The Mills at Galetta

In the 1870s Galetta village included a store, a grist mill, a woollen mill, a carding and spinning mill, a shingle mill, and a cooperage. There was also a potash works on the island in the Mississippi River. 

This modern photo of the Galetta Dam reminds of the tremendous power potential of the Mississippi as it drops some 30 feet in the short run from Galetta to the Ottawa River. These were ideal circumstances for the harnessing of the power of water

Wherever there was sufficient waterpower to operate them, mills were constructed to produce sawn lumber in conjunction with the square timber trade.  Alex McMillan and Donald Dingwall established the first sawmill in the township near the mouth of the Mississippi Snye in 1825. That mill was subsequently acquired by Mr. Learmonth, who operated it as well as a grist mill on the site.

In Galetta, a water-powered mill was built by James Steen on the Mississippi. Steen sold it to J.G. Whyte and constructed another mill further downstream. Whyte operated both a sawmill, a gristmill and a carding mill. Steen operated a sawmill and a gristmill.

Little remains to remind us of those numerous mills save for artifacts like the pair of millstones beside the Galetta Community Centre.

 from “Beyond our Memories”

by the Fitzroy Township Historical Society