I followed a round-about route home from Peterborough. It brought me through Marlbank, and I stopped by Dry Lake for a few minutes. It was very quiet and serenely peaceful. You’d never guess that this was once the site of a large factory employing 200 people.
There are a number of short histories of the town of Marlbank to be found online, varying slightly in their details. The local soil type, marl, determined much of its early development. The marl was ideal for making Portland cement, and in 1891 the first cement factory was opened. It conducted business under various names until it closed its doors in 1914. At its height, the factory employed 200 people and supported a busy town.
Explanations for the closure of the factory vary, but Marlbank supplied some of the cement used in the construction of the Panama Canal. Perhaps demand for cement fell after the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, and more remote and thus less economical operations were forced out of business. A few remains of the old buildings can still be seen as they succumb to new forest growth.
The area from which the marl was dredged now forms Dry Lake. When I stopped, there was a family of loons close to shore. They quickly retreated and I was only able to get a distant shot. Still, I was pleased to think that they were now the beneficiaries of that long-ago human enterprise.