by Bernie Monaghan, 1980s


The bridge which spans the Jacques Cartier at Clark’s commonly called the Iron Bridge was built in 1891. According to some old timers the steel for the bridge had been hauled from Valcartier Station with horses up the river on the ice the previous winter. 

Before continuing, describing the construction of the Iron Bridge, let us go back to when the residents of St. Gabriel used to cross the river in the ferry or scow. My father often told us about crossing in the ferry. The landing was situated below where Martial’s house is today and as my father was born in 1861, and could remember crossing there, it is reasonable to suppose that the first wooden bridge was constructed in the mid 1870’s. The stone piers of the old bridge can be seen from the present bridge. Until a few years ago when the dam on the river at the power house was demolished, the old stone piers could not be seen, as the dam backed the water of the Jacques Cartier up past Clark’s.

So, the wooden bridge couldn’t have been there more than twenty years, as a wooded structure, not roofed and exposed to the weather, would quickly deteriorate. This theory is borne out when we notice the frequent repairs registered in the Council Books.

As there is no person alive today who remembers the construction of the Iron Bridge, I quote excerpts from the minute Book of the Municipality of St. Gabriel West.

OCTOBER. 9, 1890.

From the minutes.

In answer to the second report from the Government, it was moved by Councilor Hayes, seconded by Councilor Neil that this council will assume  their share of $3,200.00 to assist in the construction of an Iron Bridge over the Jacques Cartier at Valcartier, and will pay to the government their share; that is to say in two installments. The first installment of $1066.67, then when the bridge is completed an equal sum of $1,066.67 one year after the bridge is completed and that the Secretary-Treasurer take a copy of this resolution To Mr. Fitzpatrick the member for the County of Quebec.

Passed unanimously. William Goodfellow, Sec- Treas .

DECEMBER 1, 1890. From the Minutes.

Moved by Councilor Patrick Hayes, seconded by Councilor Henry McKinley that this Council accepts the Government offer regarding the New Iron bridge at Valcartier and hope that the Government will proceed with the new iron bridge as soon as possible as the old bridge is in a dangerous state.

Passed unanimously. William Goodfellow, Sec-Treas.

JANUARY 5, 1891. From the Minutes.

After having read a letter from the Government dated 22 of December 1890, demanding the Councils of Valcartier to pay to the department of Colonization the Sum of $3800.00, it was moved by Councilor Smith, seconded by Councilor Hayes that the Secretary-Treasurer and the Mayor be authorized by the Council to borrow in the name of the Corporation the sum of $2,533.00 being the share that the Corporation have to contribute towards the new Iron Bridge at Valcartier and deposit the same with the Government.

Passed unanimously.

William Goodfellow, Sec-Treas.

JANUARY 20, 1891.


To the Municipal electors or rate payers of the Municipality of St. Gabriel West.

Public Notice is hereby given that a by-law, No. 17, to borrow $2.533.33, and to levy the same with five per cent interest for two years upon all the real estate on the Municipality to pay to the Government the said $2,533.33 for the construction of the abutments of the new Iron Bridge over the Jacques Cartier River at Valcartier. The said by-law will, according to a resolution of the Council submitted to the approval or dis­approval of such by-law on Monday the ninth day of the month of February, this year, in conformity with the Municipal Code of the Province of Quebec, and that such meeting will be held on the above day at ten of the clock in the forenoon at the residence of George Neil where the Council holds its sittings.

William Goodfellow Secretary-Treasurer,

20 of January 189l, St. Gabriel West.


I, the undersigned Secretary-Treasurer, being domiciled in the Municipality of St. Gabriel West, do certify under oath of office that I published two certified copies of the above original notice by posting one on the public road on the line between John Holton and Thomas Neil, and another at Fairchild’s where James Goodfellow is residing, on Tuesday, 20 of this month of January at 4 of the clock in the afternoon. Also two certified copies of the No. 17 by-law on the same day and same hour, both, in the Municipality of St. Gabriel West this 20 day of January 1891.

