Blakeney Bridge and Cheese Factory

an LCGS volunteer group-researched document led by Kirsten

In 2022, the state of the bridge over the Mississippi River at Blakeney was a hot topic within the county. Like several in Eastern Ontario, this bridge needs occasional closing in the spring during the high water levels period. Engineers throughout the area were busy inspecting and confirming the continued use of bridges affected. After years of rushing spring waters, wear and tear it was agreed the bridge requires replacement.

The photo on the left is the bridge as it was built in 1915. It consists of three structures as shown in this painting by Doris Comba (1968) of Almonte of the earliest bridge whose parts were removed or replaced to become the current bridge. Mrs. Comba, wife of Murray Comba painted this from a photo card. The paint is displayed at the home of Mrs. Munro in Almonte. Until the Producers dairy was built in Almonte her husband, Bill, drove across the bridge with his team of horses to bring milk and cream to the cheese factory on the north side of the bridge. The photo on the right is the bridge as of 2022.

Source Lanark County: “In 2000, the County undertook a major rehabilitation of the Blakeney Bridge in order to extend the life of the structure by 25 years.  The rehabilitation included replacing the railings with a new thrie beam guiderail and handrail and repairing the substructure and superstructure, which involved removal and replacement of sections of the deck and wingwalls and the entire ballast wall at all abutments.  New approach guiderail systems were also installed at this time. The rehabilitated structure remained at a load posting of 12 tonnes.

 When building a new bridge many rules and regulations come into place and after the cultural heritage evaluation report and heritage impact assessment was completed as per a regulation of the Ontario Heritage Act, it’s been deemed of cultural heritage significance.

LCGS, Kristen lead the group in researching the history of the Cheese Factory “Blakeney Cheese Factory” at the north end of the bridge.

On Tue, Jun 27, 2023, at 10:33 AM Kirsten wrote:
Good morning

In researching the Blakeney and Waba cheese factories, I have come across the following articles/information that lead me to believe that the Blakeney Cheese factory was once the Glasgow cheese factory and neither that of Waba nor Pakenham.
Article 1 – The Arnprior Chronicle – 12 May 1932 p4 – Glasgow is losing cheese factory
Article 2 – Almonte Gazette – 27 May 1932 p5 Cox of Pakenham building Cheese Factory in Blakeney
Article 3 (obit) – The Ottawa Journal – 23 May 1952 p32 – Cheese Manufacturer James P Cox Dies
Article 4 – Almonte Gazette – 19 May 1933 p5 – Blakeney – cheese factory opened under mgmt of Mr Cox of Pakenham
Article 5 – Almonte Gazette – 19 May 1933 p5 – Pakenham Cheese commenced ops Mr John Redmond manufacturing
Also, I compiled information from a few editions of the “List of Cheese Factories and Creameries in Canada” published by the Department of Agriculture. The 1928 edition includes Glasgow, Pakenham, Rosebank (owner J.B. Wylie), and Waba. While the 1932 edition includes ‘Pakenham Cheese and Butter Company’ and ‘Snedden Cheese Factory and Creamery’ – Glasgow, Rosebank and Waba no longer appear. Note that Glasgow’s 1928 registration number was reassigned to the Snedden factory in 1932; see two attached docs. (Note also that the Waba 1928 registration number was reassigned to the new Appleton cheese factory in 1932; the previous Appleton factory was destroyed by fire in 1931.)

The “transcribed” (edited) version of Mrs. Ringereide’s article. Please note, under Rosedale Cheese Factory, I change the name of Mrs. MacIntosh to McIntosh (Mc instead of Mac), as I believe I identified her in the Middleville museum’s ancestry tree:

The specific cheese factories mentioned in her article are Appleton, Rosedale, Tennyson, and Balderson. I found the attached picture of Rosedale c.1910 that you may wish to use. It was attached to one of Linda Seccaspina’s blog posts. The attached picture of the Balderson factory comes from the Perth Remembered website; page on Rural Life – on which there are many other cheese factory pictures.

Her article also includes the Mammoth Cheese created at Perth. Here is a link to a photo in the LAC collection of the “World’s largest cheese, 22,000 lbs., loaded on C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) flat cars in Perth, Ont., Sept. 1892” and of “Poster advertising the Mammoth Cheese made at the Dominion Experimental Dairy Station, Perth, for display at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago”.

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