115 Clothier Street East
The site of the bakery located at 115 Clothier Street East, in the village of Kemptville is being designated as being of architectural and historical value. The building was first cited as a bakery in the Land Registry Abstracts on May 7, 1888 when Alphaeus Pattenson sold the property, he had owned for three years, to John L. Mc Bride for $1,200. The abstract notes the location and size of the property and in addition that the sale includes “all implement & fixtures connected with bakery business.”
Although the business has changed hands several times, this bakery has served the community, and the surrounding area over 120 years. The names of earlier proprietors have included George A. McCaughey, George Eager, Bertram Frisby and the Grahame family. The Grahame tenure is now under the management of the third generation, with the fourth already assisting their parents.
The business has been recognized many times over the years. The Municipal Council and the Kemptville and District Historical Society passed a motion on October 1989 recognizing the wood fired oven. It was featured in the Bakers’s Journal, September/October, 1990 Anniversary Issue. It has served as a model for a turn of the century bakery constructed at the Fort Steele Heritage Park in British Columbia. In 2006 Grahames’s Bakery was named to the Canadian Registry of Historic Places.
The bakery business at 115 Clothier Street East, Kemptville, is centred around the original wood fired brick oven, as it has for over 120 years. It is one of the last wood fired brick ovens in Canada that operates commercially.
The brick oven measures 15 by 15 feet or 4.57 by 4.57 metres and is 30 inches or 76.2 centimetres high at the centre. It is made of firebrick with 6 inches or 15.24 centimetres of red sand above and below for insulation. The front of the oven is rectangular and the back is sloped. The iron hardware on the oven is original. Once the fire is started it takes approximately 2 hours to heat the oven. There are no timers or thermostats. The oven can accommodate up to 250 loaves of bread.
The trial use of propane jets lasted exactly one day. The jets were unable to heat the bricks sufficiently and therefore were removed promptly.
The building housing the bakery dates back to c. 1888 when it was known as the “Crown Bakery.” The heritage designation, under the Ontario Heritage Act, Part IV, is restricted to the wood fired brick oven and the iron hardware.