There are many hidden gems all along the banks of the Thames River in London Ontario, some are obvious and some are more subtle and you have to look carefully. Today’s exploration destination was an old abandoned dam ruins along the Thames known as the Waterworks dam located in Springbank Park.
London was in need of a heathier and stable water infrastructure and it was decided that a natural spring along the Thames River banks (hence the parks name Springbank) would be perfect to provide clean water to its residents. The water from the springs was stored in small collection ponds, one of which still exists behind Story Book Gardens. The London Water Works Dam and Pumphouse was built in 1878 to harness the hydraulic power of the Thames and pump water from these small collection ponds up to a reservoir located at the top of the hill high above the pumphouse and dam. From this point natural gravity would distribute water to key points within London
This was the Start of Springbank Park as we know today and it soon became a popular destination point for Londoners to picnic and spend their leisure time, back then it was referred to as Chestnut Park. In 1881 a second building was built behind the first building to house a steam powered pump for backup. In 1894 a third building was added to connect the two original structures and make one large building.
This pumphouse was in use right until 1967 when water from the great lakes became available, the pumphouse building was abandoned shortly thereafter. Over the years due to flooding and neglect, the abandoned Waterworks Dam has fallen into ruin. However you can see much of the original dam structure on both the north and south shores of the Thames River.
In 1978 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Springbank water works pumphouse and Dam, the building was restore and a commemorative plaque was added. Only a small portion of the building is used today for public washrooms the rest is abandoned.
Here are a couple of other historical facts about the Springbank dam ruins that are very interesting. In 1883 only 2 years after the steam ferry disaster that claimed the lives of 182 people just up the river, flooding from heavy rain swept the Princess Louise Ferry over the dam killing 7 people. In 1899 the propeller boat “Thames” caught on fire and sank just feet in front of the Waterworks Dam. In 1897 Joseph Saunby, who owned the Blackfriars mill upstream from the dam, filed a successful lawsuit against the London Water Commission for raising the water level too high and interfering with his mills water wheel.
Here is an old photograph dated 1880 of London’s Waterworks pumphouse and dam taken from the North Shore. To the left, you can see the Northern Hotel and ferry dock, both of which no longer exist.
The exact location of the abandoned Waterworks Dam and Pumphouse can be found on our abandoned locations database page.
Exploring The Remains Of An Old Sawmil
In our latest YouTube video we explore the ruins of an old sawmill located in Chesely Ontario along the banks of the North Saugeen River.
The location of these old sawmill ruins can be found on our abandoned places in Ontario Map.
Abandoned Saw Mill Ruins in Chesley Ontario
Was out exploring last week and thought I would go and check out the old abandoned Krug Brothers saw mill ruins along the banks of North Saugeen River in Chesley Ontario. Its quit amazing what is still left to see! I have explored many old mill ruins along many river banks and usually for the most part all that is left to see are stone or brick foundations. At the location of the Abandoned Krug Brother Saw mill there are still many gears and shafts and inner workings quit visible. The saw mill was built in 1891 and on the opposite side of the river is also where the Krug Brothers had their original furniture factory, the buildings are long gone but many stone foundations and some rusting abandoned equipment still remain along the river banks. There is an old abandoned bridge that easily allows you to cross the river to explore both sides. The complex was massive and they also had their own kiln on site to dry their own wood. There was tram system in place that criss crossed over the river to keep the operation running smoothly. The complex was closed in 1910 when they moved the operation to a larger more modern building along the rail-way line. This building is also abandoned now.
The location of these saw mill ruins and old Krug Brothers Furniture Factory ruins can be found on our abandoned places in Ontario Map.
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