And this is just the beginning! Anybody with items, especially photos, they wish to share should contact the Gazette. The Centre is always looking for more glimpses of local history.
The building that housed the Heritage Centre has a long & interesting history. It was built in the late 1800s as the Kinmount Town Hall. The modest little structure was conveniently located at the corner of the bridge right in downtown Kinmount for its visibility & easy access. Kinmount in its early “lumberjack” days was a rough & tumble community, especially when the local river drivers passed through town. The drivers celebrated the end of a winter in the bush by slaking their thirst at the first bar they came too: often downtown Kinmount. The village usually had a constable (an old term for policeman) stationed in the town to keep order and remove inebriated persons from the street. Three jail cells were placed in the basement so the constable could incarcerate the impaired to “sleep it off”. No real criminals were placed here, the more serious cases were transferred to the County Goal in Lindsay.
The top floor was used for small meetings, including visits from the local (county) magistrate who held court here on regular occasions. Most of the incidents settled by this court official were very minor in nature, and included such crimes as “furious driving (old term for speeding by horse & wagon!), impaired in public, land & boundary disputes, violations of the liquor laws and other minor civil cases & disputes.
Somerville Township Council called the building its home for many years until the new office on the hill was built about 1990. Before this date, the Township Council did not have a permanent home. Records were kept in the home of the township clerk or tax collector. Council meetings were rotated between schools or church halls around the township. Eventually the council decided a permanent address was necessary and the old town hall received a new tenant. Kinmount was the largest village in the township and contained such services as a post office, railway, bank & stores. An addition was placed on the east side to house a washroom and records office. The jail was discontinued. The township used this building for many years.
Eventually the township outgrew the single room office and the larger office building was built at the top of cemetery hill. The old town hall/ former office was used sporadically as a community police office, but eventually became vacant. An empty building soon deteriorates, and the concerned members of the Kinmount Committee for Planning and Economic Development produced a plan to use the building as a Heritage Centre. Ward 3 Councillor David Hodgson actively supported the idea & acquired the necessary approval from the buildings owner (City of Kawartha Lakes) however the project has now folded at the current location and the fate of the building remains unknown at present.
Visit Kinmount Heritage Photo Gallery
Heritage in the Village Festival
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Site maintained on a voluntary basis by Lynne Kilby, PO Box 286 Kinmount On K0M 2A0