Old Mill and Covered Bridge,
Hunter River, Prince Edward Island
Listen to Karen
This is the reason why Gary and I love to explore our Atlantic Provinces and talk with as many people as we can. You never know who is going to have a great story. I like covered bridges and when I researched my blog regarding covered bridges in New Brunswick, I checked for covered bridges in the other Maritime Provinces. Prince Edward Island is not known for it’s covered bridges and I found only one reference to a bridge in Hunter River and I wondered if it was still standing. While out traveling around we came upon Hunter River and went exploring.
We found the Old Mill and the covered bridge, so of course we had to investigate. Both the mill and bridge are private property now; however, we got incredibly lucky. There were two men standing talking and one of them owned the mill and covered bridge. We found out we were talking with Dwight Parkman who, along with his wife, in 2009 received recognition of their restoration of the mill when it was declared a federal heritage site. Dwight started up the water wheel for us and Gary took some video, gave us the history of the mill and showed us three old black and white photos. He also let us go across the bridge and take some photos of the outside of the mill. The photo here shows the Woods sawmill, with the Patterson grist mill behind and the Patterson homestead.
The mill was originally built by James Patterson as a grist mill in the 1840’s and remained in the family for three generations. The mill burned down and was rebuild in 1880. The third generation of Patterson’s used the site to produce electricity for the Hunter River Hydro Electric Company which generated electricity for the village. In return James Patterson received free electricity for his home and grist mill. The Patterson’s also operated a sawmill on the site which was moved to another site at some point.
The property was sold out of the family to Lefuta Wood, who owned it until 1938, sold the electrical generating system to the Maritime Electric Company. In 1944, Reagh Bagnall, purchased the mill from Wood and operated a door and window manufacturing business. He added an addition to the 1880 structure in 1948.
Dwight and Deborah Parkman “purchased the property in 2003 and have undertaken a substantial rehabilitation of the site. The original building was raised 3 feet and moved back 6 feet. A new stone and concrete foundation was added. The new wood cedar shingles were made on the site and the replacement windows and doors were also made locally. A new water wheel was later installed.”
The covered bridge was built over the dam in 2007 and appears to be the only covered bridge in PEI. It overlooks Bagnall’s pond.
If you get a chance to run into Dwight and you get across the bridge, look for the old yellow house, also a historical property which was the homestead for the three generations of Patterson’s.