|Park Brothers Foundry employees📷"Chatham" by Jim Gilbert, Lisa Gilbert|
I did find out more about The Park Brothers Foundry, also known as Chatham Engine Works. My paternal uncle has vague memories of going to the site when he was a child. He told me they made boilers and engine parts. With this in mind, I poked around and found a really interesting contraption that the Park Brothers built. It was called The Dipper Stick. (Pictured below)
Samuel Martin (1839-1908) was an entrepreneur/realtor. In 1878 he purchased 600 acres of marshland in Dover Township, Ontario for $75. He planned to drain and cultivate the land. He set up a 50 acre test plot where he constructed a 4 foot dyke. There were failed attempts to remove the water using wind and steam powered pumps. He came up with the idea to construct a large scooper type wheel that would be powered by an engine to continuously lift the water up and over the dyke. He commissioned the Park Brothers Foundry to construct the wheel according to specs by local engineer E.B. Jones. In 1880, the wheel successfully drained the 50 acre test area within a week's time. The land was then planted and produced a high yield corn crop that summer! They would go on to transform thousands of acres of marshland into some of the most fertile land in Chatham-Kent. The photo is the cover of a book written about the big project, compiled by Marion Matt in 1979.
I was unable to find the Industry and Manufacturers Schedule for Canada, but I'm really pleased learning about Archie Park and his brothers' contribution to their home town.
|Park Brothers Foundry Employees - circa 1888|