What? Remove that quaint little bridge!! The residents of Spring Mills (Camborne) must have been ready for a civil war when in 2013 it was rumored that the Town Fathers in the interest of safety (and maybe dollar bills) decided to remove this historical little one-lane bridge. Sure, traffic was light over the stream on the little-used Albert’s Alley, but remove it?
OK, the bridge was crumbling and unsafe for traffic but totally remove it? No way! You can’t do it! A compromise was eventually reached…a new pedestrian-only bridge would be erected over the stream.
This story started in a 2oldguyswalking blog dated January 26, 2014 titled “You Can’t Go Back!” In it the Ranger described the fun we once had as kids on and near that much loved old bridge. It took a longtime, but the new bridge is now (Oct/015) in place and here is the promised update on it.
The bridge recently removed was erected in 1934 and was part of the former 1830’s dam for a mill pond that powered a saw mill/pail factory and a Grist Mill on the property.
If you have ever visited the Camborne Ski Club (now closed) you have crossed this quaint old bridge, likely never aware of the amazing history of this area to the founding of Camborne Village by the Miller, William Hore Camborne, Ontario Ghost Mills.
The stream starts in Upper Coldsprings and it’s origin can be found in the park at the Community Hall, County Rd.18 and Willis Road. It then merges with a second stream in Lower Coldsprings. Continuing south it merges with yet another stream in Camborne just north of the bridge.
You may also find this stream flowing under a rustic old wooden bridge on the Majestic Hill’s Trail, a short trail that runs from the west side of County Rd. 18 (across from Hamilton Township Municipal Office) west to Williamson & Bickle Hill Roads.
Continuing it’s way south, this stream also passes under Dale and Danforth Roads. A bit farther south the stream is then joined by another and flows through the Laurie Lawson Outdoor Education Centre on Telephone Road. Finally, south under Elgin St. in Cobourg and into the Cobourg Conservation Area as Cobourg Creek West and is joined by Cobourg Creek East and flows under William St. and on to Lake Ontario.
Ranger claims to have the honor of being the first person in Northumberland County to see this new bridge! Having lunch at Harvey’s in Port Hope, he spied it on an eighteen wheeler roaring east-bound down the 401 at a speed higher than any bridge ought to be! The $160,000 bridge, from the Eagle Bridge Co. in Kitchener was surely heading towards it’s new home over Camborne Creek!
Having inspected the new bridge site from the stream underneath it, an unusual oddity was noticed (and can be seem from the bridge). A long rectangular wooden log (looks much like concrete) about 18 x 20 inches in diam. with an unknown length buried in the soil. This log is the wrong shape to be a remnant from a barn (barn beams were usually square) or any other local building that might have flooded downstream. Looks suspiciously like the wooden logs that may have contained the original earthen and stone dam or maybe, lined the millrace (the channel conducting water to a waterwheel of one of the two mills once located here). The former millrace is still very visible but has been severely eroded over the years.
A more realistic explanation might be that this unusual timber, squared on the top and bottom and ‘arrow shaped’ on the end may have been part of the bridge approach which was dug up in the recent construction. The approach on the S/W side of the bridge was altered to allow stainless steel wire mesh baskets filled with stone (Gabions) to be buried here to prevent soil erosion.
There are some other unexplained oddities around this bridge. A strange row of stones across the stream a short distance north of the bridge. A row of planks with a round hole in the top of each, protruding a foot above the soil in an almost semicircle formation under the bridge. Some large pieces of concrete downstream, likely from floodwaters. Could these concrete pieces be the fate of the sawmill/pail factory thought to have been located SE of the bridge or more likely left-overs from an earlier circa 1913 bridge at this location?
I truly hope that when the Albert’s Alley (east) ‘turn-around’ is completed, excavation for the road base might expose relics from the foundation of the saw mill/pail factory. There is nothing the Ranger enjoys more than solving historical mysteries. So I will continue my research here.
Note: The new pedestrian bridge may be seen and enjoyed from Albert’s Alley just west off County Rd 18, in Camborne,