The Barber Dynamo was the first electrical generating plant to supply an industrial plant in North America. Built in 1888, the Dynamo generated electricity from a dam across the Credit River. It also served as a home to the Alexander family. Two wires carried the power up to the Barber Mill on River Road, 3 Km away. It served the industrial needs of John R. Barber until 1913, after which the Mill was served by Ontario Hydro.
James Charles Alexander (1874-1954) was the employee at the Barber Mills given the task of running the Dynamo. He moved into the dynamo with his wife Maud (Claridge), his daughter Edith, his son-in-law Gerry King and two grandsons. His responsibilities included turning the power on and off, maintaining the machinery and being on hand at all times. Requests were telephoned from the Mill down to the Dynamo. The night operator of the Dynamo was William Snyder, who lived at the top of hill to the east of the Paper Mill. He walked to work along the railway tracks to the trestle about 3/4th of a mile upstream, climbed down into the ravine and followed a path along the river - doubtless the same path hikers use today.
A spring flood of ice took out the Paper Mill dam in 1911, which crippled the Dynamo as well. After it became redundant in 1913, Alexander continued to live there as caretaker. Young Edith Alexander took to her bed here on Christmas Day, 1918 with the Spanish Influenza. She stayed in bed until Easter Sunday. His wife Maud died there of pneumonia on 31 March, 1923, in spite of the doctor traveling across the fields from the 10th Line to help her. Another tragedy occurred 6 weeks later when 2 year old Terry King, following his father to work, became lost and was discovered dead under the old iron bridge on 15 May, 1923.
The Dynamo was boarded up and abandoned after that. Charlie Alexander moved to a cottage on Hall Road in Georgetown. He later advertised for a wife and married Jessie Gertrude Bryant of London, England.
This building is on the other side of the river and can only be reached by trekking through the woods for about a half an hour.