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Bronson Pulp Mill

Ontario : Ottawa
Location #1026

Location Owner:OAP
Creation Date: 12/30/2009
Last Updated: 12/30/2009

During the 1880's the growth in the newspaper industry created a demand for newsprint. This growth was partially due to the rising literacy rates as a result of the government's mandatory free education program. The newspapers were known as ‘dailies' and the cost was typically one penny.

In order for newspaper to be produced, pulped wood was necessary. Investors looked to the Ottawa Valley as a potential for creation pulp mills. First, the Ottawa Valley was rich with trees that were not suited for lumber but ideal for pulp. Secondly, the Ottawa labour workforce was experienced in harvesting trees. Finally there was an ample supply of water that was required for the manufacture of pulp and for the hydro energy creation process.

Men spent the winters at lumber camps cutting down trees. During the spring the trees would be floated down the rivers to the pulp mills. Pulpwood didn't need as much care as wood meant for lumber, therefore less effort was needed in transporting it.
Henry Franklin Bronson was born on February 24, 1817 in Moreau Township, Saratoga County, New York. After Bronson graduated from school he was hired to work as a clerk in John J. Harris' lumber business. Bronson made junior partner in 1840.

Although Harris' lumber business had strong markets in Boston and New York, their timber supplies were decreasing. Bronson was sent to the Ottawa Valley to determine if there was potential to use the area for their lumbering operations. Based on Bronson's recommendation the Harris operation moved to the Ottawa Valley in 1852. Harris remained in New York and Bronson moved to Bytown (Ottawa).

The Harris and Bronson Company expanded and large timber limits were purchased. Bronson's company owned the timber limits along the Gatineau River and almost 700 square miles of new limits along the Dumoine River. In 1864, the Canadian Land and Emigration Company allowed them to cut timber from their pine groves along the Madawaska River. Despite occasional periods of stagnation in the U.S. markets, their production continued to increase until 1870.
In 1866, Harris retired from the partnership and Henry Bronson formed a new firm with American partner Abijah Weston and Bronson's eldest son Erskine Henry. The new business was named Bronson and Weston Co.

When Henry Bronson died in 1889, his son Erskine Henry continued to manage the company until 1900 when the Great Fire destroyed their Chaudiere sawmill. Erskine gave up lumbering altogether and built a pulp mill on the site of the former hydraulic lot.

Today the former pulpmill is the location of the Energy Ottawa Building. Next to it the former Thompson-Perkins Mill is now the site of The Mill restaurant.

Lumber kings & Shantymen : logging and lumbering in the Ottawa Valley
(David Lee, James Lorimer & Company, 2006)

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Bronson Pulp Mill
Created by: OAP

Bronson Pulp Mill

Bronson Pulp Mill

Bronson Pulp Mill

Bronson Pulp Mill

Bronson Pulp Mill

Bronson Pulp Mill


Status: Historic Location
Category: Mill/Foundry


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markelius says:
9/29/2013 12:47:17 PM

The map coordinates for this location are incorrect. The correct coordinates are +45? 25' 9.22", -75? 42' 49.08". The building is also still active. I suggest it be changed to either "active" or "historic location". Otherwise this is very complete and well documented.

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