Old Stone Mill NHS - The Delta Mill Society

Sunrise on Upper Beverley Lake - photo by: Ken W. Watson
Sunrise on Upper Beverley Lake


The Beverley lakes; Upper Beverley and Lower Beverley, provide great opportunities for interesting paddling day trips. The ideal starting point is Delta, which provides easy access to both lakes as well as camping facilities. All the information on this page is included in a PDF version of the guide:

Paddling the Beverley Lakes (1.1 Mb PDF)
(note that in the PDF you can enlarge the map to see any detail you wish)


Paddling the Beverley Lakes


Water Access

view of the Old Stone Mill from the water - photo by: Ken W. Watson
Old Stone Mill
Upper Beverley Lake: Access is from a public boat launch, located on UB5 road, at co-ordinates 44° 36.780'N. 76° 06.985'W. The road is poorly marked (a small blue marker), but it is the only road to the east, north of the Delta Mill, between the mill and Daytown Road (the next road to the east). There is lots of parking available and it's an easy launch to use.

Lower Beverley Lake: Access to the lake is available in Delta from the public boat ramp located adjacent to Lower Beverley Lake Park (a campground) at co-ordinates 44° 36.575'N. 76° 07.420'W. Take Lower Beverley Lake Park Road and look for the Boat Launch sign. It features a paved ramp and dock with lots of parking. A specific use canoe/kayak dock is scheduled to be installed in 2010.

Lyndhurst Creek: Access to the creek in order to paddle to Lower Beverley Lake is available from a public boat launch in Lyndhurst at co-ordinates 44° 33.040'N. 76° 07.550'W. Turn north onto Water Street, which is adjacent to the east side of the stone bridge. You'll find a small public park, a dock and the boat launch.

Morton Creek: Access to the creek in order to paddle to Lower Beverley Lake is available from a small parking/picnic area, located adjacent to the creek, on the west side of Highway 15 at co-ordinates 44° 32.375'N. 76° 11.880'W.

Facilities

Lodging: Lower Beverley Lake Park in Delta is a full service campground ("106 acres of vacation fun"). You can get full details about the park at: www.beverleylakepark.com. Delta also features the beautiful Denaut Mansion Country Inn: www.denautmansion.com.

Supplies: A local source for supplies is Elgin, which has a grocery store, pharmacy and hardware store. Lyndhurst has a small grocery store and a hardware store.

Rentals: Those staying at Lower Beverley Lake Park may rent canoes or kayaks from the park. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available in Gananoque and Kingston.

Etiquette

Your trip planning should include a "leave no trace" approach - carry out what you carry in. Many areas are un-serviced (no garbage cans) - so plan to be self-contained. If you are staying in a spot such as Lower Beverley Lake Park, then you'll have access to waste disposal facilities.

The Lakes

Upper Beverley Lake
This lake served as the mill pond for the Old Stone Mill. Originally two smaller lakes, the dam in Delta (maintained today by MNR) has raised the water by about 3 metres (10 feet), creating a single lake. The maximum depth of the lake is 7 metres (23 feet) with an average depth of 2.5 m (8 feet). This shallow, warm water lake is home to many fish species including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike. You'll also find many species of birds such as ducks, herons, ospreys, and loons as well as typical near shore wildlife such as frogs, turtles, muskrats and beavers.

The direct paddling distance from Delta to the head of the lake (at Plum Hollow Creek) is 6.5 km (4 miles). The circumference of the lake (along main shorelines) is about 22 km (14 miles).

While there is some cottage development (three areas of high density cottages), most of the shoreline remain in its natural state.

Lower Beverley Lake
Slightly larger than Upper Beverley Lake, this is a much deeper lake with a maximum depth of 28.7 m (94 feet) and an average depth of 9.1 m (30 feet). The lake hosts many species of fish, and, like Upper Beverley, the dominant species are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike. The lake region hosts a variety of wildlife (see the listing for Upper Beverley Lake).

