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The Long Island Milling Complex
This picture, c1867, shows the beginnings of Manotick. The flour mill with the carding and cloth mill to its right are in the centre of the picture.
The Dickinson House is in the background on the left and the first sawmill is in front of the carding mill across the bulkhead from the flour mill. As can be seen there are very few other buildings in Manotick.
Note the lack of trees. The sawmill has been busy.
The Dickinson House in Manotick was built in 1867 by Moss Kent Dickinson. It was one of the earliest houses in Manotick and served the community over time as more than a family residence. It was at various times a general store, a post office, a telegraph office, a meeting place for local organizations, and we believe as a campaign headquarters for Sir John A. MacDonald when he ran in the Carleton riding in the 1887 election.
Moss Kent moved to the house with his five children in 1870. His wife had died of complications following the birth of his daughter Elizabeth in 1861. He didn't remarry.
By the time he moved to Manotick, Moss Kent had divested himself of his steamboat and other sawmill interests to concentrate on the Long Island Milling Complex.
He was developing these other mills around the stone grist and flour mill he and Joseph Currier had built in 1859 (now known as Watson's Mill). The other mills included at various times a sawmill, a carding and cloth mill, and a bung mill.
The picture on the upper left shows the milling complex in the mid to late 1860s (the bung mill had not been built yet).
The Currier Cottage
In 1867 when the house was built, there was already a cottage on the property. This cottage had been built by Joseph Currier and was known unsurprisingly as the Currier Cottage. The Dickinson House was built attached to the cottage which provided the kitchen and dining room for the house. Unfortunately the cottage was removed in the early 1950s.
The house is said to be in the Classic Revival style and similar to one in the U.S.A. that belonged to Abraham Lincoln. It has been furnished by the Rideau Township Historical Society with items either donated or loaned by members of the Society and the local community At the time the Dickinsons sold the house they sold the contents at auction so the original furnishings are not available.
The period for the furnishings and artefacts is the time during which the Dickinsons lived there, or 1870 to 1930. Some artefacts are pre-1870 of course, as the family would have had items that were not new when they moved in.
The Rideau Township Historical Society has operated the house and offered guided tours for the past four years. The 2015 season will feature tours of the parlour, dining room, 3 bedrooms, sewing room and; a display of artefacts and tools used for cloth making; and an exhibit on tableware on the third floor.
There will also be special theme weekends focusing on displays and demonstrations of heritage skills and activities. So come and tour the house, listen to the stories of the people who lived there and learn about the early days of Manotick on the Rideau.
The Country Fair is being held again in 2016. Check out the links.