I posted this photo by local historian Laurie Yuill who has supplied lots of photos to me. Pete Kear then added some great photos on the Lanark Village Community Group (Canada) that needed to be documented . Thanks Pete.. it takes a village to do this so send your photos in. PM me.. call a museum, post them for the generations ahead of us. Thank you!!
The Lanark Village I knew (1945-63), for which I have fond memories: Photographic evidence of the origins of the Glenayr Knit’s 1st life as an actual producer of the famed ‘Kitten’ sweater from the late 1940s into the 1980s – the arrival of one of those massive knitting ‘frames’ from Philadelphia, if I remember correctly.
In the background, you can see the old ‘boiler house’ which into the 1950s was powered by coal. It also included a machine shop, where the amazing machinist, Bill Donaldson, worked wonders in maintaining the massive and noisy ‘frames.’ Also, in the background and to the right, is the newly constructed cement-block building housing both the ‘dye house’ plus the extended building for the massive ‘frames.’
Question: Do the ‘frames’ still exist, or were they sold off in later decades, broken up for scrap iron?
pretty sure the massive knitting ‘frames’ came from and were manufactured in the United States , certainly not Europe or especially Germany so recent after the end of WWII … still in ruins! As I remember, Bill Donaldson was so talented and crucial in machinery operations.
Photographic evidence of Glenayr Knits’ 2nd life with the transitioning in the 1980s to a ‘mill shop(s),’ and no longer producing the ‘Kitten’ sweater in ‘The Village.’ This was largely due to increased off-shore competition as Europe recovered from WWII, the Canadian-American ‘free trade’ (FTA) agreement of 1988 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1992, plus the growth in the 1990s of corporate globalization, which eventually did-in the ‘mill shops’ as a tourists’ destination, which sadly had a dire impact on ‘The Village.’
Peter Kear It’s great that your children got to see the Mill although it was silent then. It was always such a bee hive of activity when I was growing up…the focal point of industry in the village. So many area people were employed there including my mother Margaret Paul both in the factory and then the store for about 20 years. On Saturdays the pace was frantic with bus loads of shoppers arriving from far and wide! All of the stores in Lanark benefited greatly from this prosperity at the Kitten Mill, and this could happen again if the Mill can be restored and made into a classy, well run, multi-use operation. Let us all hope!
My Mom and Dad both worked at the Mill when they first got married. They then moved on to Hopetown to open a General Store. After raising 5 children my Mom went back to work at Glenayr. She loved working there and enjoyed the atmosphere of meeting the customers who traveled many miles to shop there.
Dad worked there when he was very young. In fact that is where they first met. Dad would always say ” I took one look at her and that was it” and Moms comment was always ” Oh Norval stop being so silly” lol I have a standing lamp that the staff at the Mill gave Mom and Dad for a wedding gift….It is great that we have connected again.
Yes my mother Hazel Mitchell started to work in the lower mill making socks and blankets for men over seas it was run by Wilf oak I have a picture of the ones that worked there at that time then she worked at the Kitten mill all told she work there for over 30 yes alot of Lanark people made a living. Read-Stories from the Old Kitten Mill
My dads boots were nailed to the ceiling in the mill I have fond memories of taking my dad his lunch and the men asking us to go to the restaurant to get things always giving us a few pennies to buy penny candy at adams store the next day
In June 2005 introducing my two kids, Andrew (back left) and Emily (back right), and their cousins, Mark and Sarah, to the history of Glenayr Knit and my story of growing up as a child and a teenager many years before. Interesting enough, my dad had passed away in his 98th year on the eve of the anniversary of the tragic Lanark fire, June 14, 2005, while at a nursing home in Ottawa. His funeral was held at what had been the original 1902 Zion Hall (originally a Congregationalist Church until 1925), now Lanark Baptist Church, a few days later
Remember this label? I can’t imagine how many Kitten Sweaters and other clothing came out of the Glenayr Knit. My mother, Margaret Paul started to work there in 1962 and retired from the store in 1988.
I am no longer a resident of Lanark, but you can’t take away good memories of a place through the years that have passed.
I remember so much about growing up in Lanark, and I hope that the old and new people of Lanark will save her heritage buildings by what ever means is necessary. I have always found that “When the response to an inquiry is “No, or, I don’t know”, that this is your signal to try even harder to find out, and get it done!”
Not to meddle or speak out of turn, but Councillor Ron Closs’s impromptu poll results concerning Glenayr Knit indicated strongly that folks want to save the old girl, and revive her for the future. There are Ontario laws that support saving buildings like Glenayr…just google and you will see. When our history has been erased, it is erased forever, and that is extremely sad to think about, isn’t it?
I speak as a caring, and concerned ex-resident of Lanark Village.
I agree with Blair. I worked there for quite a few years and would love to see it saved as probably many other former employees would like to see. It was a big part of Lanark as was Rothwells saw mill.