The circumference of the lake, along main shorelines is about 28 km (17 miles). One can also paddle through the lake to either Lyndhurst or Morton (see below). There is a fair bit of cottage development, mostly along the eastern and southern shorelines. However, many areas of natural shoreline remain.

Lyndhurst Creek
This is the outlet of Lower Beverley Lake. It's a slow moving, deep water creek, generally with marshy shorelines. It is about 4.3 km (2.7 miles) from Lower Beverley Lake to Lyndhurst.

Morton Creek
Flowing from the Rideau Canal dam at the foot of Morton Bay to Lower Beverley Lake, this is a slow moving meandering creek, bordered by farmland and some marshy areas. It is about 5.4 km (3.4 miles) from Morton to Lower Beverley Lake.

Paddling Morton Creek - photo by: Ken W. Watson
Misty Morning on Morton Creek
Points of Interest

Delta: first settled by Abel Stevens in the mid-1790s, the main feature is the Old Stone Mill, built in 1810 and open to the public today (see www.deltamill.org for details). A beautiful three storey stone building, you'll find many interpretive displays inside as well as a working water wheel, mill stones and a bolter. The third floor features a large interpretive display, Down By the Old Mill Stream, all about Delta Creek and the mill pond (Upper Beverley Lake). Just behind the mill (on Lower Beverley Lake Park Road) is the Museum of Industrial Technology, featuring the rich 1800s industrial history (everything from boat building to agriculture) of Delta. Both are run by the non-profit group, The Delta Mill Society.

Lyndhurst: The most striking features in Lyndhurst is the old three-span stone bridge, built in 1856-57 and reputedly the oldest bridge still in use in Ontario. Lyndhurst was originally called Furnace Falls since it was the site of the first iron ore smelter in Ontario (opened in 1801). The "Great Gananoque Falls" at Lyndhurst provided water power for the furnace and later (in the mid-1800s) for mills (the remains of the old Roddick mill which can be seen below the bridge). You can paddle all the way to Gananoque by putting your boat in at the public dock on Lyndhurst Lake. The dock is located at the foot of Ford Street, about a 650 metre (710 yard) portage from the boat launch on Water Street.

Morton: an old road (550 metres (600 yards) long) links the canoe/kayak launch on Morton Creek with Morton Bay. About halfway up the road you'll see the foundation remains of George Morton's mills in the valley below the road. At the head of the road you'll find a parking lot and the Morton Dam (a Rideau Canal dam operated by Parks Canada). If you cross the dam and walk up the trail on the other side, you'll discover a terrific view at the top, the former location of a wooden guardhouse built in 1838 (now long gone) to defend the dam. This area was first settled by Lemuel Haskins in about 1805. Haskins built a sawmill and mill dam at the location of Whitefish Falls (where the current dam is today). You can paddle the Rideau Canal by putting your boat in at the public dock (Parks Canada) in Morton Bay, just below the parking lot beside the canal dam.




Loon Stretching - photo by: Ken W. Watson
Loon Stretching on Lower Beverley Lake


Upper Beverley Lake: mostly nature interest, particularly in the marshy areas near the middle and the head of the lake. Paddle part way up Plum Hollow Creek and get a sense of the exploration by Lt. Joshua Jebb, who paddled this way in 1816, preferring a canal route through here (known as the Irish Creek Route) to that by way of the Rideau Lakes (the route of the Rideau Canal today (see the Human History section).

Lower Beverley Lake: a feature of the lake are the 14 islands, often distinctive in both physical character and cottage development. Cottaging on Lower Beverley goes back to the late 1800s and a lake association (Lower Beverley Lake Association) is very active on the lake. You can paddle along the developed shorelines (mostly eastern and southern), admiring the various styles of cottage architecture, and/or look at the less developed western shoreline, particularly the areas of Oak and Lost bays. Paddling the full circumference of the lake makes an interesting day trip. A must-see is the Canoeshuk which you'll find just south of English Island at: 44° 35.530'N - 76° 08.225'W

Geographic History

The Beverley Lakes are located at the edge of the Frontenac Axis, part of the Canadian Shield, rocks of Pre-Cambrian (very old) age. Lower Beverley Lake is completely surrounded by Pre-Cambrian rocks, mostly crystalline limestone (marble). Upper Beverley Lake is partially on crystalline limestone and much younger (Lower Ordovician) sandstone.

