as a school trustee and councillor, as mayor of Almonte for seven years, and as MP for Lanark North from 1908 to 1917. The 19th century Thoburn Mill was destroyed by fire in 1909 and 1918. It was rebuilt in 1919, served as a mill until the mid-20th century, and was converted to condominiums in 2000-2009. 27
77 Mill Street: In 1889-90, the federal government built the large stone Post Office and Customs House at the top of Mill Street, designed by Dominion Architect Thomas Fuller and built by local contractor Robert Cameron.39 The clock tower was added in 1914 at the urging of then-MP William Thoburn, whose textile factory was located next door;
In the last thirty years, some of the surviving mill buildings have been adaptively reused to provide residential or commercial condominiums: the Rosamond Mill on Coleman Island (Millfall Condominiums), the Thoburn Mill on Little Bridge Street (also contains offices and retail space), the Almonte Flour Mill on Main Street (also contains a hydro-power generating station) and the Victoria Woollen Mill on Mill Street (also contains a restaurant). The former Post Office contains a restaurant and art gallery. The “Riverwalk”, a boardwalk with interpretive signage was built along the south shore of the river beginning in 2000. It now extends from the Old Town Hall to the Victoria Woollen Mill. The town hosts many annual festivals and events including: Almonte in Concert series, Art in the Attic, Celtfest, Puppets Up!, Naismith Basketball Tournament and Fibrefest, among others. In 2011, the junction of Mill Street and Little Bridge Street was altered to include a resting spot with benches, trees and a bronze statue of James Naismith, an Almonte native and the man credited with inventing the game of basketball. In 2014, free wifi was introduced along a section of Mill Street, signalling downtown Almonte’s embrace of the digital age.
April 1947 The Thoburn Woollen Mills closed down at noon, Tuesday, owing to flood water from the river making it impossible to operate the boiler. It is not expected that the plant will be able to reopen for at least nine days. The level of the Mississippi River is higher than for many years but so far the Thoburn mill is the only industry to be affected by this factor. The enforced holiday will not be welcomed by the employees who will not be able to collect unemployment insurance unless they are idle for more than nine days.
Aylesworth, Marshall Benjamin Architect of the Thoburn Home
AYLESWORTH, Marshall Benjamin (1850-1911) was active in many towns in central and northern Ontario where his eclectic and often elaborately decorated churches and institutional buildings were erected. Born in Ontario on 20 April 1850 he was the son of George Aylesworth of Northumberland County but no information can be found on his early education and training there. In 1878 he was employed as a draughtsman in Toronto, and 1879-80 worked as an architect in that city. He moved to Collingwood, Ont. in late 1880 and advertised his services as an instructor in architectural and mechanical drawing (Daily Messenger [Collingwood], 16 Dec. 1880, 1, advert.). He maintained a practise in Collingwood but the success of his career there was overshadowed by the untimely death of his young wife in May 1883 (obituary for Florence Stone in The Enterprise [Collingwood], 17 May 1883, 3). In early 1885 he returned to Toronto to open an office on King Street East in 1886 where he remained for the next ten years. During this period he travelled to Europe ‘in search of architectural knowledge’ (C.A.B., v, Jan 1892, 10) and published an extensive essay on his discoveries there entitled ‘A Chapter From My Notebook – Building Methods in Rome’ (C.A.B., viii, March 1895, 44-6). He appears to have left Toronto in 1896 but returned to the city in late 1899 and continued to work there until September 1902 when he moved to Fort William. It is here that his most important works in northern Ontario were built, including the Fort William City Hall (1903-04) and the Masonic Temple at Port Arthur (1910). He died at Sarnia, Ont. on 29 August 1911 after suffering a stroke while travelling by steamer from Detroit to Sarnia, and was buried at Warkworth, Northumberland Co., Ont. (biography and list of works in M. Bixby, Industries of Canada – Toronto and Environs, 1886, 190; obituary in Sarnia Observer, 30 Aug. 1911)
thanks to Mark for sending this. One by one we will get some history on these homes..
My neighbour remembers the home looking like this in the 50s
This is our home. Wondering if anyone has any info to share. Would appreciate any history. The sketch was given to us by a previous owner–Marc Scheppler
Other Homes on Morphy Street
Jeremy StinsonDez Moore’s place. He once said when he built it, it was a mile to town via the road. Townline didn’t exist. He mentioned that Mullet St. Didnt make it to George St.This house is beside the Legion.
Carol McDonaldA little more info on 151 Morphy St.home. Many years back Mr Bolton and Mrs Flora Bolton lived there and likely the people I. The picture are Mr and Mrs Bolton and an aunt that lived with them. Flora Bolton had a daughter married to Stewart Ormrod and they had a daughter who is Mrs Eleanor Code.
A brand new custom bunglow was built by local home builder, Southwell Homes Ltd., in 2019 on the former location. Not one part of original home including foundation, pool or fencing was left. All brand new. New owner took possession in April 2020.
