TOUR STOP 24: Sunny Acres- The Ashery - 119 Haskins Point Rd.

The Ashery Lot

In August 1852, George Morton, an enterprising young businessman from Brockville negotiated the purchase of the government road allowance along the front of Lot 3, Concession VIII, Leeds Township. On this narrow strip of land which lies along the southern edge of the Sunny Acres property Morton set up an ashery where wood ashes were processed to produce potash.

Potash, a mixture of potassium rich compounds, was widely used in the 19th century in the production of soap, ceramics and glass. The most available source of potash was hardwood ashes of which there was an abundant supply as settlers cleared their land and burned the trees.

Wood ashes were leached with water to produce liquid lye that was then boiled in a large cast iron kettle until all the water was removed leaving a dark salt-like deposit known as black salts. Every settler had a potash kettle that was used to produce the black salts which were then sold to the ashery where they were heated to a high temperature to remove organic impurities producing pearl ash that was packed in barrels and shipped to market.

The ashery, under the management of Daniel Berney, expanded beyond the limit of the road allowance to include the property adjacent to the small bay; the waters leading to the main steamboat channel were cleared of stumps and sunken logs to provide access to the ashery wharf for the Reciprocity, George Morton’s steamboat.

This early enterprise played an important role in the development of the village as a port on the Rideau Canal.

The ashery continued operation into the 1870s when the supply of wood ashes dwindled; the last owner was James Moore. The ashery lot and wharf passed through several owners including John Randall and Adam Foster, a coal dealer from Smiths Falls. In 1941 the lot was purchased by Horace and Alice Wilkinson who established Sunny Acres resort with cabins to accommodate summer tourists.

Keith Sly
August 2021

Seeley's Bay Heritage Walking Tour - 130 Mill Street
  1. TOUR STOP 2: Seeley's Bay Wharf and the Rideau Queen - 130 Mill St.
  2. TOUR STOP 3: Seeley's Bay Saw Mill (Hartley's) - 136 Mill St.
  3. TOUR STOP 4: The Plane Crash - 130 Mill St.
  4. TOUR STOP 5: Horse Racing and Ice Cutting on the Bay
  5. TOUR STOP 6: The Dr. Christie House - 148 Mill St.
  6. TOUR STOP 7: The National Hotel - 160 Main St.
  7. TOUR STOP 8: The Brown House- Bootlegger - 179 Main St.
  8. TOUR STOP 9: Home of John Bracken - 172 Main St.
  9. TOUR STOP 10: The Hotchkiss House Murder - 196 Main St.
  10. TOUR STOP 11: Coleman's Hotel - 152 Main St.
  11. TOUR STOP 12: Dr. Gardiner House- presently Ridgway Confections - 159 Main St.
  12. TOUR STOP 13: The Bank - 148 Main St.
  13. TOUR STOP 14: Stage Coach Depot/ George Cheetham's Blacksmith Shop - 103 Bracken St.
  14. TOUR STOP 15: Kelly’s Fresh Mart formerly Sweets - 144 Main St.
  15. TOUR STOP 16: St. Peter's Anglican Church - 155 Main St.
  16. TOUR STOP 17: Dr. Bowen's House -145 Main Street
  17. TOUR STOP 18: Seeley's Bay Masonic Hall - 108 Adelaide St.
  18. TOUR STOP 19: Seeley's Bay United Church - 129 Hellen St.
  19. TOUR STOP 20 - A. Neal and Son, Brick and Tile Co. Circa 1900 - 109 Hellen St.
  20. TOUR STOP 21: A.J. Sly's Furniture and Undertaking - 140 Main St.
  21. TOUR STOP 22: Gilbert Carriage Works - 129 Main St.
  22. TOUR STOP 23: Gilt Edge Cheese Factory - 118 Main St.
  23. TOUR STOP 24: Sunny Acres- The Ashery - 119 Haskins Point Rd.
  24. TOUR STOP 25: Haskins Point - 148 Haskins Point Rd.