Welland History .ca

Historic EVENTS in and around Welland

OLD AQUEDUCT MILLS BURNED

Struck by Lightning

Loss over $15,000

              Fire, started by lightning, completely destroyed the large frame mill known latterly as “Brown’s Mills,” on the raceway at Welland, last Friday morning about 4:30 o’clock. The mill, which was owned by Robert Cooper, had not been in operation for some time past, but was used by him as a stable and store room. The teamster, Archie Hannigan, was at the mill at the time, giving the horses their morning feed, and was prostrated, but recovered in time to get out the team of heavy horses, and the driving horses, the only other team in the barn were got out by Robert Edington and George Dooley, a neighbor. Other contents of the mill, consisting of valuable machinery, hay, oats, salt, straw, fertilizer, &c., were burned. The loss is estimated at between $15,000 and $20,000, on which there was an insurance of $1500 in the London Mutual.

             The building was the largest and most substantial frame structure in town, and burned fast and fiercely, the flames pouring out of the roof a few minutes after the building was struck. The crash of the stroke was so great that the whole neighborhood was aroused, and the firemen, helped by the rain, succeeded in saving adjacent buildings, in which, however, the glass was broken by the intense heat. Cinders were carried s far away as the Y.M.C.A. grounds, fully half-a-mile, and in all probability other fires would have been started, only that the roofs were all soaking wet by the heavy rains that had fallen just before.

             The burned mills, originally known as the Aqueduct Mills, were built by late Moses Cook of St. Catharines, about the year 1850, over 60 years ago. Its original site was on the west bank of the OLD canal, (the grandfather of the present canal) a little north of the spot now occupied by Clemo’s barber shop. Mr. Cook sold to Betts & Dusenbark, pioneer residents of Welland, and they sold to the late David Cooper, previously a resident of Marshville. Mr. Cooper operated the mill, doing the principal gristing business in this section, until, on the second enlargement of the canal (1872-76) when the government purchased the mill, the site being required for the then new aqueduct-the one now in use. Government sold the building (to be moved) to late Brown Bros., who moved it to the site on Dennistoun street where it stood till it made a 24th of May bonfire last Friday morning.

             Previous to its purchase by Brown Bros. the mill, like all mills of the date of its erection, was a “stone” mill, using stones for grinding. After its removal Brown Bros. equipped it with the latest roller processes, and operated it for some years, eventually selling it to Mr. Robert Cooper, who continued its owner until the end of the chapter.

People’s Press

28 May 1912

Fire: 24 May 1912

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