North Burgess Township


North Burgess Township

Allan’s Mills

Lot 12 Conc 10, North Burgess Township on Grant’s Creek.

On land acquired by Francis Allan, in 1841, from William Morris, south of the Upper Scotch Line on Grant’s Creek, John Allan operated a carding mill from 1851. William Allan, born in Ontario in 1833, became proprietor of the carding mill and also built a sawmill and grist mill from 1856. He later added a shingle mill, grocery and dry goods store, as well as a blacksmith shop and post office (in 1872). William’s son, James, worked as the blacksmith at one point.

At its height, Allan’s Mills included a wagon maker, shoemaker, carpenter and two blacksmiths. The surrounding area was dotted with other small mills that included the McCabe Mill, the Ritchie Mill and the Bowes Mill. A school located on the Scotch Line was shared by all the surrounding settlements.

By the late 1890s, business was beginning to slip. Timber supplies had become depleted and farmers were making a gradual transition from wheat to dairy farming. Many of the mills did not survive the upheaval.

William Allan got out of the milling business at a good time. In 1892, he sold the grist mill to the Burgess Milling Company. The mill reportedly stayed in business until the 1970s. The grocery and dry goods store was run by William until his death in 1908, and James took over the post office until rural mail delivery was established in 1914.

Today Allan’s Mills is one of the few ghost towns that remains relatively intact. The stately stone grist mill has been restored and is now used as a private dwelling. Behind it stands one of sawmills, now used for storage. Both the general store and blacksmith shop are still standing, as is the handsome Allan home.

John Matthews is responsible for the restoration of the mill, general store and blacksmith shop, and in 2010 it was bought by new owners. William Allan was a prominent man in the township and is remembered as being a farmer, mill owner, store keeper, post master, councilor and township treasurer. (sources -Linda Seccaspina, Jeri Daryleyko and Tay Valley Township website).

Bowes Mills (1823)

The current land on which the Bowes Mill sits, was deeded and situated at Lot 17, Concession 1 of the Bathurst Ward. Archibald Fraser built the dam and sawmill on the property and sold it in 1833 to Henry Glass for £400. Mr. Glass owned and operated the mill from 1833 until he sold the property to Joshua Adams in 1839.

After he bought the property, Joshua Adams rebuilt the mill and ran it until 1843, when he sold the property to Adam Scott Elliott for £650. The three Elliott brothers ran the sawmill and gristmill until 1856 when they sold the property to John Allan for £3000. John Allan built a house on the north side of the river and operated the mill until 1868. The property belonged to James Laurie between 1883 and 1891, after which Louis Badour operated the mills. In 1895, Louis Badour sold the mill and water rights to the Town of Perth.

The dam and grist mill were rebuilt at this time and equipped as a hydro plant. This mill would generate the town of Perth’s first power in 1896. The mill continued to generate power until 1922. The site lay idle for a few years, however, in 1929, Anson Bowes first began to rent the property. He set up a grist mill and in 1939 he bought the property and water rights. The mill continued to run for a few years; however a fire in 1952 destroyed the building and machinery.

After the fire the building was restored and turned into an historic site and museum. In 1993 Arthur and Helen Bowes purchased the property which is still an historic site. (from Tay Valley Township website).


3 Rosamond Street East
Almonte, Ontario K0A 1A0
Phone: (613) 256-3754
Email: [email protected]

Year-Long Hours

The Museum is open from 1-4pm Tuesday thru Saturday. This includes the Permanent and Temporary Exhibits as well as the Gift Shop.