Dickinson's Landing

Part 1

Dickinson's Landing was first settled during the 1600's when the great French explorer, Robert Cavalier Sieur de LaSalle, established a trading post during the heady days of the French fur trade. In pre-canal times, Dickinson's Landing was located at the end of a portage around the Long Sault Rapids.

Following in the Hooples' footsteps was Barnabas Dickinson (also spelled Dickenson) who hailed from Massachusetts. Dickinson, after whom the settlement was later named, acquired the first government contract to transport mail by boat and stagecoach. Dickinson established his mail line after the end of the 1812-1814 War and performed the important function of moving the mail between Kingston and Montreal up until the railway age.

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In its early days, the "Landing" served as an important stopping point for all westbound travellers. Before the Cornwall Canal was built, the only way to bypass the Long Sault Rapids was on land, either by stage, wagon, horseback or on foot. Dickinson's Landing was the place where most travellers would disembark and where goods would be unloaded and hauled into wagons for the small trek over to Cornwall. Travellers often stayed over in the "Landing" to seek a much-needed respite for themselves and their horses before continuing on with arduous journey ahead. A favourite pastime of area locals was to be on hand when the Montreal stage stopped over. On many occasions they would be treated to impromptu visits from dignitaries such as a bishop, general or the governor himself.

The "Landing's" most prosperous days came before and during the building of the Cornwall Canal and the Grand Trunk Railway. These two projects, both gargantuan for their time, attracted a wealth of small industries and employment to the village. The village boasted a sawmill, brickyard, two blacksmiths, five general stores, a carriage factory, cabinetmaker, shoemakers and tailors. Several more small industries were located nearby the wharf. These included a distillery, soap factory and tannery, the latter run by John Dawson. One of the store owners, William Colquhoun, opened a post office in 1841. All told, the village contained about 20 shops housing various trades people. The "Landing"s many travellers were well served with a choice of six taverns and five hotels. One of most well known was Snyder's Stagecoach Inn, alternately called the St. Lawrence House Hotel.

The village's grist mill was built by a Captain Bullock, who also served as Customs Officer. Captain Bullock also figured prominently in the town's planning by donating lands for an 'Upper Road' that started just east of Hoople's Creek. In later years this same road connected the two communities of Dickinson's Landing and Wales. There was also a 'Lower Road' that led south to the brickyard.