William Goodfellow Secretary-Treasurer.

By-law No. 17, Province of Quebec, Municipality of St. Gabriel West,

County of Quebec.

At a special session of the Municipal Council of St. Gabriel West, convened by his Worship the Mayor, Samuel Clark, and held in said Municipality where the sessions of the Council are usually held, on Monday, the nineteenth day of January, eighteen hundred and ninety-one , in conformity with the provisions of the Municipal code of the Province of Quebec, at which were present Mayor, Samuel Clark, and the Councilors George Neil, Patrick Hayes, Henry McKinley, William Hamilton, Francis Smith, and James Bowles, forming a quorum of the Council under the presidency of the Mayor, Mr. Samuel Clark.

It is ordained and resolved by law of the Council as follows:

That whereas the Government of the Province of Quebec has agreed to subscribe $,200.00 towards the construction of the abutments for an iron bridge at Valcartier over the Jacques Cartier River and to call for tenders and construct said bridge as soon as possible as the Municipalities of St. Gabriel West and St. Gabriel de Valcartier shall have deposited the sum of “3,800.00 in the hands of the Government, being the amount of the contribution for such purposes to be made by the said Municipalities .

That a special assessment of three dollars and seventy-five cents be levied upon all taxable real estate in the municipality of St. Gabriel West in order to raise the sum of $2,786.63 being the amount of said loan and interest for two years.

That whereas the share of the Municipality of St Gabriel West is the sum of $2,533.33 which sum must be paid to the government before the government will commence construction of said bridge.

That it is advisable that the Mayor, Mr. Samuel Clark and the

Secretary-Treasurer, William Goodfellow, are hereby authorized to borrow in the name of the Corporation of St. Gabriel West the sum of $2;533.33, and pay the same into the hands of the Government of this Province, for the purpose aforesaid of the construction of the proposed Iron bridge and are further authorized to sign for said Corporation a deed of obligation for said sum payable to the lender at the expiration of two years from the date of such loan with interest at the rate of five percent per annum.

That the Secretary-Treasurer is instructed to draw up an assessment roll pursuant to the foregoing provisions.

William Goodfellow, Secretary-Treasurer.

JULY 6, 1981.

From the minutes. (Here they must be referring to the old wooden bridge)

Moved by Councilor Hamilton, seconded by Councilor Neil that whereas the bridge over the Jacques River is in a dangerous condition, that the Secretary-Treasurer put up Public Notice Upon the bridge, that any person

or persons passing a double team of horses loaded over three hundred weight the Corporation will not be responsible for any damage incurred by the break­ing of the said bridge but will hold the parties responsible for said damage.

Passed unanimously.

FEBRUARY 6, 1892

From the Minutes.

Moved by Councilor Hamilton seconded by Councilor Neil that the Council publish and sell the old wooden bridge over the Jacques Cartier river, on Monday the 22nd day of this present month of February 1892. And that it be sold in lots. Sale to take place on the bridge at 12 of the clock noon.

Passed unanimously.

William Goodfellow Secretary-Treasurer.

This sign appeared at the entrance to the Iron Bridge some years after its construction.


This is all the information we can glean from the old Municipal Records concerning the construction of the Iron Bridge commonly known as



This was the name given to the bridge which spanned the Riviere Aux Pins in front of the residence of William and Herbert Hayes.

This bridge was very hard to maintain over the years due to the log-driving that was done by various lumber companies. They used to dam the Riviere aux Pins Lakes in order to have high water to drive the logs. This great volume of water pushed the logs quickly along and used to damage the abutments of the bridge. The logs were floated on down to Lake St. Joseph to the mills. The Municipal records show that there was almost continual disputes and legal actions against the lumber companies by the Municipal authorities.


