Mills on the Cataraqui River

Mills on the Cataraqui River, Kingston
Photo from Queen’s University Archives, Ina Acton fonds, V126.2 186-31

In the nineteenth century, most towns and villages in Upper Canada built their own local grist mill so that farmers could bring their grain to be milled into fine flour without having to travel too far on appalling roads and so that the family no longer had to do the work at home by hand with poorer results. The new settlements also needed a saw mill to prepare wood for their building needs. Kingston’s original saw and grist mills were originally built here with government monies in the 1780’s to aid the settlers. The site of the mills was chosen because the Cataraqui River fell about twenty feet over the rocky cliffs and provided the water power required to drive the mill machines.

Queen's Archives

Queen's Archives regular column on Kingstonist showcases our city's rich history via assets sourced from their vast collection. Their contributions stimulate dialog regarding the places, people and events that have shaped Kingston. Learn more about Queen's Archives...

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