We thank you for your patience while this site is being updated.
Preserving and Celebration our Past….
The town of Palmerston has a very unique history in Southwestern Ontario. When the railways began to extend to this part of the province the vast majority of towns already existed when the railway lines were built; as a result the stations were built on the outskirts of the towns. Palmerston, however, came into existence in the 1870′s with the arrival of the Wellington, Grey & Bruce Railway. Since the town was built around the railroad, the town of Palmerston has the smallest main street in Southwestern Ontario, as well as the longest Pedestrian Bridge in all of Ontario.
This site will share the stories of The Old Iron Bridge of Palmertson and the railroad.
Palmerston’s Pedestrian Bridge
The Pedestrian Bridge is considered Palmerston’s most unique and treasured landmark. During the railroad’s peak in Palmerston, the Grand Trunk had expanded the number of tracks in its yard to accommodate up to 40 trains a day. It became very tricky to pass over such a large number of tracks without some inherent dangers present. To minimize the danger for pedestrians, the Grand Truck Railway began building the Pedestrian Bridge in 1910 which was finished by 1912. This bridge allowed people to safely cross the train tracks and was often used by children walking to school.
It still maintains a prominent position within the community, and has been integrated into the Lions Club Heritage Park, which is also home to the swimming pool and Old 81.
The Re-Opening of the Pedestrian Bridge During the Summer of 2008, the pedestrian bridge in Palmerston had been closed off, much to the dismay of the Town’s people and visitors. It had been closed down due to the need of restoration. It was re-opened on October 3, 2008 with a special ceremony to recognize the community’s heritage. Students from Palmerston Public and Norwell District Secondary schools were in attendance, which had seemed fitting, as they were the reason behind the bridge’s existence. Palmerston’s local historian, Bob McEachern, provided a speech detailing the history of Palmerston and the Bridge. He explained that Palmerston is unique in Wellington County as the railway had existed before the Town. Elsewhere, the towns had been established long before the railways came into being, which resulted in the railway stations and yards being located on the outskirts of town. Palmerston, however, had their station and rail yard located in the centre of the town, as the Town built up around it. In the early days, a decision had been made to build the school on one side of the tracks even though the residential area was on the other side. As a result all of the railway traffic had to stop to accommodate students travelling back and forth to school in the morning and afternoon. This resulted in the bridge being constructed in 1912, which has since been noted as the longest bridge of its kind in Ontario.