Villages of Lanark County



Lanark Village 1913, looking up George Street


GeorgeStreetLanark#3The Village of Lanark was settled by Scottish emigrants from Glasgow in 1820. Mostly Paisley weavers and spinners they left the depressed time in Scotland to seek homes in Canada. This was but a part of the great tide of emigration which, beginning at the termination of the American War of 1812-15, continued unabated for a decade. In 1820, approximately 400 families arrived in Lanark Village, bringing with them skills in cotton weaving, carpentry, blacksmithing and shoemaking. A similar influx of Irish settlers arrived during the 1830’s and 1840’s. However, the growth of the area was somewhat impeded by the muddy, rocky terrain and steep slopes, which prevented easy travel. As a result, many settlers opted to reside in Perth, unwilling to make the dangerous trek to Northern Lanark. For a more extensive historical account visit:


Archie McDonald’s store and Mrs. M. Cargar’s millinery shop. 1913, in Lanark. the building, three stories with an Empire-style roof, was destroyed by fire in 1959. Photograph by: Lanark & District Museum, The Ottawa Citizen


Lanark Town Hall, 1945




Caldwell’s Store and residence with the woolen mill in the background c.1890.

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1913 Old Boys’ Reunion, Main Street, Lanark Village. Photo: Negative No. C-25995, Public Archives of Canada.


Lanark Baptist, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic, St. Andrew’s United and St. Paul’s Anglican


W. C. Caldwells Aberdeen Mills, Lanark Ontario. Grist and carding mill. Photo: Ewan R. Caldwell Collection, Negative No. PA-135197. Public Archives of Canada.


Residence and Mills of Boyd Caldwell, Lanark Ontario. Manufacturer of woollen goods and dealer in lumber and square timber.


The Victoria Hotels was well-known to the traveling public for the excellence of their cuisine and smart attendance. The Victoria had been remodeled several times and had a liberal patronage. Mr. James Pepper, the landlord, was known far and near and a kinder hearted man never lived.

Review below from THE PERTH COURIER 1890

Lanark possess the advantages of a well equipped and well conducted hotel, of which we desire to make brief mention here. Since coming under its present management about four years ago by purchase, the Victoria has been known as one of the best country hotels in Eastern Ontario. The enterprising and popular proprietor, Mr. Jas. Pepper, has neglected nothing in making the hotel all that could be desired. The house is comfortably furnished throughout, and affords every accommodation. For the convenience of commercial travellers the house has recently added sample rooms, large, well lighted and neatly painted. It has good stabling and livery in connection.




Balderson Telephone Company. It was formed in 1910 and by 1915 it had 114 subscribers! Originally 200 poles were bought and distributed by 2 men and a team of horses for 30 cents an hour. Note the phone booth out front of the house in the picture. The company wa bought by Bell Canada in 1977.


This hotel and later general store was built in the early 1850s. It was the location of the first post office. The village had 11 post masters beginning with Mr. McDonald in 1858 and ending with Earl Myers in 1989 in part of Myers’ General Store.




Photo: Libraries and Archives Canada PA-79044 – c.1900


Middleville Main St. Showing Baptist Church, Gifts Store & Post Office. Photo from the Borrowman Collection, courtesy The Middleville Museum. 1886.




The village of McDonald’s Corners, was named after three McDonald families who were among the village’s first inhabitants who were Scottish immigrants in 1821. Similar to most rural villages in Lanark County, McDonald’s Corners was once a self-sufficient community providing the local community with general stores, inns, shops along with the local blacksmith and carriage maker’s businesses, and of course a church and a school.






Watson’s Corners was founded in 1821 by immigrants from Scotland, having traveled to Canada aboard the ship ‘Prompt.’ The village was named in honour of the village’s first innkeeper and postmaster, William Watson.


Watson’s Corners Methodist Church, 1900.


Mistakenly named “Poland” really should have been named “Paul Land” after the first Postmaster, Moses Paul.



United Church in Poland, 1913.



The Harper General Store c.1910. The building was bought by John Butler in 1877 for $340 and the store served the community until about 1970. From left in the photo are Gerald Cunningham, James Cavers, Bob Anderson, G.E. “Ned” Wilson, John Butler, Jack are and George Brownlee. Photo: The Perth Courier







Residence and store of John Fumerton.


Walroth’s Store c.1920


The Rideau Ferry Inn – 1947

Nothing epitomizes Rideau Ferry’s golden years like the Rideau Ferry Inn. Starting as the Coutts House, a three storey summer hotel, it was purchased by Doug Wallace, rebuilt and renamed in 1947. A favourite spot for weddings it was best known for its Saturday night dances bringing in bands such as The Staccatos, The Digratos (a local house band from Smiths Falls), The Five D, The Townsmen, The Esquires and The Continentals featuring Dennis Staples, who would later become mayor of Smiths Falls, on lead guitar. The Inn changed owners in subsequent years and sadly burned to the ground February 1986. The Shipwreck restaurant occupies that site today.

Antler Lodge, Rideau Ferry


Bowens Store

Looking towards Smith Falls

Port Elsmley Train Station


Picture taken after 1885, as the Methodist Church (now the UnitedChurch) in the picture was not constructed until that year. Also visible are a mill, library, a dance hall and a hotel.


Clayton school house to the left


This aerial view of the south side of the village taken in 1959 shows the current Highway 7 being built. Prior to that the highway went right through the village and had to cross the one lane bridge. Photo Nancy Hudson