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New trail outlines the history of Palmerstons rich heritage

by Mike Robinson

PALMERSTON - One of Minto’s newest trails has been over 150 years in the making.

With the installation of signage at the Palmerston Lions Heritage Park next to the Palmerston Railway Museum, the new trail outlines numerous  historic and significant events in the community.

Various signs stretch the width and breadth of the trail with text and photos to illustrate the town’s achievements over the years.

Bob McEachern, of the Palmerston Railway Museum, spoke recently of the trail and its impact for the local community. He described the insurance map created by a company from Montreal.

“Most municipalities had these at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th,” he said. “We were lucky enough to get one for 1890, which was blown up and shows our downtown with a significant number of hotels.”

McEachern said that number reflected the railway society - of young single railway men. The listing of hotels also indicated the politics of the day with the Temperance Hotel.

He cited a portion of the map indicating a buried water tank at the intersection of two of the main streets. “This was the way they fought fires back then. There was a tank of water buried in the ground and covered.”

He said if the fire was in the general vicinity of the tank “then you had a chance to save the building.”

McEachern added, “If it was somewhere else, you would have some difficulty.”

He noted in some places there were ladders that could go up against the building and men would attempt to use a water brigade to throw water on the fires.

“But small town Ontario in the 19th century, many buildings were made of wood, and if a fire happened the building would be lost.”

As for the trail, McEachern said there are 22 signs.

Each sign presents a picture and a statement of a particular incident in Palmerston’s history. “There is particular stress on the railway heritage,” That history starts with the 1856 Grand Trunk map and goes all the way to the first diesel rail engine coming through town.

“You can walk through our Palmerston Heritage Park and within a couple hours, visualize Palmerston’s history.”


June 17, 2011


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