There is not a lot of information about Dacre Ontario. This despite the fact that it was the largest town on Lake Opeonogo, and was divided into Lower Dacre and Upper Dacre. It’s history is closely tied with nearby Mount St. Patrick. If you know more about the history of this town, please comment below.
Balaclava Ontario was established as a timber mill in 1855. The mill was erected on Constant Creek by Duncan Ferguson and Donald Cameron. By 1860, the town had several houses, a hotel and a blacksmith shop. The mill was acquired by the Richards family in 1868. They operated the mill for the next 91 years.
The mill was rebuilt in 1936 after a good deal of the original edifice was destroyed by fire. By the 1950’s, the area was exhausted of timber, and the mill was only producing a few thousand board feet a year. The mill was able to produce one million board feet a week at peak production. In 1959, the mill was shut down and the store closed as the production moved away.
Today there are still a few residents in Balaclava. Many of the original homes are still standing, but all are on private property.
Millbridge Ontario originated as a small community at the entrance to Hastings Road to serve travellers. It quickly grew to being one of the road’s most important settlements and soon became the chief community of Tudor Township. The town was first settled in the mid 1850s along Jordan Creek. The fledgling community was known as simply “The Jordan.”
About that time, two Veterans of the Crimean War Captain Ralph Norman and his wife setup a trading station here. Mrs. Norman was a nurse under Florence Nightingale, and both run the shop in military fashion. Captain Norman was said to always wear his full uniform. The Normans soon established a mill on the creek and the location became known as “the mill by the bridge” eventually shortened to Millbridge.
The first school in Tudor Township opened in 1859 in Mill Bridge. Both the first and second schools houses were destroyed in fire though and classes had to be moved to the town hall.
The Millbridge Post Office was opened in John Bull’s shop in 1860. He ran it until 1866 when it was moved to Ralph Norman’s store. He ran the post office until his death in 1911.
Millbridge’s population grew to 100 people in 1871. It had a hotel, an inn, a boarding house, blacksmith, carpenter and two stores. Mrs. Charlotte Potter ran the boarding house while John Armstrong was the carpenter, George Bigelow the blacksmith, and William Harper the township clerk.
In the mid 1880s, the Millbridge Fair was a huge attraction. The population had grown and the town now had three general stores and two blacksmiths. At the beginning of the decade, there was only one hotel. In 1866 it had three.
The big event that changed the town was the arrival of the Central Ontario Railway in 1883. The railroad station was established near Hogan’s Hotel a few kilometers to the east. This sparked a new building rush and at Millbridge Station. The new community here became known as Hogan before it faded away. The hotel still exists although it is now a private residence.
Hasting’s Road was never well maintained though. This led to the eventual abandonment of Millbridge. By the 1920s the town was gone, although the Post Office managed to stay open until 1969 when it was closed due to cost-cutting measures. Today the town still has many of it’s original buildings, but they all private residences.
Glanmire Ontario was a small village located on the Hastings Colonization Road north of Millbridge. The community was first founded in 1856, but a post office was not placed until late 1858. The original town was named Jelly’s Rapids after Andrew Jelly who owned the hotel.
When the post office was brought in, it was renamed after Glanmire Ireland. The Stage Coach brought travelers to (actually, through) town and had a hotel for their comfort. The post office moved mail between Millbridge and Thanet where it would later end up in York River (now named Bancroft.) In addition there was a school, store and a number of homes here.
The first post master was James Richardson who served from 1858 to 1861. He was succeeded by Andrew Jelly who ran the office from 1862 until 1866. Edward Tapp took over and ran it until 1869.
The town was doomed from the start. Land along the Road was infertile and few people could make a living off of it. Despite that, the town hung on for quite some time. The post office didn’t close until 1939, and the church lasted until it’s demolition sometime in the 1960s.
Today all the remains is the steps to the church, the graveyard, and a few ramshackle wooden buildings. The school building was moved to Millbridge and is now a storage building. The graveyard still seems an occasional burial, but who live here now are summers goers living in cottages nearby.
Not many people know of Pripyat specifically, but they know what happened here. On April 26, 1986, the worlds worse nuclear reactor meltdown happened here. Reactor Number 4 in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a catastrophic power increase. The emergency shutdown procedures created a second power surge that resulted in the rupture of the reactor vessel and a cascading failure of steam explosions. The explosions exposed the graphite moderator to the air, which in turn ignited and sent a plume of radioactive smoke into the air.
In the immediate area, 31 people died that day. Over the next thirty six hours, the forty nine thousand people who lived in this town were evacuated. Radioactive fallout from the area fell on the Russian state of Belarus and spread over Europe. A total of 350,000 people were premaritally evacuated from contaminated areas, and another 530,000 emergency personnel were affected by radiation.
An area called the “zone of alienation” extends 19 miles in all directions from the plant. 300 people still live in the area, all of whom refused to leave, but it is largely overgrown with forests and wildlife now. This includes Pripyat. The city was built to house workers and scientists for the nuclear plant, what remains is a glimpse of daily life interrupted.
Since 2011, Ukraine has allowed tourists to visit the area on short visits. Before that though, people were sneaking in to take pictures. Workers are still limited in the amount of time they can spend at the plant, and it is estimated that radioactive levels will be a problem for 20,000 more years.