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Standard Chemical

It's not often that you find an abandonment that an entire community is named after. It's even rarer that you manage to completely overlook that abandonment, blissfully unaware of it's existence. And yet, that was the case with the Standard Chemical building hidden in the trees up in Haliburton County; despite being easily accessible I had never encountered any mention of them previously. But that changed on a recent camping trip with Brind, who suggested we go take a look at the decaying ruins.

Location attributes for Standard Chemical
Location   Haliburton County, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1908 :: 1945
Status   Abandoned
Difficulty   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

The plant originally found life as the Donald Chemical plant, named after the founder R.A. Donald (who also lent his name to the nearby town and railway stop that formed). The plant produced charcoal from the surrounding maple trees for use in the smelting of iron, as there was a boom in foundry building in Ontario. Dense concrete was made on site, giving the backbone for the ruins that have managed to stand for the last 113 years. It was perfectly situation to ship and receive using the Grand Trunk Railway's Victoria Railway, between Haliburton and Lindsay.

However, in 1913 demand waned due to saturated markets along with World War I, and the plant was in trouble. Standard Chemical bought up the lease for the plant, and retooled it to produce acetate for use in explosive for the war effort. This carried the plant through the end of World War II. However, with the exhaustion of maple from nearby areas, as well as post-war improvements to petro-chemicals, the plant was shuttered. It has remained that way ever since; silent and forgotten.

Over the intervening years, nature has reclaimed the site, surrounding the crumbling ruins with new growth forest. To those passing by, the ruins poke out of gaps in the trees, but are mostly obscured from vision. However, Brind knew exactly where the plant was hiding,and so we found it in short order. A quick trek off the road and we were among the ruins.

There isn't much remaining at the plant; it's mostly the concrete shells of the buildings, although there were a few runs of old knob & tube wiring still in place. But sometimes, that's all your looking for in a location... silent ruins slowly being swallowed back up by nature. And Standard Chemical perfectly delivered on that front.

Passage of Time - September 2021
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