The mill – and its positive economic impact on rejuvenating and supporting the good people/families of the surrounding community – was the heart and joy of my dad’s existence from June 1945 until his retirement in the fall of 1972.
I can remember him talking and worrying about the future – especially in relation to foreign competition and the need to ‘modernize’ – of both the mill and the community in the late 1960s and well into the 1970s during my family’s visits home to ‘The Village.’ He saw it almost as a miracle that the mill had survived the onslaught of the horrific fire of 15th June 1959.
During our stay in Lanark in June 2005, we stayed at the amazing newly-renovated ‘Clyde Hall’ of the Caldwells – what a beautiful structured to restore after even a fire, and connected to a family so significant in the history of ‘The Village! Best wishes in the restoration of the Old Mill building, which will be a challenge no doubt!
I bought a new wood stove from Fred. It was in the store but I had to wait for payday to buy it. Fred said “Take it now and pay for it when you get paid”. I was not a long-time resident of Lanark or the area, so I was thankful and impressed
Merchants now in business on George Street since the fire are Traill’s Flower Shop, Machan’s barber shop, Drysdale’s ready-to-wear store and Fred Orok’s hardware store, making its “grand opening” Saturday.
Jack Strang who saw his large drug store and gift store burn to the ground sold his lot to a new comer Fred Orok and left to work in Ottawa. Mr. Orok built and opened a modern hardware store and patent drug outlet on the site and reports he is more than satisfied with his decision to go into business in what most people thought might be a ghost town.
Each office now employs about 27. Bailey, who will head the new Carleton Place district, agrees the shift will mean the loss of a few dollars buying power in Lanark but insists local contractors will have as much opportunity as ever for ministry contracts. “Most major purchases are handled by tender anyway,” Bailey explained. “It’s the little purchases that will make the difference.”
Hardware store owner Fred Orok agrees the economics impact on the village of 900 will be “nickel and dime stuff.” He figures his store stands to lose about $25 profit a week, but that’s not what is bugging him. “It’s the secretaries who won’t be browsing on their lunch hour through Drysdale’s clothing store or the dozen or so lunches not served up at Perry’s restaurant. “The people in Lanark have always been oriented that way “to fish, forests and wildlife,” says Orok. “This doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t make sense. They’ve g’ot their offices, garages and everything already here. . ” “It’s a place the whole communi- ty is proud of. It’s good for tourists too. They come in here asking about fishing licences or whatever and we just point them up tie street. Why move it to the middle of a farming area?” -! Village reeve Len Echlin echoed Orok’s disappointment. He calls the decision to merge the two districts “a foolish move. They’ve got a new building and garage there on five acres of land with lots of room f6r expansion,” he noted. ‘ t “I don’t know how many hiin- dreds of thousands of dollars they already have invested here. Doest it make any sense to pack up ah’d move where you’ll either have ‘to build the same building over again or rent space?
It’s booming in Lanark today, 10 months after a disastrous fire just last June 15 that threatened to wipe this village of 900 off the map. George Street the main street -will never look the same as it as before the fire, but most residents feel the change will be for the better. New business places have sprung up from the fire-blackened rubble and more are being planned. In the residential section at least 14 new homes have been built since the fire.
A spanking new post office slated for the village even before last summer’s holocaust is nearly ready to open. And everyone is talking optimistically of a new industry coming to town. Of the 45 families who left the village after the disaster, at least one has returned to stay and there is good reason to believe more will do the same before the anniversary date rolls around in June. Rita Traill, who with her parents lost two houses and a flower shop in the fire, was the first to reopen for business, followed, by Wally Machan, one of the village barbers.
To young Don Drysdale, whose family store on the east side of George Street was reduced to ashes, the future also looks bright. His new dry goods, men’s and women’s ready to wear-shop, on the former Bank of Nova Scotia property, is drawing trade from a wide area. Gordon Caldwell was just getting his locker business started when the wind-whipped flames.
With courage and aid from the Lanark Fire Relief Fund Gordon Caldwell has opened a new and fully modern supermarket on the main street. At least three commercial lots in the heart of the business section are still unoccupied and their owners have not yet revealed their intentions. But it is generally felt that these lots could be acquired at reasonable cost by anyone interested in Lanark as a future business location. New Town Hall The whole town looks forward anxiously to construction of a new town hall, fire hall and library, planned for the site of the old but handsome town hall, swept by flames at the corner of Clarence Street.
Plans are being drawn by Ottawa consulting engineers Chalmers-MacKenzie Associates and surveyors have taken levels and marked out foundation limits for a new $100,000 building. When completed next year the new town hall will house the Lanark fire department, police station and two jail cells, a 400-seat auditorium, offices for the town clerk and municipal officials; a library, kitchen and council chamber. Overall dimensions call for a 153-foot frontage on Clarence Street and 96 feet on George Street.
