History well-preserved in Loyalist Township

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As a student, I’ve learned a lot about mainstream Canadian history, but not much about small towns and how their contributions have shaped the world around us. I find it fascinating that we have so many historic sites here in  Lennox and Addington where we can learn about our past.

I recently made a visit to Babcock Mill in Odessa and to the Bath Museum to learn more about these two unique destinations and why they’re such an important part of our local history.

 

Babcock Mill

100 Bridge Street, Odessa

Built in 1856, Babcock Mill has produced many products over its long history of operation. The Mill is best known as a basket factory, where the famous “Better Baskets by Babcock” were manufactured. At one time, the it used water power from Millhaven Creek, and even helped to power the village of Odessa.

After the Mill closed, it was purchased by Loyalist Township and has recently been reopened to visitors. For the first time in over 30 years, all three floors of the Mill are now open for your exploration. It is an inviting, interactive space where you can learn all about the basket-making process, as well as the long list of contributions the Mill has made to the community over the years.

In the basement you’ll find many original basket-making machines. This is where the logs were milled and the wood was soaked, cut to size and distributed to other parts of the building for basket assembly.

On the main floor, you can see where the baskets were put together. The machinery is all in place as it once was, with even some of the materials still piled up at the work stations. A variety of original completed baskets are also on display.

Upstairs, visitors will learn all about the Mill and Odessa’s history. You’ll find great written summaries about the Mill, document displays, photos, as well as Odessa Public School’s 1983-1984 bicentennial project that includes detailed dioramas of Odessa buildings and other prominent structures in Loyalist Township.

Outside the building, Millhaven Creek flows quickly and wildlife blooms all around it. There are picnic tables and benches to enjoy lunch where you can relax and appreciate the well-kept nature surrounding the Mill.

With ample history on display, I encourage you to take a guided tour of the Mill this summer. The hours of operation are Thursday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. Admission is free!

 

The Bath Museum

434 Main Street, Bath

Old Bath Town Hall is now home to the historic Bath Museum. During your visit, you’ll get to know Bath’s extensive history that spanning hundreds of years. You can read stories from the area’s Indigenous communities, the tales of settlers that called the village home, and find out how the battles fought here played an important role in Canada’s early development.

How did the Museum collection get its start? Beginning in 1936, the community would display local artifacts that the Village of Bath would display on Canada Day. In the 1980s, the second floor of Layer Cake Hall (now home to the library) showcased a permanent display of Bath-related items collected for the community to enjoy. In 2009, the artifacts found their current home in the Old town hall.

With a vast collection of artifacts and pieces of local history, there is so much to view and learn. With Bath located on the shore of Lake Ontario, there is a whole section detailing Bath’s years on the water. The museum’s collection covers centuries of knowledge and memories that have helped to create the Bath we know and love today.

Museum staff and volunteers have put in so much time and effort to create the perfect time capsule of their community. Admission is free (donations are always appreciated), so stop by to learn about Bath’s vast history. The hours of operation are Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm.

 

I believe it’s very important to get to know the history of where you live, or where you’re visiting. Small towns have done so much for the world around us, and locations like Babcock Mill and the Bath Museum are two important local spots I suggest you check out.

Find out more about more interesting heritage sites in Lennox & Addington.

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