The Carp Ridge in 1879

History of the Hills – Part 5

FCH board member and retired librarian Anne Wong found this eloquent account about the Carp Ridge/Carp Hills in the well known “Belden Atlas” published in 1879.  Written in the flowery language of the time, it describes how the “mountainous” outcrop in the northern corner of the township is the same as the Laurentian formation in Quebec (the Gatineau Hills are part of this formation).  The “Upper Road” is now called Carp Road.

“Reference has previously been made to the exceptionally poor character of the northern corner of the [Huntley] Township.  This formation is rather peculiar, being a spur of the Laurentides, which cross the Ottawa [River] at the foot of the Chats. Here there are portions which are quite approaching that character which might be termed mountainous, the only part of the Township where the topography exhibits an exceptional elevation.  These mountains are almost entirely of rock, in places as smooth as a dancing-floor for acres in extent, in others crossed and cut up by deep seams, in others again there are masses of huge size and every conceivable shape, piled in such form as to make acre after acre inaccessible even to the foot of a mountain-goat; in still other places the upheaval, which has evidently left the surface as it is, many cycles of time prior to the “creation of man,” has placed the molten strata in regular order and at various angles of inclination to the zenith; while everywhere the plainest evidence of tremendous heat are apparent, which, gradually dying out, left broad areas in the condition first described, which seems to have varied to the other names forms  by the occasional bubbling out, as it were, of the gases generated within the molten mass after the surface had become cooled.

This interesting formation runs down to the north-east limit of the Carp [River] Valley, and the peculiarity of the division is not less marked than the character of the divisions themselves. What is called “the Upper Road” from Carp Village to Fitzroy Harbor passes along the base of the mountain; and for miles – in fact all the way to the Fitzroy line and beyond – one can reach out the hand on one side and touch the forbidding rock of the mountain, which rises in many places very abruptly, and in others more gradually, to a height of several hundred feet; while a single step toward the other hand places him upon the gently descending and beautifully even plain which finds its lowest point at the edge of the Carp River, whose gliding, glittering stream can be seen for miles winding its way along its peaceful course, and flanked by a country which, though limited in extent, has no superior in excellence or in the attractiveness of its landscape, or general effect in this whole land of mountain and valley, and forest and stream, and rich fields, pleasant hamlets, and happy homes.”

Illustrated Historical Atlas of Carleton County, Ont; H Belden & Co: Toronto, 1879. (Facsimile edition printed 1971) p. 262.

Geological Survey of Canada Map 1508a shows the similarity of the Precambrian Shield formations of the Gatineau Hills and Carp Hills.  Download the map and read more about the geology of the Carp Hills here: