Growing up in Blackburn Hamlet, one of the staple activities of my childhood was exploring; in particular, the forests of Blackburn. There was the treehouse (now reduced to a standing, rotting landmark), the rope swing (still there, but irreversibly stuck, it seems, on a high branch), and various forts, tipis, and shelters that have come and gone—and will continue to do so, as long as kids continue to be themselves. But one path leading off of Green's Creek leads to a feature that people have gone to visit basically since Blackburn came into existence: the Stones.
The trail cuts off at the edge of a small hill, blocked off by some wide, stone foundation. Side trails lead down to the valley in which the Stones reside. Fourteen stones, sixteen if you count the ones hidden by bush, each about 7 feet high, are set along two lines parallel to the stone foundation. Looking straight from the foundation, the stones lead to another foundation set across the Green's Creek stream.
As a child, you would see these Stones for the first time and dash down the side trails, slipping along the mud and wet grass with excitement to see these huge stones you didn't know what to make of. The Stones are delicate from what could be a hundred years or more of weather abuse, and have been covered in different types of graffiti ever since I've visited them. Climbing them as you feel obliged to do proved difficult; you had nothing to grip on to except eroded sections that would crumble when touched.
Every time I go to the Stones, I always wonder what purpose they served. An obvious conclusion given their structure and alignment would be a base for train tracks, or a simple bridge. After researching Blackburn's history, I'm left with no definite conclusion, but certainly a few possibilities.
A sawmill fabricated by Robert Green (from which Green's Creek derives it's name) in the early 1800s would have needed to have a bridge built to send the lumber across the stream to another parts of Ottawa. This is the most likely possibility in my opinion, as the Stones are so close by to Green's Creak. Another possibility is that they were used for the Canadian Pacific Railway Line that was expanded through the Hamlet in 1898.
While I still don't know for sure what the Stones were used for years ago, I have grown to appreciate their mystery more so through my research, and feel pleasured to share a home with them.
Photo Credit: Adam Brown