The Municipality of Powassan
The Powassan Story

(The following article was written by L. F. Robertson, a pioneer resident of Powassan and reprinted from the Golden Anniversary Programme)

One of the most valued treasures of the people of any community is their history. From early days men preserved history so that posterity might have a record of their times. The study of history is like looking back along the highway of time and the men and events mentioned therein are as landmarks placed here and there upon that great highway. Unfortunately, however, some of those landmarks were not preserved and a more particular and definite history could have been recorded if the second and third generations had acquired more knowledge from the first generations. However, we, of this generation, have obtained by research certain interesting facts regarding the settlement and development of our Town of Powassan.

Powassan is an Indian name which means a "bend". The original settlement was at a bend of the South River. Therefore the name is an appropriate one. This location is known today as the Powassan Chute and is the location of the present hydro plant. Here the Village of Powassan began about the year 1880. A sawmill was built and a grist mill followed. Mill employees erected their dwellings in that section.

Town Expanded

In 1886 the railroad was in operation between Gravenhurst and Nipissing Junction. A second settlement was born in the neighborhood of the railroad station. The railroad was first known as the Northern and Pacific Junction Railway. It was later purchased by the Grand Trunk system and afterwards by the Canadian National Railway, which serves Powassan today. The nucleus of the town site comprised lots 15 and 16 in the 12th concession of the Township of Himsworth. Lot 15 was originally taken up as a grant from the crown by Christopher Armstrong. Lot 16 was a grant to William Faulkner Clark. The 15th side road of the Township of Himsworth was the road allowance reserve between the two lots. This road allowance is the King Street of today, which is Powassan's main thoroughfare. Christopher Armstrong laid out the town lots in sections of a fifth of an acre each. His plan registered as No. 44. William Faulkner Clark planned the lots in his subdivision into lots of one quarter of an acre each. His plans are registered as numbers 43 and 57.

Community Spirit

The story of William Faulkner Clark depicts the wonderful community and neighborly spirit of Powassan's early days. His home was known to everyone for miles and was a happy stopping off place for early settlers who came to Powassan to transact business. Unable to return home the same day, they stayed at Mr. Clark's home which still stands today adjacent to the fair grounds. Before erecting this building, Mr. Clark occupied a log house opposite the fair grounds at the corner of Clark Street and the road to the chute.

Mr. Clark donated the sites for the school and three churches. The site of the first Presbyterian church was at the corner of the fair grounds where the road curves opposite the Holtforster farm. Later this church was moved to the corner of Clark and Edward streets and is now the Masonic Temple. The Anglican Church was on the site of the present dwelling of Mr. M. Putnam. This church was destroyed by fire in 1936. The Catholic Church was built on the property where the present church stands.

The first school in Powassan was S.S. No. 1, known as Maple Hill School. In 1891 the Powassan school, or S.S. No. 8, was built. This was a one-room building. In 1893 it was converted into a two-room school and in 1901, two more rooms were added. Later there were six rooms, four for public and two for continuation students. In 1929 the new continuation school was built and the original two-room frame part of the public school was abandoned. In 1953 the new addition to the public school was completed, thus providing students with modern-day facilities.

Incorporated as Municipality

Up to the year 1904 the Town site of Powassan continued for municipal purposes as part of the Township of Himsworth. In that year the inhabitants decided they would become a separate municipality and on Nov. 30, 1904, a Royal proclamation was issued, declaring a separate and new municipality by the name of the Town of Powassan. By the same proclamation the inhabitants of this area were constituted a body corporate under the name of the Corporation of the Town of Powassan.

Stuart's Hall, where the first meeting of the town council was held, was on the site of the present Bank of Nova Scotia. It was a two-story frame building built by W. H. Stuart, Powassan's first mayor. Mr. Stuart moved to Elk Lake in 1909 and Richardson Brothers of Nipissing acquired the building. They converted the structure into offices and dwellings.

In 1906 the present town hall was built and has been used for public meetings and entertainment purposes since that time. Powassan's first skating rink was built to the west of the town hall by William Trenouth. He received the annual profits and applied these amounts to his account for construction of the rink. In 1909 the rink collapsed under the weight of heavy snow and Powassan was without a covered arena until the present one was built in 1934.

Recent History

Municipality of Powassan came into being on January 1, 2001 as a result of the amalgamation of the Town of Powassan, Town of Trout Creek and the Township of Himsworth South.

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The Municipality of Powassan
466 Main Street PO Box 250 Powassan, ON P0H 1Z0
Phone: 705-724-2813|Fax: 705-724-5533| info@powassan.net