The lakes looked a bit different in the pre-mill dam era (pre-1790s). At that time, both lakes were lower, Upper Beverley by about 3 metres (10 feet) and Lower Beverley by about 2 metres (6 feet). In fact Upper Beverley was two smaller lakes. Lower Beverley Lake was part of a much larger Gananoque watershed than exists today. All the waters from several of the lakes that are today part of the Rideau Canal (Newboro, Clear, Indian, Opinicon and Sand), flowed through the Jones Falls Rapids, the head of the White Fish River. That river flowed into Lower Beverley Lake and those waters continued, as they do today, through Lyndhurst and down to Gananoque.

It is due to this original watershed configuration that it was the main native paddling route for the region. The present day connection of the Rideau Canal, from Whitefish Lake to Upper Brewers was a non-navigable (above water in summer) area of forest and marsh. It stayed this way until the first mill dams in the areas (at Morton in about 1805 - see below) flooded the forest and marsh to make a navigable connection to the Cataraqui River.

Human History

As you paddle the Beverley lakes, you'll be padding through areas that have experienced some very interesting history. Paddling on the these lakes goes back thousands of years. Lower Beverley Lake was on the main native paddling route connecting the St. Lawrence River with the Ottawa River. Native artifacts, dating back 1,000 years, have been found here.

The first mapping of the route was in 1783, when Lt. Gershom French paddled from Rideau Falls (on the Ottawa River) to Gananoque (then simply the outlet of the Gananoque River). French's map and survey description don't provide any detail about Lower Beverley Lake, but even though it was about 2 m lower at the time, it would have looked much like it does today.

Settlement started when elder Abel Stevens led a group of settlers up from Vermont to settle in what is today's village of Delta. A set of rapids on Delta Creek made it a potential mill site and Stevens petitioned to be granted land for settlement and for the water rights. This forced the government to conduct a survey, in order to lay out a township, so that lots could be granted.

Provincial surveyor Lewis Grant did an initial exploratory survey in 1795, tying into survey lines done the year before by William Fortune. Grant returned the next year and did a full township survey (Bastard Township), completing that in 1797.

By this time, Stevens had a sawmill up and operating, having placed dams on both Delta Creek and on the creek between the two small lakes (today's single Upper Beverley Lake). The community became known as Stevenstown.

Although petitions to obtain the mineral rights for an iron ore deposit on Lower Beverley Lake and water rights to the Great Gananoque Falls date back to 1784, it was not until 1801 that a foundry, the Lansdowne Iron Works, was erected by Wallis Sunderland, a Vermont Founderer. This location (today's Lyndhurst) became known as Furnace Falls. It was likely that a dam was erected at that time, raising the level of Lower Beverley Lake. The foundry operated with limited success until it burned down in 1811.

Back in Delta, at least two grist mills were constructed in the early 1800s. The original sawmill was rebuilt at least once (it had burned down). But the biggest change was to come when William Jones and Ira Schofield took ownership of the property on Delta Creek in about 1808 and decided to build a new grist mill. This was not to be any grist mill, but a magnificent three storey stone structure incorporating the latest in automatic milling technology. Construction started in 1810 on the west side of the creek. When the mill was completed, the original course of the creek was blocked and the flow diverted to the new stone mill (the configuration we see today with the by-wash on the west side of the mill).

The water in Upper Beverley Lake appears to have been raised by about 2.1 metres (7 feet) by the stone mill (which acted as its own dam). It was sometime in the 20th century that a concrete dam was put in place, raising the water in the lake (from its pre-mill level) by about 3 metres (9 to 10 feet).

