15 April 2013

Perth Historical Society Meeting: April 17, 2013

Our Historic Mills: An Illustrated Tour of the Mills & Sites of the Area, is the topic for the April 17 meeting of the Perth Historical Society, a photographic tour of the area historic mills and former mill sites, touching on many sites not generally known to the public.

"The opening of Lanark County in the early 1800s triggered the construction of dozens of mills throughout the settled area, harnessing the water power of our local streams. A recent paper lists over 40 area mill sites along the Tay, Fall, Clyde and Mississippi Rivers. The mills sawed lumber and shingles, de-barked logs, ground grain and minerals, carded and spun wool, and, later, even produced power, for the newly-electrified Town of Perth. Interwoven with many of the early mills are the names of prominent area families – Thom, Haggart, Caldwell, Ritchey, Adams, and Playfair, amongst others.

Although some mills operated into the mid-1900s, most had long since disappeared. However, several are still with us, maintained as reminders of the proud tradition, as the Code Mill in Perth - or standing as ghostly ruins - the Ritchie Mill of Tay Valley Township. The remnants of others may still be found along the edge of streams, such as in early, industrialised Port Elmsley, where they are gradually giving up their secrets and stories to local researchers.

This illustrated session will present these area mills and mill sites, some of their little-known stories and the local personalities who owned them. The presentation will be based on both early and present-day photos of the mills and sites, including some details of those mills still standing, thanks to the Lanark County Camera Club.

Presenter, David Taylor of Glen Tay, has been documenting area mills since 2005, when a list of candidate mills was required for a photo-shoot by the Lanark Camera Club. His interest arises from a combination of career in the wood products industry and a six-decades passion for history and the genealogies of several area families. He is a member of the Perth Historical Society Committee and Tay Valley Township’s 200 Anniversary Working Group.

This evening will be capped with an Internet presentation on the new interactive digital map that Tay Valley Township has produced to display, and guide visitors to, the township’s historical and cultural sites http://tayvalleytwp.ca/interactive-map/."

The meeting are open to the public at 7:30 pm at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth. (“Toonie Fee”). For further information, call Ellen Dean (613-264 8362) or David Taylor (613-264 0094).

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