As you travel north along the Tatlock Road in Mississippi Mills, from Union Hall, past the Clayton Road, manoeuvring the scenic curves around Clayton Lake and across the Indian River, the road turns sharply to the left at a junction with Bellamy Mills Road – an intersection dominated by the Clayton General Store. local history buff Dave Murdoch, in his 2015 booklet marking the store’s birth in 1839, tentatively claims that “…the Clayton General Store has been in continuous operation for more than 175 years, which we believe makes it the oldest in Canada.”
The Clayton General Store’s old exterior today exudes an informal, mixed aesthetic, with a pop machine, lending library shelves, a post box, a variety of signs for ice cream, lottery and pizza, community notice boards and holiday lights hanging off the roofline. On the inside the store is warm, welcoming and unchanging. You are inevitably met with a valley greeting starting with “hey,” an endearing smile and an offer to help. The old screen door is something of a portal into a bygone age; the store, a celebration of tradition and community.
2862 Tatlock Rd, Clayton
Historical Books Nook
In keeping with the historic nature of what is believed to be the oldest building in Clayton, we will be having several local authors of historic books at the Store for 2 hour sessions of book signings and readings:
Claudia Smith – Sat 1 – 3pm Author of local history articles for The Lanark Era newspaper for 29 years as well as seven books including When the Sugar Bird Sings ~ A History of Maple Syrup in Lanark County and Gypsies Preachers and Big White Bears ~ One Hundred Years on Country Roads, Follow the Smoke ~ The History of Fire Fighting in Lanark Township, Country School Days ~ 1830s – 1960s, By Word of Mouth ~ Stories of Northern Lanark County, By Word of Mouth ~ Snow Drifts and Sleigh Bells and most recently Barns ~ A Reflection of Changing Times.
Peter Usher – Sun 1 – 3 pm – Author of Joey Jacobson’s War
Rosemary Sarsfield – Mon 1 -3 pm – Author of Whispers of the Past – History and Tales of Clayton
Local Historical Points of Interest
There are several interesting points to visit just across the street from the store. Take a stroll and check out: