Point of Interest

Fort Carleton at Grand Falls

Street Address: 304 Boulevard Broadway, Grand-Sault, NB

In order to secure the vital lines of communication between Halifax and Quebec City up the St. John River Valley, the first lieutenant governor of New Brunswick, Thomas Carleton, established a military post at Grand Falls in 1790. In May 1791, Lieutenant Dugald Campbell visited the post at Grand Falls and in a letter asked Governor Carleton if it could be called "Fort Carleton". The first garrison consisted of soldiers from the 6th Regiment. In the summer of 1812, the garrison consisted of Sergeant Bishop and three soldiers from the 104th Regiment. In the early 1820s, the post was abandoned once local military settlements were established and government support ended. The Michaud family occupied the old Commissary Storehouse and paid a small rent for it. During the Maine/New Brunswick border dispute, Grand Falls was a strategic location and in 1837 the garrison consisted of a detachment from the 43rd Regiment, until it left for Lower Canada to suppress the Papineau Rebellion. In 1839 the garrison consisted of the Light Company of the 36th Regiment, reinforced by 10 militiamen and a six-pounder cannon for a total of 90 men. During this period a blockhouse was constructed at Grand Falls.

The military post was never a fortified position, but consisted originally of a half dozen squared log buildings alongside the well-known portage that crossed the narrow neck of land separating the upper and lower basins on the St. John River, thereby allowing travellers to avoid the dangerous falls and gorge. The original military reserve totaled about 158 acres. The post was rebuilt in April 1839. It had three log houses capable of accomodating 210 men, plus a cooking house and privy. It soon expanded to include buildings for commissariat and barracks stores, a guard house, gun shed, powder magazine, and was surrounded by a palisade. The last troops departed in 1847 and a caretaker was left in charge of the post. In September 1848, a fire burned two of the log barracks and the storehouse was pulled down to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the post. It is believed locally that the old Mulherin Grocery Store, now the Senechale Furniture Company, at the corner of Court and Broadway Streets was the last surviving part of the post, most likely the third log barracks. As of 2017 the site is a vacant lot after the structure burnt down in 2010. The unusually wide Broadway Street was the original parade ground. The lower terminus of the original portage around the falls remains, but is overgrown.

Longest Surviving Structure of Fort Carleton

The longest surviving section of Fort Carleton. It was most
likely the third log barracks. It sadly burned down in 20110 and as of 2017 the site is a vacant lot.