Tag Archives: steampunk

“Around the Local Fairs in 80 Days”? Lanark County Minor Steampunk Story

“Around the Local Fairs in 80 Days”? Lanark County Minor Steampunk Story



September 22 1899 Almonte Gazette

Mr. J. J. Frisbie, the aeronautic gentleman who has given a number of balloon a sessions at the Almonte and Lanark fairs in recent years, was on the bill for an ascent at the Almonte exhibition here last Friday, and it proved the most exciting and dangerous in Mr. Frisbie’s experience.



Photo by www.almontefair.ca  1894–Almonte 

Being anxious to give thorough satisfaction, he instructed his assistant to fill the air-ship to its capacity with hot air, his aim being to rise to an unusual altitude, the day being favourable for a high ascent. The assistant did so, and when all was ready, and the word was given to “Let go, all!” the balloon rose rapidly, the daring sky sailor hanging on to the parachute beneath and waving a flag as he left Mother Earth.

He had reached a height of about one thousand feet when the balloon struck a current of cool air and collapsed in a jiffy, to the horror of the spectators, all of whom were straining their eyes to see him make the descent. His assistant saw the danger and yelled to the aeronaut to ‘Cut loose!” Mr. Frisbie heard him and in the nick of time he reached for the cord that is used to let the parachute free just as the immense balloon fell in a limp mass on the side of his parachute and. tumbled off to the earth

Mr. Frisbey did not lose his nerve in the trying circumstances, and soon found himself waist deep in the swamp near the fair ground, none the worse for his narrow escape, about $50 poorer in pocket owing to the mishap, but thankful that his life was spared. He admitted it was the closest call he ever had.

The balloon on being examined later was found to be so rotten that a number of our townsmen expressed surprise that any man would risk his life with it. However, the nervy Frisbie patched up the air-chariot and took it to Prescott, where he was down for some ascensions this week. Mr. Frisbie is now a conductor on the railway from Oswego to Buffalo, and is ballooning during his holidays for the fun of the thing and to get some of what the ladies call “pin money”.



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IRSHOW, Houston, Texas 1911
Sitting, l-r: Joseph Seymour, John J. Frisbie, Rene Simon (‘flying fool’),
Edmund Audemars, Rene Barrier, Roland Garros, Peter Young (manager),
and Charles Hamilton (standing)
From AIRSHOW, Houston, Texas 1911

Photo-Story Sloane taken from John J.s biography


In September 1911 I found out that John J. Frisbie had expanded his ballooning adventures to flying and it appears that his flying machine was in the same condition as his balloon. Frisbie died in an aviation accident at the Norton County Fair all due to pride by the looks of it. (see history below)






Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune02 Sep 1911, SatPage 1




Clipped from The New York Times02 Sep 1911, SatPage 1




Clipped from The New York Times02 Sep 1911, SatPage 1



AKA J. J. Frisbee
John J. Frisbie
John J. Frisbie flying at Genesee Valley Park during the summer of 1911


Front Covers of the Almonte Fair– Click Here




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 Country Fairs 1879

Where was Almonte’s Military Headquarters?

Are You Ever too Old to Go to The Rural Fair? — Almonte

It Happened at The Richmond Fair 2012 – Photo Memories

Doin’ the Funky Chicken in Lanark County






The Steamboat Picnics on Pretty Island



Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


I did some researching for  information about Dick Willis for the story called: People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find and found this neat story about Pretty Island by Howard Morton Brown.



Steampunk Ottawa Picnic-Photo-Ottawa Citizen


Steamboat Picnic- by Howard Morton Brown

While firemen have built up a company they did not forget the social side of life.  Years ago the firemen’s picnic was the event of the season.  It was held on Pretty’s Island, and the date was fixed to correspond with the ripening of *John McCann’s corn – his contribution to the feast, as that was a big item on the bill of fare.






The steamer *Enterprise was donated free by *Senator McLaren.  He also gave a substantial cash donation to purchase groceries and the said groceries to be purchased at Sibbitt’s.



People dressed up in costumes pose for a photo at the Ottawa Steampunk Picnic at Strathcona–Ottawa Citizen

One fireman was hiding a basket containing a bottle of ‘milk,’ under a clump of bushes at the water’s edge when smash came a rock over the bush and when he got the water out of his eyes the bottle was gone.


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Steampunk Ottawa Picnic-YouTube

While the women spread the table cloths on the ground and were emptying the well-filled baskets, the corn and tea were bubbling in the boilers sending forth an appetizing odor that could be felt over at *Shail’s Settlement.

A glance at the names of the committee in charge of the picnic is enough to convince the most skeptical that a better day’s outing could not be held – such names as the late Sid Anable, Bill Whalen, Bill Patterson, Joe Wilson, Alex. Wilson, Oliver Virtue.  Wylie’s barge was towed along for a dancing platform for the home trip and with the late George and Dick Willis playing the fiddles – it was not called an orchestra in those days – such foot-inspiring music was produced by these two musicians as has never been equalled.




