The textile industry will never really leave Arnprior as long as the Kenwood building on William Street building remains standing. In its current incarnation, the Kenwood Corporate Centre accommodates many businesses including medical and dental offices, a radio station and storage facilities.
Many of these businesses are located in former mills offices and the loading docks are still in active use. The original floors and walls are still visible in many sections of the building, reminding the visitor of how it must have once felt to walk the halls when the factory first opened its doors in 1914.
Within living memory in Arnprior, it is not unusual for people to have the connection of being related to or knowing someone who worked at this building in the form of Kenwood Mills, Huyck Canada Limited, BTR, or Weavexx. This relationship continues to illustrate the importance of this building to the community and its influence on Arnprior’s commercial history.
Although Kenwood Mills dominates the popular memory around one of Arnprior’s longest running industries, it was not the only business that called the town ‘home’. Credit has to be given to Philip Dontigny and his various partners who brought textile production to Arnprior, as well as James Griffith and later Norman Lewis McNaughton who built the plant that would become one of North America’s largest producers of felts and blankets. Even ‘Kenwood Mills’, as a site, went through various owners before its eventual shut down. All the companies, from Dontigny’s Arnprior Woolen Mills to Weavexx, are responsible for textile manufacturing becoming the heartbeat of a rural community and creating a legacy that allows our collective history to be kept alive for future generations.