About $50,000 was realized from insurance on the old town hall and the balance required to build the new fire resistant structure will be raised by debentures. Last fall the utilities commis sion brightened up the streets with modern fluorescent street lighting and last week, with a $5,000 Lanark County grant, local workmen began replacing side walks in the burned-out areas. A new assessment will be made this summer and it is felt that, considering the modern type of homes that are replacing the fire ruined area, a substantial boost in property values will indicate a cut in taxes in the near future.
The village faces a considerable capital investment which includes the new town hall, but the future looks bright for Lanark. Brows furrow when someone mentions the disastrous fire of last June 15 but their first remark is usually “we are very thankful that there was no loss of life and no one was injured”.
Councillor Erroll Mason, editor of The LanarK fcra which was spared by the flames, took stock of the town after the fire. These are the business places he found were destroyed by flames:
Campbell’s Sash and Door, Traill’s Flower Shop, Homell’s Store. Charlton’s Grocery, Bell Telephone Office, Hewitt’s Bak ery, Machan’s Barber Shop, Drys-dale’s Store, Lee’s Hardware; Strang’s Drug Store, Quinn’s Shoe Repair, Wright’s Hotel, Lanark Locker Plant, MacFarlane’s Hardware. Lanark 5c to $1 Store (partially), Glenayr Knit boiler house roof and one large warehouse.
Municipal buildings destroyed were the town hall and fire hall; organization buildings lost were the Lanark branch of the Canadian Legion and the Masonic Temple. On Sundays after the fire, Lanark became a tourist mecca as people for miles came to see the effects of the devasating fire. Business places they found still standing were: Glenayr Knit Ltd. The Bank of Nova Scotia, O. E. Rothwell Lumber Co., The Lanark Era. Matthie and Gagne, Young’s Planing Mill and Furniture, Ferricr’a Garage, Murphy’s Meat Store, Topping’s Store, Campbell’s Restaurant, Munro’s Garage, McCulloch’s Feed Store and the Clyde Nursing Home.
The two burned-out areas the fire jumped across the main street were quickly levelled by bulldozers. Fire scarred trees and poles were cut down and wreckage hauled away. Only vacant fields remained where the once busy business places stood. A total of $92,541 was raised by the fire relief fund and this was matched by a grant from the Ontario government. The scars have healed over. The town is on the mend.
13 enemy aircraft. A graduate of Toronto University, he interned at Ottawa Civic Hospital. Local dentist is Dr. E. H. Hewitt who serves patients who come from a wide area. Lanark has a strong Women’s Institute whose president this year is Mrs. Mary Willis. Annual Parade Shortly before Christmas, the Lanark Chamber of Commerce, headed by president Don R. Miller, 5-and-10-cent store man here, staged the annual Santa Claus parade through the streets for the village children and wound up with a bang up party for the kids. A man who puts the dateline LANARK on Citizen new stories originating here is Rev. Robert J. McNaught, United Church minister and Citizen correspondent at Lanark. He has known Lanark ever since his dad, now United Church minister at Russell, was incumbent at Balderson, near here. Digging in his garden one day last summer, Mr. McNaught found a copper half-penny token dated 1815. On one side is an eagle holding three arrows in one foot, a laurel leaf In the other; on the reverse is a figure of Britannia. Anyone know if it has any value?
Mr. McNaught told me that David Livingstone is sala to have spent a summer here when his brother was a tailor in Lanark, but he can find no trace of Livingstone or his , tailor shop today. Other names’connected with early Lanark are Charles Mair, George Mcllraith, MP; Dr. W. G. Blair, MP, whose ancestor was the first school teacher in Lanark; Robertson Mason, Fwart Robertson, with Lord Beaver-brook’s paper since the First World War; William Manahan, Ph.D. Lanark has Its bake shop, locker service ‘ plant, welding shop, planing mill and two second-hand stores, the latter something unique for a village. Before Christmas, the office of the Bell Telephone Company here was dressed up with an electric train running through snowy fields and a Bell Company truck stopped at a lowered crossing gate.
Lanark has a good war record and sent many men to two world wars. The big town clock on top of the fire hall tower is a memorial to men who died in the First World War and there is a bronze plaque fastened to the Town Hall’s stone wall that gives the names of men who died in that war. On Remembrance Day, Lanark citizens turned out in force to honor their war dead They gathered in front of a novel memorial, an ornate gateway to the village park and sports field. Plaques are mounted on the gateway pillars; one on the left gives the names of 11 men lost in the first war and one on the right names 20 men who died in the second war. Lanark, founded as an aftermath to a war, has lost some of its best men in subsequent wars.