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Photo from Joan Halpenny–These are from my grandparents and father. ( McRostie’s) I’m guessing late 1800s and early 1900 s. The people in the photos would all be dead now but perhaps relatives might recognize them.
Can anyone help?

Senator Peter McLaren (politician)–Click here

*John McCann-Mr. John McCann of Ramsay died on Thursday, February 16,1911, after a lengthy illness.  Deceased was only 44 years of age, and leaves besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. McCann, a widow, three daughters and one son, also six sisters. The sisters are Mrs. Robt. McIntosh, Almonte; Mrs. Wm. Wallace, Preston; Mrs. Wm. Lawrie and Mrs. Wm. Armstrong, Ramsay; Mrs. Robert Crawford, Carleton Place; and Mrs. Wm. Allison, Winnipeg.

*May, 1870—Carleton Place Herald:

The steamer Enterprise has now made several successful trips between Carleton Place and Ennisville.  We have not had time or opportunity, owing to the demolition of our old building and the erection of new premises, to avail ourselves of the pleasure.  We notice also several packages of freight leaving the steamer.  We believe that our spirited member, Mr. Code, is sending his manufactured cloth to Montreal by steamer via Carleton Place.  Soon also picnics and other social gatherings will be the order of the day.  When the locks at Ennisville and Fergusons Falls are built the property of our beautiful village will be a fixed fact.” –James Poole

The navigation scheme collapsed and in the spring of 1872 the Enterprise, in a neglected state of repair, was sold by auction.  The Enterprise,a paddle wheeler which could carry a hundred passengers, operated on the lakes and river in the service of the lumber industry under the ownership of Peter McLaren and the Canada Lumber Company for about twenty-five years.  It was made available throughout those growing years of the town as an excursion steamer for many summer and social activities.


*The rows of cottages along the east side of the Middle Lake are next – Shail’s, the Coleman High Bank and Petrie’s Shores, served by a good paved road.

“Suggestions for School, Picnic, or Travelling Lunches-1904

In boxes, or pretty baskets of suitable size and light weight, may be found in our stores; some of them fitted with compartments and receptacles for the various articles which are usually prepared for such occasions…For a travelling or picnic party of any large number, and particularly if there is to be some conveyance to and from the place for luncheon, it might be advisable to provide one’s self with a hamper elegantly fitted with every needful or imaginary article. They are marvels of convenience and help greatly in keeping everything separate and in perfect condition and really tempt the appetite. Their cost is generally equal to their convenience,, but for those whose purses will not permit such a luxury, a steamer cooker with its various compartments will be found a fair rival, as far as convenience goes. For the traveller on a short journey, and where dining cars are not to be found or patronized, there is nothing better than a paper box and some bottles or jars of convenient size, which may be left when their usefulness is ended, in some waste bin by the way. There will be but few ounces of extra or useless weight, which is not the case with the imported hampers. These often weigh, when empty, more than some persons could well carry. The following menus will show the great variety one may arrange for either of the occasions when such meals are needed:
No. 1. Spiced beef sliced, rye muffins, cup custard, bananas.
No. 2. Roast beef or cold steak sandwiches, canned fruit, hermits.
No. 3. Stuffed eggs, buttered rolls, oranges.
No. 4. Chicken sandwiches, tiny rice puddings, peaches, milk.
No. 5. Cheese sandwiches, gingerbread, prunes.
No. 7. Fishballs, Graham bread and butter, prune whip, lemonade.
No. 8. Baked bean sandwiches, potato salad, apples, gingersnaps.
No. 9. Jelly or jam sandwiches, sliced ham, little plain cakes, milk.
No. 10. Lettuce sandwiches, stem strawberries with sugar, cream cheese balls, cookies.
Formerly such lunches were confined to sandwiches, cakes, etc., with perhpas a bottle of cold coffee or lemonade; but as cakes and rich sweets are often the things least to be desired, it is wise to provide some receptacle in which a greater variety of foods may be carried. Small fruit jars, with glass covers and rubbers, which may be tightly sealed,–tiny tumblers for a small portion of stewed fruit, or soft pudding, tiny custards, puddings and timbales, meat or fish, salads and many other foods, will all find a place in the luchh box prepared by one who is willing to give some thought and time to this duty. Waxed paper is almost a necessity, if things are to be kept separate and in attractive condition. Plates made of wood as thin as pasteboard are cheap and especially convenient for picnics and travellers, where no table is procurable; and a cheap knife, fork and spoon add little to the weight, but much to one’s comfort.”
What to Have for Luncheon, Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln [Dodge Publishing Co.:New York] 1904 (p. 41-44)


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 and now in The Townships Sun


The Laird of Pretty Island

Tales from Dinky Dooley Island

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find

Before and After in Carleton Place

Fires in Carleton Place–James Gillies House

Bridge Street V.E. Day Parade Photos- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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


Steampunk Ottawa Coming to PuppetsUp! Parade


Steampunk Ottawa will be at the PuppetsUp! Parade this year!

Join the good professor (along with his co-host, Ms. Josée Canuel) and have fun at the “Puppets Up Parade” as part of the Almonte Festival!

When and where is the parade?

