Tag Archives: lumber yard

Help Thy Neighbour in Carleton Place- Ronnie Waugh Fire 1959

Help Thy Neighbour in Carleton Place- Ronnie  Waugh Fire 1959

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Photo from Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–Around 1950 the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Moore Streets looked like this. Originally the site of W.A. Nichols’ Sons Lumber, it became W & S Building Supplies around 1948.
Mac’s Milk, which remains on the site today (as simply Mac’s), was built in 1988. It was then known as Waugh and Snedden.


I have always believed that the old days of “Help Thy Neighbour”, are never over. At least that was the way it worked out in Carleton Place on March 24th of 1959. That Tuesday what could have been a disastrous fire at the Nichols Lumber and Planing Mill Fast was minimized by the efficient work by the Carleton Place Ocean Wave volunteer fire brigade.

After four hours the fire was out, but the workshop and mill contained a gutted interior with windows gone and the flooring and walls eaten away. Faced with this blow, and with little insurance, Ronnie Waugh owner and recent purchaser of what was Carleton Place’s oldest business sadly surveyed the damage. Thursday followed Wednesday as a nightmare of debris had to be cleared.



Built after the fire– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Good Friday arrived and a host of good Samaritans led by Stewart Comba, president of the Canadian Legion Branch 192 turned up to help Ronnie. Over 75 Legionnaires and fellow townsmen turned out in their oldest clothes and invaded the fire-scarred buildings. Materials for repair were available from the storage sheds of the mill.  Muscle, ingenuity and skill were also available from the town of Carleton Place.

The volunteers pitched in and the wreckage became beehive of activity. As the church bells in the town tolled, a group of amateur and professional carpenters enacted the Christian doctrine of “do unto others’. Flooring of one-inch hardwood was laid to take the weight of the planing machines being rapidly cleaned and overhauled. Windows that were broken and sagging were replaced, glazed and fitted.

Coffee served up by the young daughters of Mr. Waugh was consumed as the work continued. Again on Saturday the volunteers returned and the walls were repaired and framed in. The machines, newly painted, were set up and placed into position. The band of helpers carried on until dusk even though their wives had already placed uneaten suppers back in the oven to warm.

As I write this it should be described that a lump has gathered in my throat. Ronnie Waugh, the grateful new owner and a man with energy and vision, summed up my thoughts when he said  to the volunteers with a gashed and bleeding hand caused by broken glass during the clean-up.

“They have done in a  matter of hours what money and a bank loan would take weeks to do”.

Ronnie and 10 employees were back at work in what could have been an almost derelict business thanks to the help of many unnamed volunteers and friends. Easter week was definitely proven in Carleton Place as it still does today.



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 24 Mar 1959, Tue,
  3. Page 2



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 (USA)




Story of a Locket- Waugh Family

Searching for Elizabeth Cram–Updates on Andrew Waugh

Splinters of Sinders Nichols and Brides

Perth Planing Mill –The Second Oldest Lumber Yard in Ontario



Why am I documenting a planing mill? When I grew up as a child I lived next door to a lumber yard and down the street was the local sawmill. Some of my fondest memories are playing in that lumberyard and there is nothing like the smell of fresh cut wood.

Perth Courier, June 11, 1970

Perth Planing Mill

A few weeks ago, the Perth Planing Mill held its 120th anniversary celebration—this mill having begun operation in Perth when Alex Kippen founded the company in 1850.  Mr. Kippen had attended school at Tayside in Scotland before coming to Perth in 1833.  Between 1833 and 1850 he was the man responsible for the construction of the town hall at a cost of $10,000, the Bank of Montreal and many of the stately homes on Drummond Street.

The Planing Mill’s main function in those days was the manufacture of wood products mainly windows and doors.  Custom lumber for farm work took up a large part of the business.

Alexander Kippen, son of Duncan Kippen, worked with the planning mill up to the  time of his appointment as postmaster.  It was then that the youngest son, also named Alex Kippen (and the father of Mrs. N.E. Sproule who still lives in Perth) took over the business.

When the youngest son of the founder ran the business he formed a partnership with William Allen who had a saw mill at the far end of Peter Street by the Tay River.  The two worked together for some years with Mr. Allen shipping lumber up to the mill where Mr. Kippen and his 20 employees turned it into sashes and doors.  Eventually, this partnership fell through and a few years later Peter Clement took over the mill.  He ran it for a few years and then his son Bill Clement took over the operations.

25 years ago Bob McLenaghan began working part time at the mill.  He used to deliver lumber by horse and cart.  Soon Mr. McLenaghan went into partnership with Mr. Clement and later took over total operation of the planning mill.

There was only one serious and perhaps exciting moment in the long history of the mill.  20 years ago lightening struck the tall smokestack on Sunday afternoon.  Fire was raging throughout the building when the doors were opened but the building was saved from any really serious damage by the fire fighters and others on hand.

Mrs. Sproule recollects her father checking the mill every evening for fire hazards.  She said her father was very proud of the fact that they had no fires.  Today the mill is still in the hands of Bob McLenaghan and his son John works at the mill as assistant manager.  Mr. McLenaghan is proud of the fact that the Perth Planing Mill is the second oldest lumber yard in Ontario.  The oldest is situated in southern Ontario.

Info below from the  Perth Planning Mill Supply


1836 The roots of Perth Planing Mill begin when Alexander Kippen commences a woodworking business at 44 Wilson St. west manufacturing sash, door and blinds, which then grows to include a planing operation.                    IMG_6603-01
1875 Kippens Mill purchases 350,000 bdft of lumber at $14/thousand
1916 P.W. Clement Purchases the Company and eventually changes the name to Perth Planing Mill.  Continual advancements are made to facilities and operations, paving the way towards retailing              IMG_6599
1947 A Partnership  is formed between William Clement and R.C. McLenaghan, and the business continues to evolve, primarily into a retail lumber and building materials (LBM) operation.              IMG_6586
1980 Under John McLenaghan the company grows to include a broader range of retail products, larger  warehousing, modern delivery equipment, and a number of LBM industry banners
Today The current operation resides at 25 Lanark Rd. While the planer has ceased operating, the retail operations continue in a larger and more focused format.  Now in its 3rd McLenaghan generation, PPM Supply offers indoor lumber storage, an exceptional delivery service, and a selection of products for those focused on
the business of residential, agricultural and light commercial construction.


The World of William Abner Nichols

Before and After at Centennial Park

Splinters of Sinders Nichols and Brides

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

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