This is a mountain a short distance from the Riviere aux Pins road on lots 158, 159 and 160, above Quinlan’s Hill. It got its name, because the passenger pigeons which used to abound here in the early 1800’s used to flock there before migrating south. I used to listen to the older folks speak of their ancestors telling them that the flocks were so large they used to darken the sun. John Patrick Gillis, a famous writer and naturalist tells of the flocks flying South would be caught in nets by millions. My father shot one in 1877 and they were becoming very scarce at that time. They said that on the Pigeon Rock they would break down the branches of the trees. It seems that when the oats were ripe they could quickly destroy it. I heard a story that certain years ago had a Mass said to be rid of the passenger pigeons.

At any rate they are now extinct. The last lonely pigeon died in a New York zoo in 1915.


This is a road which branches off from the Riviere aux Pins Road, runs past Lake Murphy and was an outlet for the farmers living in the back end of the Fourth Range. Prior to 1893, the farmers in that area had to travel the old Fourth Range Road, which was stony, crooked and hilly. In the late 1920’s the Patrick Corcoran Family was the only family there; I suppose that explains why in my time it was called Corcoran’s Turn. In the early thirties other families established themselves; John McCartney, Eugene Verret, Herbert Neil, William Atkins, Frank Corcoran and John Atkins who lived at the end of the Fourth Range Road used to travel that road. (John Atkins lived there in summer only.)

Here is a copy of a petition from the residents of that area, presented to the Municipality asking them to open up the new road.


To his Worship the Mayor and members of the Municipal Council St. Gabriel West.

Petition of the rate payers of the 4th Concession. –

The petition of the undersigned proprietors and occupants of the land in the Fourth Concession of the said Municipality humbly herewith.

That your petitioners has for a number of years suffered considerable hardship having to make our outlet over the mountain of the Fourth Concession Road by Thomas Murphy’ s , where we could have a level road, without hills by Proces Verbal a route road through the property of John Roarke and Patrick Corcoran giving the road through their property free of charge.

(Petition continued on next page)

Therefore your petitioners humbly pray that your honorable Council may be pleased by the powers vested in your Honorable Council under the provisions of the Lower Canada, Municipal and Road Act of 1890, to take the legal steps to establish the road and to amend the Proces Verbal of the second Concession, and your petitioners will as in duty bound ever pray,  Municipality of St. Gabriel West. June 24, 1893.

Robert Davidson (senior)

John Roarke

Patrick Corcoran (is road free)

Spruce Theberge X

George Theberge X

Edward Atkins X

John Davidson X

John Atkins

George Atkins

Robert Davidson (junior)

July 15, 1893.  From the Minutes.

Moved by Councilor Neil, seconded by Councilor Murphy, that the Petition of John Roarke, Patrick Corcoran, Spruce Theberge, Edward Atkins, and others of the 4th Concession be granted. And that William Goodfellow be appointed special superintendent to visit the locality mentioned in the petition after giving eight days’ notice to the interested parties and draw

up a Proces Verbal in amendment with the common front road.

Passed Unanimously.


Public Notice is hereby given to the proprietors of the 4th Concession interested in the front road leading from the 4th concession front road to the 2nd Common Front Road on the property of John Roarke and Patrick Corcoran now prayed for in the petition of John Roarke, Patrick Corcoran and others of the Fourth Concession within the Municipality of St. Gabriel West the undersigned hereby notify all interested parties will convened and held at the house of John Roarke, on Wednesday the 26th of July at eleven of the clock in the forenoon, in accordance with the provision of the Municipal Code and to proceed to same and examine that portion of the above mentioned road prayed for in the petition on the property of John Roarke and Patrick Corcoran in order to enable the undersigned as special superintendent to report and draw up a Proces Verbal in amendment on the route road in the 2nd Concession on lot No. 162.

William Goodfellow Special Superintendent.

There are other documents to this effect contained in the Municipal



Prior to 1896 the Redmond extended down the river as far as John Corrigan’s Ferry. The people who were living there used to cross the river in a ferry which I will explain under the heading of John Corrigan’s Ferry.

