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Historical Highlights of Norfolk
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There once were alligators in southern Ontario. In fact, these Simcoe-bred alligators roamed throughout northern Ontario, Quebec, the northern U.S. and even on South America between 1889 and 1945.

Now, as we enter the new millennium, one of these extinct Simcoe-bred alligators is back in the waters of the river Lynn once again.

The Alligator is Hatched!

A Better Way!

Around 1878, Mr. James Peachey and Mr. John C. West formed partnership and began the West and Peachey Company of Simcoe.

A very productive foundry, it provided the local farmers with good quality farm implements and the logging industry with saw mill equipment. One of their most noted products was a range of various sized boilers, some used in canning factories, and others for steam engines used by yachters.

As the plant grew, it moved to a site where the modern Federal Building/Post Office stands overlooking today’s Lynn River parks system.

In 1887, Mr. Joseph Jackson, a one-time MP for Norfolk County approached Mr. West with a problem. His logging company in the north country was finding the job of getting timber to the mills in the South more and more difficult as the the timber crews had to go so far north.

By 1889,West and Peachey came up with a prototype for a newly invented “Better Way” to solve the problem.

The Town of Simcoe was a blur of excitement. Businesses were closed, schools were let out for the afternoon, reporters and tourists were everywhere.

A hush went over the crowd as they took in the sight of this ungainly, awkward-looking scow-shaped boat that Mr. West and Mr. Peachey claimed could move along land as well as water!

The huge chimney began to belch out smoke, the whistle screamed and wailed, and the cable was secured to a “dead head” anchoring point several hundred yards away on the opposite side of the Lynn River.

Alligators In The Lynn!
Page 2
Alligator Gallery
Much to the surprise and delight of all, when the engine was reversed and the cable drawn tight, with a sudden lurch the boat began to move down the road with incredible ease. When the boat got to the shore of the Lynn River, it didn’t stop at all.

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Credit: William Yeager is the curator of the Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe.

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