The village of Richmond is the oldest settlement in Carleton County. It was surveyed and laid out in July 1818 under military authority as it was to be a supply depot for one of the new townships being set up by the British. It was to be populated by soldiers of the disbanded 99th regiment who had fought in the War of 1812. The British wanted settlers who were loyal to the Crown and familiar with military discipline and procedures, in case the Americans should try to invade again.
Richmond did not grow gradually; it was set up as a complete town with instant settlers – members of the Irish-raised 100th regiment which was renamed the 99th by the time its members got to Richmond. The settlement straddled the Jock River, which was then considered a useful transport route. Early Richmond had a school, an Anglican and a Roman Catholic church, a government stores depot, a number of log homes, a grist mill and a saw mill, owned by George Lyon, a town hall and the Masonic Arms Hotel owned by Sergeant Andrew Hill and his wife Maria. Colonel George Thew Burke oversaw the settlement.
Although the military withdrew its support in 1822, Richmond continued to do well and in 1850, it was the first municipal corporation in Carleton County to be formed as a village.
The Huntley Road had been built before the 1850’s connecting Richmond with the Upper Ottawa Valley to the north via Carp and Arnprior. Edward Rielly built a 22-room hotel on Perth Street at the corner of the Huntley Road which still stands to-day, though no longer a hotel. Many other businesses thrived in Richmond – carriage makers, barber shops, blacksmiths, general stores, and its population was about 500 people.
In 1894 the Carleton Country Fair moved to Goodwood Park which was later renamed the Richmond Fair grounds, and the Richmond Fair is still thriving to-day.
There were bake shops in Richmond in the early 1800’s but the one most familiar to residents recently was the Richmond Bakery at the corner of McBean and Perth Streets opened in 1952 but unfortunately closed in 2014. South Carleton High School also opened in Richmond in 1952. Richmond’s population grew from 1300 in the 1960’s to 3300 in the 1990’s. In 2013 it is around 4.000.
Things are changing rapidly now in Richmond with a number of new subdivisions being built and a brand new shopping centre with a large grocery store appearing on the eastern edge of town. It remains to be seen whether residents will be able to control the growth of their community in a way that will retain the village atmosphere of Richmond.