The people living further down the river, William Fitzpatrick and Owen  McLaughlin, their only outlet at the time was to climb the trail which at that time ran along the line between what today are the properties of Mount St. Sacrament and Allen Rourke, and then go down the old Fourth Range road.

Those people were not so fortunate in having their petition granted as were the people on Corcoran’s road. I will now quote from the Records of the Municipality.



Public Notice is hereby given by me the undersigned Secretary-Treasurer to all the interested proprietors in the 4th and 5th Concessions of St. Gabriel West, that there is a petition filed in the Council of this Munici­pality of St. Gabriel West, from William Fitzpatrick, Curtis Billing, Edward McLaughlin, praying the Council to open a road through the properties Of Edward Mclaughlin, Curtis Billing, William Hamilton, John Roarke, Thomas Roarke and Widow Roarke, to where it meets the Fourth Concession road.

The said petition will be taken into consideration by the Council on Monday, July 5, at 12 o’clock noon, when all parties for and against the said petition will be beard.

William Goodfellow, Secretary-Treasurer.

July 5, 1886.

Excerpt from the meeting.

Moved by Councilor Bowles, seconded by Councilor Woodlock that the petition of Curtis Billing, William Fitzpatrick and Edward McLaughlin be granted by this Council. For the motion: Councilor Woodlock and Councilor Bowles. Moved by Councilor Davis, seconded by Councilor Clark that the petition of Curtis Billing, William Fitzpatrick and Edward McLaughlin be not granted by the Council.

AGAINST THE MOTION: Councilor Davis and Councilor Clark, the Mayor giving the casting vote against the motion. Motion lost.

Councilor Francis Smith and Councilor William Fitzpatrick being interested  left their seats during the motion.

They again petitioned the Council in 1895. This time they were successful as the people all along the Redmond road wished to open the road through and consequently carried more weight. After several petitions and sessions their request was granted.

OCTOBER 28, 1895.

Excerpt from the Minutes of a Special meeting.

Moved by Councilor James Clark, seconded by Councilor James Bowles, that the petition of the ratepayers of the Fifth Concession and fief St. Ignace be (accepted) granted and that Mr. Henry Crawford be appointed Special Superintendent by the Council to carry out the matter of the said petition and draw up a Proces Verbal if necessary and lodge it with the Council before the 15th of the month of November 1895.

Passed unanimously.

I do not know the origin of Redmond Road, there used to be a post office at Al Corrigan’s until 1931. It bore the name of Redmond Post Office.


 I remember the oldsters always referred to Valcartier Village as the SETTLEMENT. They used to speak of the forces Q! Oliver McKinley, Sam Seed and Johnny McBain. Also James Sajuk’s dry good store. We Will speak of this later on when I’ve done more research.


This was a high rock situated on Lot 238 of the Fourth Range which used to belong to William Davidson. From its summit one had a magnificent view. On a clear day four lakes could be seen; Lake Murphy, Lake Hayes, lake Ferre and part of Lake St. Joseph. Often during summer we would see visitors walking up to enjoy the view.


It was a huge rock on Riviere aux Pins road, on the right shortly before the turn to Lake Hayes road. . I don’t know how it got its name but it was an old land mark and often appears in the old Council books. I will cite an example:

March 6, 1906.

Excerpt from the minutes.

Moved by Michael Woodlock, seconded by H. Roarke, that all Municipal Officers in the Municipality be replaced by new ones as follows:

In the room of Robert Davidson from the Iron bridge till it strikes the Needles, Bill Maher.


