Front Door of the Museum

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is located in the annex of the former Rosamond Woolen Company in Almonte, Ontario. Constructed in 1867 this National Historic Site of Canada now features a blend of the old and new, all related to the history of the Mississippi Valley and the textile industry.

Almonte in 1863

In 1862 Bennett Rosamond and his brother William leased the Victoria Woolen Mills from their father under the partnership of B & W Rosamond and embarked upon a programme of rapid expansion. In 1866, they brought into the firm, now renamed B & W Rosamond & Co., George Stephen, the man whom James Rosamond had already used to secure market outlets in Montreal. Stephen, who was to become president of the Bank of Montreal and first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, gave the Rosamond’s an invaluable link to Montreal financial circles. He was a powerful figure in the Canadian textile industry, involved in complex interlocking partnerships that often tended to make those mills that were tributary to their Montreal interests function as an effective unit. William and Bennett were thus introduced into Stephen’s Cobourg Woolen concern, and Bennett into the Canadian Cotton Manufacturing Company at Cornwall. It was a measure of Bennett’s ability that he never lost control of the company to Stephen and that the Montreal financiers always played a minor role.

No. 1 Mill

In the same year, 1866, a new and much larger factory was started on Coleman’s Island at the lower falls – primarily for the manufacture of fine tweeds, a type of textile which was becoming increasingly popular. This new mill was six stories high and 300 by 60 feet. The complex was augmented by a dye house, boiler house, business offices, and a warehouse. The firm also leased water power on the upper falls upon which they built a mill for the manufacture of blankets.

In 1870 a new joint stock company, the Rosamond Woolen Company, was established with capitalization of $300,000. While some Montreal businessmen, such as George Stephen, had an interest in the firm, there was never any question where control lay. Bennett Rosamond remained both President and Managing Director until his death in 1910.

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