Lanark– Photo from Jay Playfair’s album thanks to Laurie Yuill Middleville historian
These highly rated new trucks were acquired in 1947 and 1950 at a total cost of only $7,740 about half the cost of a single factory-built fire truck in the 50s. Half of the cost of the fire apparatus was raised by the firemen with field days and dances, the balance by town council
The following front page editorial from the Lanark Era tells about a gang war that took place on the main corner of the village between teenagers of both sexes. As Southey said in his poem about the Battle of Blenheim. “But what they fought each other for I cannot well make out.”
Readers of the Era will feel a little bit like Casper in that respect, as he tries to explain the war to his grandchild. If these young punks came from Perth and Smiths Falls why did they select Lanark as the scene for a gang fight? And if they were armed as the Era says they were it is a pretty dirty business.
What we can’t understand is why the fire brigade didn’t- turn the hose on the milling brats. There is nothing that cools them off like a good dousing with cold water under high pressure. Below is what the Era had to say about the incident under the caption, “Disgraceful Conduct”:
Last Friday and Saturday evenings witnessed two of the most disgraceful exhibitions of youth conduct ever seen in Lanark Village. Friday evening over 75 persons from Perth and Lanark congregated on the corner of George and South Streets in front of this office in a scene which could have become a mob riot. The language was filthy and obscene. Girls were present in large numbers.
Fortunately the police were able to disperse the mob in about an hour without any damage being done. Saturday evening the evidence shows that some carloads of youths arrived from Smiths Falls, to, as they put it “Slow down the Lanark Gang”.
Equipped with knives, rubber hose, etc., they were finally brought under control but not before ten had been arrested for their action on these two evenings. It is evident that only fines or jail interment will stop these youth gang wars. The editor exhorts the forces of law and order to continue arresting all these parties guilty of infractions of traffic and municipal laws.
I really enjoy your articles on Facebook. With regards to the article about O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. I am attaching information about the lumber mill in Lanark which operated from 1946 to 2003 in the Village employing many local people over the years.
Hope some of this information will be helpful.
Elaine Rothwell Hanna
O.E. Rothwell’s introduction to the Forest Industry started by cutting cordwood in the winter and driving it to Carleton Place by horse and sleigh. In the summer months he was hired out as a farm hand to farms in the area of Ferguson Falls.
In 1936, Ossie, as he was known, hired four private sawmills known as Custom Mills. Two were situated in the Ferguson Falls area, one at Boyd’s Settlement and one at Brightside.
With the onset of World War II, Ossie in 1940 applied to join the Army. As a result of being in the lumber business he was refused entry because he was deemed too important to the war effort at home.
In 1942 Ossie purchased Christie Donaldson’s mill which he set up on the 9ft Concession of Lanark Township. This mill operated there for two years, then was moved to Clydesville for another two years.
In 1944 he purchased Waites Brothers mill with a Crown Timber Licence of 1600 Acres in the Ompah area of Mosque Lake and along with his own mill made one large mill from the two.
This mill was set up in 1946 on South Street in Lanark adjacent to the Clyde River. This was a seasonal mill and operated from April to the end of October. In the winter months a bush camp was set up on the Crown Licence which with logs cut there and private logs purchased locally supplied the mill during the summer period.
1956 saw the business being incorporated and becoming the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. A planing mill was started in 1959 with equipment from Rothwell-Perrin Lumber Co. Ltd. in Portland, a Company which Ossie and Frank Perrin purchased in 1948 which was formerly Portland Lumber Co.
Ossie was President of this Company until 1959 when he sold his shares to Mr. Perrin and some staff members when they started to build Pre-Fabricated houses. Construction of a new sawmill was started on the same site in Lanark in 1966 and started producing Lumber on August 28th, 1967. This automated mill used less labour and the average production was 3,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.
Two Dehumidification Dry Kilns with a capacity of 40,000 board feet were built in L976. This allowed some of the lumber being kiln dried to a moisture content allowing it to be used directly in the manufacturing of furniture.
Ossie retired in 1983 and the business was purchased by Don and Jeff Rothwell. Ossie passed away June 23d, 1985. A new planing mill was started in 1987, 20% of the production was company lumber and the remaining 80% was lumber from companies in Ontario and Quebec needing their lumber planed.
The 1990’s saw a boom in the hardwood lumber industry resulting in many companies building new mills with far larger capacities of production. As a result, in 2001,, with a surplus of hardwood lumber being produced in Canada and the United States and an offshore influence many mills were forced out of business. July 2003 saw the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd.being forced to close their doors.
Nice Shirley, I hear the food was really good and very friendly atmosphere!
In the early 20’s my husband was ill. Friends used to take me for a Sunday drive for a change of scenery. We would stop at Perry’s for a snack. Without fail, Perry would cook up a big order of fried mushrooms and send them home to my husband. This was his favourite treat when he was able to drop in when he was well. My husband died in 2011 and this is still a fond memory of Perry’s kindness