Pipe from 1800s unearthed in North Glengarry

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Pipe from 1800s unearthed in North Glengarry
Township of North Glengarry photo.

NORTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – Water Works crew members of North Glengarry discovered a historic, wooden sewer pipe in the first week of 2020 that was potentially installed there in 1885.

The crews unearthed the peculiar piece of local history when they attended a sewer breach on Kenyon St. East.

“It’s very unusual to find wooden pipes. This was the first occasion for our current Water Works Staff,” said Tara Kirkpatrick, North Glengarry Economic Development and Communications Officer.

The pipe, which could date even older than 1885, was operational until shortly before the breach. It is believed that the pipe was designed and constructed locally by The Eastern Pipe and Construction Company Limited of Alexandria, which reportedly burned to the ground on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 1911, when a fire that started in a drying kiln engulfed the factory in 15 minutes. The company allegedly specialized in galvanized wire wound and continuous stave wooden pipes. 

We know little of the company, aside from some historic ads that were sent to us. It’s a fair guess to say that they were true to their word when they said their product would not ‘rot, rust, burst, or freeze’ given the presumed longevity of these pipes,” read a Township of North Glengarry statement, citing research conducted by local residents.

An undamaged section of the pipe remains underground and has been connected to a new pvc pipe, which feeds into the municipal sewer network in Alexandria.

“Water Works Technician Marius Bauer was one of the staff members tasked with helping to repair the sewer connection. He said that he had only seen such connections chronicled in books and was surprised to find them used as a private connection (on) Kenyon St…” read a Township of North Glengarry statement.

Wooden pipes were prominently used across North America in the early 1800s.

More information on the local piece of history will be reported as it becomes available.

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