The Globe Foundry

In 1844, George Leavitt, a foundry worker apprenticed at the Gartshore Shops, build and operated a foundry between Rosina Street and Spencer Creek (Rosina initially fronted the north side of Spencer Creek but it no longer exists).  Two years earlier Leavitt had built an axe factory just upstream of this foundry at the bridge on Bridge Street (now Main Street).  This site was ideal, as in the early 1830s Robert Holt (and possibly John Gray) financed the building of a dam just upstream of the bridge which allowed the use of pipes or flumes to convey water to power machinery in mills and factories downstream.  In 1847 Leavitt was looking for partners in the business, which he called the Globe Foundry, and by the following year Holt had become a co-owner.  The 1851 Smith map shows three buildings at the Globe Foundry site.  An 1847 advertisement lists the following products for sale: stoves (heating and cooking),thrashing machines, percussion wheels and mill gearing.  However, in 1848 the foundry was listed as ‘vacant’.

The 1855 Assessment Rolls show Leavitt as owner of the Foundry, but in that same year an advertisement by Robert Holt & Co. (the Company comprising John Gray, J.M. Thornton and Thomas Davis) designates the site as the Wentworth Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works.  The ad states that due to greater demand their plant is now in full operation and will sell steam engines (2 – 31 hp), steam boilers, saw mill machinery and castings, stoves and miscellaneous castings.  It is doubtful that all these items were being manufactured at the (former) Globe Foundry as the ad goes on to say “… will spare no expense in erecting suitable buildings – supplying the latest and most improved machinery – employing the most skilful mechanics – and in every way make our establishment worthy of the support of the public at large”.

Four years later, on May 17, 1859, the foundry was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt.  One may speculate that even though the demand for foundry products was high at the time, the competition just upstream of this foundry, i.e., the thriving Gartshore Works, may have been too much for them to consider rebuilding from scratch.  A more logical explanation is that Leavitt left Canada for Illinois about this time and started up a manufacturing business in Bloomington.  He died there in 1863.

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