In about 1805, Lemuel Haskins arrived at the location of Morton, then the White Fish Falls, and decided to use that water power for a sawmill. He dammed the creek above the falls, backing up the water into Morton Bay and flooding the Cranberry Flood Plain (located between the White Fish River and the Cataraqui River which had its headwaters in Dog and Loughborough lakes). Haskins found that his dam raised water was escaping through the forests and marsh that made up the flood plain, and to stop this escape erected a second dam at the Round Tail, a rocky constriction just above Upper Brewers. This second dam raised about 6 feet of water over the flood plain, making it navigable by canoe (the area now occupied by Whitefish Lake, Little Cranberry Lake and Cranberry Lake).

Haskins' dam is significant, since it took half the original western watershed of the Gananoque River (water that flows into Lower Beverley Lake) and diverted much of it to the Cataraqui River.

In 1816, Lieutenant Joshua Jebb, a young Royal Engineer, conducted a survey, looking for a navigation route between the Ottawa River and Kingston. He investigated the present day route of the Rideau Canal, through the Rideau lakes, but he also investigated a short cut, up Irish Creek (just south of Merrickville on the Rideau River), over the top of the watershed and into Plum Hollow Creek. That led to Upper Beverley Lake, through Delta, known as Stone Mills at the time and into Lower Beverley Lake.

Jebb proposed to continue the canal up Morton Creek and re-join the original Rideau route at Morton Bay. A minor hiccup in Jebb's plans was the lack of water at the top of the Irish Creek watershed. Jebb suggested that a 5 mile (8 km) rail road could be built, linking Irish Creek with Upper Beverley Lake and that goods could be offloaded from one batteau, railed across the watershed divide and then loaded onto a batteau on the other side.

In 1823/24, Jebb's proposed canal route through the Beverley lakes was discounted by surveyor Samuel Clowes who was looking for a fully navigable (water all the way) route. He noted that to supply water to the top of the Irish Creek/Plum Hollow Creek divide, a 10 mile (16 km) feeder canal would have to be run from Rideau Lake. The cost of doing that was much more than simply taking the route through the Rideau lakes. So, the Beverley lakes remained uncanalized.

By 1832, Haskins' mill dam at White Fish Falls had been replaced with a Rideau Canal dam, locking in the geography we see in that area today.

Milling thrived, with the Old Stone Mill in Delta remaining the single largest mill in the region. As agriculture spread, the need for mills increased. In 1827, Charles and Jonas Jones built a grist mill and a sawmill at Lyndhurst. In the 1850s, George Morton expanded the milling facilities in Morton. In 1869, John Roddick added a large stone grist mill at Lyndhurst.

The 20th century brought hard times to the mills, grain could now be easily transported to larger industrial facilities. Local mills struggled to be economic. Some, such as the Roddick mill in Lyndhurst and Morton's mills in Morton were simply abandoned and allowed to crumbled away. The Old Stone Mill in Delta became a feed store. In the 1960s, the last owner, Hastings Steele, sold the mill for $1 to a group of four people who then formed The Delta Mill Society. That society has worked hard over the last few decades to restore the mill to its former 1810 glory.

Sources of Information

There are a host of resources available on the Internet to help with your visit to this region. These include:

Paddling the Frontenac Arch: www.explorethearch.ca/paddle-the-arch
Paddling the Rideau Canal: www.rideau-info.com/canal/paddling
Old Stone Mill: www.deltamill.org
Lower Beverley Lake Park: www.beverleylakepark.com
Lower Beverley Lake Association: lbla.net
Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association: www.rideauheritageroute.ca

About This Guide
This guide has been prepared by Ken W. Watson on behalf of The Delta Mill Society. Ken has kayaked both lakes as well as Morton and Lyndhurst creeks. Ken also runs a large non-commercial website about the Rideau Canal at www.rideau-info.com.

Lyndhurst - photo by: Ken W. Watson
Lyndhurst


Paddling the Beverley Lakes (1.1 Mb PDF)
(note that in the PDF you can enlarge the map to see any detail you wish)





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Tel: 613-928-2584 (office)
Email: info@deltamill.org
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