Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
Rosamond Woolen Mill
Mississippi Valley Textile Mill
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The building at 3 Rosamond Street East, known as the Mississippi Valley Textile Mill, is situated near the Mississippi River (a subsidiary of the Ottawa River) between Shepherd and Mary Streets in the former Town of Almonte in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills. The two-storey rubble stone building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style. The warehouse was constructed in 1872 and the office space was added in 1904.
The site is protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the Municipality of Mississippi Mills under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 26-1994). In 1986 the Mississippi Valley Textile Mill was designated as a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada.
Located on Rosamond Street East, between Shepherd and Mary Streets, the Mill Annex is situated alongside the Mississippi River. Water provided a low-cost energy source because 60 per cent of the drop in the Mississippi River occurs at Almonte, making it an ideal location for a mill. There were many other mills operating in the Ottawa Valley at the same time as the Mississippi Valley Textile Mill. During the last half of the 19th Century, the Mississippi Valley area of Eastern Ontario was one of the most important wool-cloth-producing districts in Canada.
Mississippi Valley Textile Mill is associated with the emergence of the textile industry in Upper Canada. Unable to grow crops on the rocky landscape of the region, early settlers in Lanark County took to raising sheep and became skilled in processing fleece into cloth. As the process of carding wool, and eventually the entire process of manufacturing woollen goods became mechanized, mills dotted the landscape along the Mississippi River Valley. James Rosamond had built a mill in Carleton Place in 1848. In 1852 Rosamond purchased a share in the Ramsay Woollen Cloth Company, the first woollen mill built in Almonte. The Ramsay Mill burnt down and Rosamond bought the land and water rights, and built the Victoria Mill in 1857. In 1862 James Rosamond leased the Victoria Mill to his sons Bennett and William. In 1866, Bennett and William organized a new firm with George Steven of Montreal. The new firm was known as B. and W. Rosamond and Company. The company built the Rosamond Woollen Mill on Coleman's Island in Almonte in 1866. In 1872 a warehouse was added to this mill, and in 1904 an office was added to the west end of the warehouse. The Rosamond Woollen Mill was the largest mill in Canada during the last part of the 19th century. The mill employed 74 men, 105 women and 30 youths and produced $350,000 worth of tweed annually. The Rosamond Woollen Mill remained one of the largest woollen mills in the country until the First World War. Bennett Rosamond and George Stephen organized the Almonte Knitting Company in 1882. The Rosamond family continued to operate the mill after the First World War, but by this time the mill was not a major part of the woollen manufacturing industry. The Rosamonds were leaders in the community as well as the textile field. The mill remained in operation for 120 years.
Mississippi Valley Textile Mill is an early example of a modern textile mill. The warehouse and office area are built of rubble stone laid in uneven courses. The warehouse's south elevation is blank, but the north elevation has 12 bays. The windows on the north elevation have wood frames and sashes and red sandstone sills. The interior of the warehouse has wood joists and rafters as well as wood decking on the second storey. There are square and circular wooden columns throughout the warehouse. The office area shares a party wall and connecting passageways with the warehouse. The cornice, stringcourse, window and door openings on the office are red sandstone. The window and door openings are framed with red sandstone quoins and radiating red bullnose brick voussoirs. On the first storey the window openings are supported by segmental arches, and on the second storey the windows have jack arches. The office has a hardwood floor with a diamond pattern around the perimeter of the room. There is vertical wood paneling around the perimeter of the office space. The stained glass above the main entrance and in, what is now, the gift shop is original to the building and designed in the art-nouveau style. There are patterned tin ceilings in the entrance hall, exhibit room and gift shop. The light fixtures on the first storey of the office area are original.
Source: OHT Easement Files.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Mississippi Valley Textile Mill include its:
- rubble stone facade
- single-glazed, double-hung wood sash windows with wood frames
- 16/12 window panes on the first storey
- 16/16 window panes on the second storey
- window and door openings of red bullnose brick
- red sandstone quoins, cornice and stringcourse
-red-coloured mortar joints
- segmental arches in the windows on the first storey of the office
- original stained glass windows
- hardwood floor with diamond pattern around the perimeter
- patterned tin ceilings
- original light fixtures
- square and circular wooden columns in the warehouse.
- proximity to the Mississippi River
- location near a major drop in the river
Ontario Heritage Trust
Ontario Heritage Act
Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement
1904/01/01 to 1904/01/01
1994/01/01 to 1994/01/01
1872/01/01 to 1872/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
Function - Category and Type
- Textile or Leather Manufacturing Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Conservation Easement Files
Ontario Heritage Trust
10 Adelaide Street East
Cross-Reference to Collection