1:45 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday & Sunday,  (August 6-7) down the main street of Almonte from the top at the library to the Heritage Mall at the bottom.  Just follow the crowds!



PuppetsUp is August 5-7

Last year’s PuppetsUp!





Haunted Heritage Cupcakes by Shannon Michie-mcdonald Tonight at the Museum!


What goes along with our Haunted Heritage Event tonight at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum? CUPCAKES by  Carleton Place’s very own Shannon Michie-mcdonald



The first ones are “B52 Boo!” A chocolate base cupcake with hints of baileys, kaluha and ammeretto , with a coffee cream cheese frosting.
The second is a Candy Corange Cream Dream. It is a French vanilla cake with orange lemon icing.
The third is Nutty Nightmare and that is a chocolate cupcake with grizzly grey peanut butter frosting and a fondant full moon. It is embellished with a dark cherry chocolate full moon or quarter moon.
 We have also added  speaker Emma Drummond  (yes Lorna Drummond’s very own Granddaughter) who is in her last year of Humber College and interning at Cole Funeral Services and will have some interesting things to say.

Speakers are: Linda Seccaspina, author of The Tales of Carleton Place and Tilting the Kilt- Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place. Also Jennifer Fenwick Irwin curator of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum will have a brief duscussion about the display of yesterday’s rites and traditions that will be only available to view that night.

Honourary Greeter Guest will be: Town of Carleton Place Councillor Sean Redmond. 

Guest speakers will be: 

Steven Robert Morrison

Well known Tarot, Palmistry and Facereader from Ottawa will discuss all sorts of interesting traditions and symbolism of funerals etc. 

Steven, has been active in the spiritual and the metapsychic fields of study for the most part of his life. Following a path and exploring the varied ideas and philosophies of many faiths. Always outspoken and with both the ability to say “what needs to be said” while all the time remaining diplomatic, honest and understanding.Steven, has proven he as the ability to see things that seem to lie just beyond that of the ordinary and the everyday.With more than a decade of doing this as a source of fulfillment and as a joy, and with more that 35,000 individual readings– we know what he has to say about the rites of the departed will be of great interest.

Time Warp Wives?



Are these women retreating into the past,  or are they are retreating into nostalgia and romanticism? This 30 minute video is quite the eye opener. People retreat to the past all the time. One of my favourite ‘time-warp” groups pictured below–Steampunk Ottawa at Puppets Up! in Almonte that remind me of my former life. Keep up the good work– you are nothing short of fabulous!



My Steampunk home







Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

The River Dance of the McArthur Mill in Carleton Place



McArthur Island in Carleton Place was once connected by two short bridges. You can see the original wooden bridge in the above picture. This site was once used by the local Indians and settlers as a portage across the Mississippi River. In 1870 Archibald McArthur built his woolen mill of rubble wall constructions- one foot thick limestone blocks with another foot of gravel between—which was a customary building technique in those days. On the side stands a protected  grove of Hackberry trees. One day stop your car and notice an interesting  assembly of wheels and gears resting at the end of the weir and against the building. Steampunk in its original form.


This is a fine example of the turbine water wheel that powered the mill. By the time the mill was built millrights had learned to mount the often not quite true turbine wheels outside the main stone walls on free standing timbers. This was done so as to prevent the end of the mill from being literally shaken to pieces as happened on occasions. On the metal gears there are teak wood teeth. At one point  the McArthur mill did not have a basement floor. The river ran under the building, this enabling the raw wool to be washed directly under the swiftly moving current. The river tributary that you see flowing by the old mill was actually a man made channel. Each time I look at it it reminds me of the day my youngest son slipped and fell off the edge and landed on the rocks below. Thankfully a kind Carleton Place individual rescued him.



In 1877 the McArthur woolen mill, equipped to operate by water power of the lower falls, was leased and reopened by William H. Wylie when the country’s business depression became less severe. In 1881 John Gillies of Carleton Place bought the McArthur woollen mill at the present Bates & Innes site from its first owner Archibald McArthur. The reported price was $40,000. W. H. Wylie, lessee of the McArthur mill, also bought the Hawthorne woolen mill from its new owner James Gillies at a price reported as $19,000. The brick addition was built in 1901 and originally produced fine worsted and tweeds and eventually merged as part of Bates and Innes with the Gillies mills to produce the Ottawa Valley brand of wool products.


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I have added this picture to the Gillies Mill Blog so you can see how they redirected the riverbed to run next to the mill. There are maps of the river on that blog. Thanks to Jayne Henry of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum for this new found picture of Gillies Mill.


MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain

Ladies Who Lunch Carleton Place– Steampunk Style


Steampunk refers to a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy—also in recent years a fashion and lifestyle movement—that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

When you come to the Ladies Who Lunch event in Carleton Place June 6 it not only gives you entry to our local Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum after—- it allows you to come visit Springside Hall (1867) with 22 rooms of whimsy. Linda Seccaspina has created one of her basement rooms into a steampunk room. The furniture was designed by Linda and built by her friend Kevin . Another friend Dave Goodings from Almonte designed another chair. Only with a ticket to Ladies Who Lunch can you see Springside Hall.