Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, October 8, 2018

Bridge Work

 I concluded a recent post about Delta Ontario with a photo of the village's early stone bridge, done in by the forces of improvement in 1961.

At the end of the post, I mentioned the historic and beautiful stone arch bridge in Lyndhurst Ontario. I also referred to a local force for good, Orland French, who had hinted in an email that he was implicated in the salvation of this lovely structure.
Until I can call out the journalist, and the story, I will share with you what I can glean about the spot. These photos were taken years ago (hint: I scanned the photos we took on that visit.) We have been in town since, but always on our way somewhere, towing a wee travel trailer, and have stopped only for a takeaway coffee. Time to return.

But a few words (until I can coax more from Orland) about the bridge in Lyndhurst. First, its location. Lyndhurst is in the township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. That is not what I learned at S.S.#3 North Marysburgh, when Miss Eaton had us chiming off all the counties and county towns of Ontario. I must had my back turned with the Provincial Conservatives brought about municipal amalgamation after their 1995 election in pursuit of "efficiencies."

All that being unsaid, Lyndhurst's bridge is a vestigial branch of a fascinating industrial history. This village (unclear just which waterway it straddles, is it Lyndhurst Creek or the Gananoque River, into which it flows?) I offer a 1787 Surveyor's Map, though I'm unsure how much it will help us.

Like so many bucolic little communities, Lyndhurst has an industrial past; it's been known by that lovely name since only 1846. Try the name Furnace Falls on for size. In 1801 Wallis Sunderlin's Lansdowne Iron Works (now a NHS) brought life to the place. The smelter burned (ahem) in 1811; other mills were established in 1827.

The masonry arch bridge (1856/7, oldest in Ontario) for which Lyndhurst is now famous was designed by John Roddick, built by Miles Fulford and Simon Ransom. Judging by the number of plaques Denis is reviewing, most of Lyndhurst's industrial history is 'virtual.'

In the absence of other Lyndhurst views, I offer a couple of shots of the Gananoque River at, well, Gananoque. A few buildings hint at that fine city's industrial past. A future post will range further.

And who knows, maybe Orland will relate that bridge story...

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