By Taylor McClure
Special to The Record
Ulverton, a municipality in the Val-Saint-François MRC, was once a bustling village with the Ulverton River, also known as the Black River, powering 18 wool, saw, and flour mills. The river basically powered the village’s economy. The most significant of the mills was the Ulverton Woolen Mill, first started by William Reed Dunkerly around 1849. The Ulverton wool mill, designated as a heritage building in 1977 and one of the few woolen mills left standing in Quebec, was preserved in the early 1980s. It now serves as an important interpretation centre, bringing visitors on a ride back in time.
In 1849, William Reed Dunkerly purchased a piece of land on which there was already a saw mill powered by the Ulverton River.
By 1851, he had built the Durham Woolen Factory, as it was called then. The mill was capable of producing 1,698 yards of fabric and was the only wool carding mill in the township of Durham. The wool industry in the Eastern Townships was just taking off around that time.