Val-des-Monts - Parc Marc Carrière
"Empreinte" by Béla Simó
Val-des-Monts, the Perkins Mill, and the exploitation of the woodland along the Blanche River
The name Blanche River originates from the whitish hue given to the water by the clay bed beneath its surface. The wooded land along the river was not exploited until about 1845, coinciding with the arrival of John Adams Perkins. This American textile dealer, although not predisposed to becoming a lumber baron, traveled up the Blanche River and settled near some falls that appeared to be ideal for building a mill.
Located on the current site of Marc-Carrière Park, the mill already had about 20 employees in 1851. Perkins built on the banks of the Blanche River, taking advantage of its 3,000 acres of woodland, where he harvested hemlock, pine, beech, and maple. After his death in 1871, his son, John Adams, managed the company until 1875, after which, until 1900, Éléonore and Arthur M. Perkins took over. In the 20th century, ownership of the mill changed hands several times and, as of 1926, its operation was entrusted to a tenant.
The Perkins Mill played a central role in the development of the village, which earned this sector of Val-des-Monts its name.
Empreinte, 2017, by Béla Simó
Simó’s work pays tribute to the early settlers of Perkins and how they have used the power of water to transform forest resources. The wheel symbolizes the sawmill. The mast at the rear represents the squared timber industry, which was the mainstay from 1800 to 1860 before giving way to the raw lumber trade. A wave-shaped bench is integrated into the work. It represents the water’s driving force in the transport and processing of wood.
A native of Transylvania, Romania, Béla Simó studied sculpture in Austria with the internationally renowned artist Josef Elter. He immigrated to Canada in 1987 and lived for several years in Whitehorse, Yukon. He has twice been presented with the Yukon Advanced Artist Award. He now resides in Val-des-Monts, Québec and draws inspiration from Canadian nature.