This Bridge got its name because after it’s construction it was painted red and remained so for about twenty years. then it was painted gray. It spanned the Jacques Cartier River, not far from Al Corrigan’s. It was a covered wooden bridge. The residents of that area deserve a lot of credit for the erection of that bridge. They cut and hauled the logs themselves. The Provincial Government permitted them to cut the logs on some of the Government lots in the area. Jack Price contributed the sum of $1000 towards the cutting of the logs. The logs were piled on Al Corrigan’s property. This was done during the winter of 1929-30. Al Corrigan built a saw-mill around that time to saw logs. this eliminated the task of hauling the logs to Lepire’s mill in Valcartier Village, a distance of about six miles. Mr. Corrigan’s mill was subsequently taken over by his son and was in operation until his son Gerald’s death in the 1950s.

There is no record of the construction of this bridge in the Municipal books of St. Gabriel West. It seems to have been a grant from the Provincial Government secured by Ephrim Bedard, M. L. A. for the County of Quebec at the time. The only mention of the bridge in the municipal books at that time was a motion from which I quote:

NOVEMBER 2, 1931.

Excerpt from a general session of the Municipality of St. Gabriel West.

Moved by W.Smith, seconded by Edmund Corrigan, that this Council authorize Edmund Corrigan to get a sign for the new bridge at Albert Corrigan’s with the member’s name Ephram Bedard engraved on it, and have it placed on the end of said bridge.

Passed unanimously.

James Clark, Secretary-Treasurer.

The cost of building the bridge was: $8,500.

The bridge burnt down in the summer of 1972. It is widely believed that the destruction of the bridge was the act of a criminal hand. A modern concrete and steel bridge now spans the river at the same location. It was built by the Provincial Government in 1975.


This is also an old landmark. It is situated in Riviere aux Pins; if one turns right at the corner it leads to Hayes Bridge, by continuing straight one follows the road South East of Riviere aux Pins to the Grand Line.


This hill was always a hazard to motorists in winter time; due to the steepness and curves. Petitions were made to the Provincial Government over the years by the Municipal Council to have the road straightened but with out success. It begins where the old Fourth Range road joins the main road. In the early days it was called the Mill Hill as well as the bridge which spans the stream was called the Mill Bridge in the old Council books. It got the name of Todd hill in 1866, when George Todd acquired the surrounding land. Prior to then George Todd had lived on the Fourth Range. The old timers used to refer to it as the near Mill Hill, while they call the Mill Hill in St. Gabriel East, the Far Mill Hill.


This mountain is visible from several directions. It rises from the North West bank of the Jacques Cartier River to attain a height of 1950 feet. (I still haven’t got onto metric). It got its name from families of that name who lived there. The name has since been changed to a French one. It was used as a firing range for heavy artillery during both world wars.


It also was named after a family who lived there. It is sometimes called the Round Mountain. It is owned by the Militarysince 1914 and they have a ski resort on the Northern slope. It also has been given a French name.


Prior to 1896, people residing on the West side of the Jacques Cartier River, in Fief St. Ignace and down as far as John Corrigan’s, had to cross the river on a ferry known as John Corrigan’s Ferry. From there they had a steady climb until they reached the Fifth Concession road. The ferry road went along the line between Curtis and Andrew Brown’s. Today the old trail is owned by Roy Keeler. It is now a private road.

When the lower Redmond road was opened for traffic to the Fourth Range Road, they extended the road up as far as the Ferry so that the farmers living there could travel all the way down to the bridge. ! understand they had a lot of difficulty  opening the road through Fitzpatrick’s hill. Until the late 1920’s it was still referred to as the new Road. Many hair-raising tales were told of hazardous crossings at the Ferry.


This mountain situated north West of Riviere aux Pins rises to a height of over 2,000 feet. Its summit was reached with difficulty.  A tower was erected on its summit, an observation tower as the surrounding forests could he seen for miles around and an alert could be given as soon as the fire ranger sighted any smoke or sign of forest fires. As the trail which led to its summit was long, the fire ranger to reach its summit would make the steep climb from Lake Bouleau. A series of ladders had been built over the almost perpendicular slope.   Ted McLaughlin was the last fire ranger to work at the tower. He worked there until the time of the expropriation in 1967.