I knew the owner of the home that was allowed to become completely unliveable to the point that the only option was to raze the home and start over. Some day the true story of why the home was allowed to deteriorate to the the point it did will become known.
I was friends with his neighbours and I’m sure they are pleased with the transformation to the property as are all residents of the Manor.
“In the dining room, for example, and the drawing room, the fireplaces are in corners,” Mr. Blades explains. “They’re not central to the room as they would be in a more formalized Victorian layout” Eight years ago, the couple drew on their restoration experience and decided to revive Pinehurst.
For Mr. Blades, a historic building consultant specializing in masonry, the view was a major enticement “You couldn’t see the house in those days,” recalls Mrs. Blades, who grew up in London and emigrated to Canada in 1976. “It was totally covered by undergrowth and trees. We had no idea what the property looked like or the house. We peered through the windows and we were amazed at what we saw. It was very much in need of loving care and a lot of work.”
Some 50 window panes had cracks, vines grew through the windows and many water pipes had burst. The Blades and some 25 area high school students spent endless hours working on the house and grounds: sanding, painting and removing a rough plaster finish from various walls.
Luckily, the house has good bones and a wealth of adornments: 10 coal-burning Victorian fireplaces; eight bedrooms; four bathrooms; mostly original windows, many wrapping around a corner; original embossed wallpaper as well as new hand-stencilled paper by San Francisco-based Bradbury and Bradbury; and slate from Quebec’s Eastern Townships for the roof.
Penny and Keith Blades, an English couple who visited Canada in 1976 and stayed. In the last 30 years, the couple has renovated eight houses and built one. “There was always another challenge, but this is the last one,” says a laughing Mrs. Blades. The architectural style of Pinehurst is late Queen Anne, a time when early notions of the Arts and Crafts style were emerging. made of cherry and bird’s-eye maple.
One of the stunning things about the drawing room is a rose-coloured ceiling. “It changes colour,” says Mrs. Blades, immediately getting at the nut of a thorny issue. She wanted an orangey hue in the terra cotta line, but the present colour shifts from a light terra cotta to a strawberry rose depending on the play of light one of those things that’s hard to get right when nature is ultimately in control.
A much simpler idea of home is Stoneacre on Appleton’s River Road. This two-storey stone house on one acre is owned by Mark and Lynn Attley. Mr. Attley, who grew up in Northamptonshire in the English Midlands, used to eye the stone house when he made his way to a nearby golf course.
“It reminded him of an English country house,” says Mrs. Attley. “When it came up for sale, we thought why not.” The couple moved in last year. The standout room in the house is the kitchen with its huge original stone fireplace and side cook oven.
When I quiz Mrs. Attley about any pitfalls of a house built in the mid 1840s, she calmly says, “We’ve done a fair amount of insulating.” Those in the house laugh loudly, and she adds, equally calmly: “That would be an understatement, really.” The house, first owned by Joseph Teskey, has a Scottish Georgian design with a centre hall plan. Originally, the property consisted of two buildings: one contained the present-day kitchen and a carriage house with second-floor living space for servants and mill workers.
The other housed the Teskey family; the kitchen was in today’s dining room. The two buildings are now connected by an interior hallway. Original windows 12 over 12 Georgian feature 24 panes of glass in one window, each with a deep window sill and interior shutter. At first glance, the house appears modest; it’s not until the onlooker notices the three stone arches of the carriage house that the property reveals its rarity. Standing on a veranda, the visitor is quiet. The eye moves from nearby periwinkle to an old mulberry tree on the property’s edge and, finally, to the distant Mississippi River. read –The Apple Does Not Fall far from the Tree
In previous Newsletters I have pictured some of the grand family homes that were built in the 19th century in Appleton by the Teskeys who owned the mills there. They were the sons and grandsons of pioneer John 1769. Whilst the final Teskey left Appleton 50 years ago, three of those homes are still in use. I know that several of my correspondents have visited one or more of them. I am delighted that my mailing list now includes the present owners of two of those houses. Click here
The three boys circled are Teskeys – from the back: Ernest, Claude and Stanley. Stanley is partly hidden by the boy whose head I have bisected. Ernest Teskey (1884 – 1981) was the son of pioneer James 1830, who is pictured earlier in this Newsletter. Ernest became a minister of the Anglican Church and spent most of his life in the Newboro area, not far from Croydon. Jim Keller tells me that he was confirmed by Ernest. I have a copy of a letter sent by Ernest in 1963 to Laura Cockell, an Appleton descendant who was researching the family history at that time. Click here
Claude (1886 – 1955) and Stanley (1889 – 1977) were sons of Joseph 1855, a first cousin of Ernest. This family moved to Wellington a few years after the photo was taken. Claude became a professional horticulturalist and Stanley a farmer. Click here.