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What Didn’t You Know? The New Town Hall 1897

What Didn’t You Know? The New Town Hall 1897



 Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

In August 30th of 1897 an article was published in the Ottawa Journal about the new Carleton Place Town Hall and it was said that it was a building of which any town or city would be proud of. Of course in true fashion it was also included in the headlines that this new building might cause a new row at the next election. 


Carleton Place Town Hall. ‘Our thriving neighbour— Carleton Place— is going to build a town hall,  and to cost about $6,000 or $7,000. We understand that our townsman, Mr. Wm. Willoughby, has got the contract, and will begin work as soon as the snow disappears next spring. The new building will be erected on the north side of the river, and in rear o f Mr. Wm. Glover’s property.

Almonte Gazette–Oct 27 1871


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1903 Postcard.. Never seen this one before.. Front and back photo–Click on each



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Thanks to Laura @Restovation — we now have this complete photo on file and available for all to look at online. Thank you. Downtown Carleton Place 1909



Built on the south side of the Mississippi riverbanks the new town hall was just about to be opened. The building which faced Bridge Street was to house “a joint” town hall, fire and police station, concert hall and new library.

It was advertised as a building that would astonish strangers by its proportions and ornateness. The cost was currently at $25,000 and there were still yet bills to be settled. There was a good many ratepayers that were furious that the cost was above and beyond of the initial quote of $12,000 and they swore that council would be held responsible for such monstrous costs at the next election. In fact the media wrote that the council was said to have run away with their duties to their constituents, and it was built solely as a monument to them.



Robert McDonaldRobert McDonald Photography

The newspaper also flip flopped and said that they had to admit the building was a credit to the town of Carleton Place built of  such fine stone, fancy dressings and a slate roof. The ground floor would house the fire hall where the engine would be kept, along with the police station and the janitor’s quarters. The back of the fire hall opened on to the river by means of a tank under the fire hall. Fires anywhere near the town hall could be simply fought without taking the engine out of position. The suction pipe was simply let down into a hole in the floor and the hose carried out to the scene of the fire. Carleton Place had a Ronald fire engine at that time and Mr. Peden the town clerk has said it had given out every satisfaction and prevented many a serious fire. It was reported that they had the same fire engine for 12 years.


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The Ottawa Journal30 Aug 1897, MonPage 3


On the first floor the council chamber, a really handsome room wainscotted in polished birch with painted metal ceilings and stained glass windows. On the same floor was the mayor’s and town clerks office and a suite of three rooms to be used by the free library. The main entrance on this floor with all its glass doors, brass fixings, the polished steps and detail of finish of luxury was something only a city might have.


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Robert McDonaldRobert McDonald Photography–From the Mississippi Mudds – Aladdin Jr production on February 18, 2017

On the second floor approached by an ornate staircase the grand hall was the full size of the building. This will be where public gatherings are held and the town will rent it out for concerts and to different theatrical companies. The arrangements of this room are fairly modern. There is a large stage 60 by 30 feet and slanting which is in accordance with the latest views on theatrical architecture ,and this hall will hold 1000 people.

Between the floor of the stage and the ceiling of the fire hall is a long hall to be set aside for use for the members of the volunteer fire company. They will use it for their own social gatherings and to store their fire clothes in. At the end of the building next to the fire hall is a fire hose tower where a capital view of the town can be had. The architect that deserves enormous credit is Mr. G. W. King of Toronto. Carleton Place should say proudly,

“Come down and see our new town hall” and then aside, “It comes high but we must have it.”



Painting of town hall by Blaine Cornell



Councillor Sean Redmond​ was the mastermind behind these vintage looking glass coasters–NOW AVAILABLE at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 When the present Carleton Place Town Hall was built, the central building on its site, said to be the second dwelling built in the town, was the home of Mrs. William Morphy,  daughter of George Willis, where she had lived to 1888 and the age of 85, a widow for over fifty years. The town hall was built on the spot very a ‘shanty’ was built.






Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 20 Oct 1897, Wed, Page 6



Jennifer Fenwick Irwin​ is looking for looking for a company of young girls to perform an artistic march and sword drill at the Town Hall 120th anniversary event!.. check the posting about the town hall concert below in celebration of its opening and comments. Gymnastics and drills were quite prominent in Carleton Place. Know any names? I see a few I recognize. Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 27 Nov 1897, Sat, Page 12


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal27 Sep 1895, FriPage 5


Sept 8 1899



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  07 Oct 1897, Thu,  Page 6


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The Ottawa Journal05 Dec 1898, MonPage 6

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal27 Mar 1900, TuePage 7



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  27 Oct 1897, Wed,  Page 6



Shenanigans of the Monday Night Town Hall Opening

Carleton Place Town Hall Sued For Cupolas!

Why is the Town Hall Stage Slanted? Is it Collapsing?

Pardon me Boys — Is That the Carleton Place Choo Choo?


Saved By The Bell in Carleton Place? What Does the Photo Say?


More LIMITED Carleton Place items. Get them fast!!!–Be the first on your block to have these vintage 50s style glass beverage coasters. Ring in the 120th anniversary of the Carleton Place Town Hall in style. LIMITED stock.. $10 for one coaster–While you are sipping that beverage on a warm summer night you can read all about the history of the town hall here. Buy them at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.


150th Anniversary facts

Community Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 9– It was 1903!

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

Did You Know About the Leech School in Carleton Place?


In 1910 a public vote in Carleton Place endorsed a waterworks installation bylaw.  Twenty-five thousand feet of steel pipe was ordered from Scotland.  The excavation contractor from Kingston began work with thirty Bulgarians, who were quartered in the old Caldwell sawmill boarding house in the town park, a dozen Italians accommodated in the Leech school house building, and a dozen Romanians in addition to local excavation workers.


The Leech School was built of Beckwith limestone by marble works owner Mr. Leech as his residence along with *Isaac Willoughby. This building also served as a two-room school for many years known as the Leech School.


Marble dealer James Leech lived there and then it was owned by James Jelly turn of century, who worked for CPR as a road master. It became a school WE THINK in 1895 – that’s the first time it is marked as “school house” on a map.

Photo attached taken of Leech School in 1901–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


With files and photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


At a special meeting of the school board last evening it was decided to lease the Leech building on Lansdowne Ave­nue in order to procure additional school accommodation. Mr. H. Bonis, of St. Marys, Ont, was engaged as teacher of classics in the high school, at a salary of $700, and Miss Bella Ross, of Almonte, as teacher of modern languages, at a salary of $500.
*It was built in 1871 by Isaac Willoughby (1846 – 1899) who was married to Henrietta Bond in Carleton Place in 1868 and is identified in Central Canada Directory — 1876, as a stonemason living on Moore Street.   It is known that he and his brother William worked on the Leech School, the Jelly residence and the “large public school building” (Central School — since demolished, Post Office). Isaac was accidentally killed in 1899 when a stone hit his head while working at Cardinal, Ontario on one of the sections of the St. Lawrence Canal system.