Ottawa Chapter - The Lansdowne Ironworks – A Community Archaeological Project

  • March 15, 2018
  • 7:30 PM
  • Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues near Cumberland
Speakers: Art Shaw and Jeff Earl
Topic: The Lansdowne Ironworks - A Community Archaeological Project

In 2016, the purchase of a small parcel of land adjacent to the upper falls in Lyndhurst by the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands led to the opportunity for archeological investigation on the site of the Lansdowne Ironworks, the first blast furnace constructed in Ontario, in operation from c. 1801 to c. 1811.  Community fund-raising and support led to the initiation of testing on the east side of the river, the historical location of the blast furnace and accompanying casting house, in the late summer of 2017.  The results of the investigation, which was undertaken with a combination of professional archaeologists and community volunteers, indicated that in spite of later mill development on the site, vestiges of the ironworks period remained.  It is hoped that this was the start of a multi-year project that will see archaeological investigation continuing on both sides of the river, aimed at recovering artifacts and structural remains from the buildings present during the ironworks period.

Art Shaw was born and went to school near Lyndhurst, where he learned about the Lansdowne Ironworks in Grade 8 history. He has lived nearby all his life, alternating between commuting to employment at Queen’s University, and following his interests in woodworking, chairmaking, blacksmithing and local history. He was a founder of the local Municipal Heritage Committee (1984-present), a leader in the effort to save the 1857 Lyndhurst Bridge (1984-86), a founder of the township archives (1986-present), instigator in writing the book “The Rear of Leeds & Lansdowne 1796-1996” by Glenn Lockwood (1994-96), and member of the Delta Mill Society (1985-present), where he was president and project manager during the restoration of the Old Stone Mill NHS.

Jeff Earl is a professional archaeologist who has a Masters degree from the Ironbridge Institute, Birmingham University, in industrial archaeology, and is a co-principal with his wife Brenda Kennett of Past Recovery Archaeological Services Inc. based in Perth.  He has been working in cultural resource management in Ontario since 1991 and has been an Ottawa Chapter member since 2000.  He has always had an interest in nineteenth century industrial sites and has relished the opportunity to merge the chance to investigate this important early ironworks with archaeology involving enthusiastic public participation.

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