Heritage Happenings The Waterdown - East Flamborough Heritage Society February 2007 ISSN-0824-1651 'Prints Over Hamilton: Aerial Views' Speaker: Gary Evans Friday February 23, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. Fellowship Hall, St. James United Church The Waterdown - East Flamborough Heritage Society Box 1044, Waterdown, Ontario L0R 2H0 Phone 905-689-4074 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Page: www.wefhs.hamilton.ca NEWS FROM THE SOCIETY Gary Evans will present an illustrated talk on Prints over Hamilton: Aerial Views. Some years ago, Mr. Evans brought back pleasant memories of the Aldershot area. This will be a nostalgic view of the Ambitious City as seen from the air. Over the years, Gary has acquired an extensive collection of aerial photographs and he will tell us some of the history of Hamilton and area from the perspective of many high flying citizens - possibly as George ‘Pip’ Allen has seen it. We will see how the harbour shoreline and the mountain areas have changed since the 1920s. Born in Woodstock and at one time a resident of Waterdown, on Main Street South, Gary has lived in Burlington for many years. He has been in the publishing business for over 40 years, working for newspapers in various parts of Ontario including 25 years with the ‘Hamilton Spectator’. He is the author and publisher of many of his own books, such as ‘Prints of Burlington’, ‘Prints Along the Beach’ and ‘Prints of the Steel City’. As Spring approaches, your Executive and Board Directors turn their attention to the continued health of the organization. To keep a healthy organization there must be an influx of new volunteers and Board members. It's an interesting and satisfying activity, so please consider helping out. A new publication is now available at the Flamborough Archives. 'Morden Marriages 1825-1927' is a collection of 130 sourced marriage registrations for Flamborough based Mordens and off-spring, at $15.00 per copy plus postage and handling. This is part of the Society's Millennium project to study those Mordens descended from the widow Ann Morden, first documented settler in the Dundas Valley, and those Mordens who followed, appearing in Flamborough before 1805. HERITAGE AREA NEWS AND EVENTS – Dundas Valley Historical Society The Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 7:30 pm Friday, March 9, 2007, at 7:30 p.m. Speaker Shannon Kyles, 'A Walk Through the 'Gems of History, Science and Art in the Valley Town: An Architectural History $2.00 Whitehern Archives'. Local McQuesten expert admission fee. Dr. Mary Anderson will enlighten us about some Dundas Museum, 139 Park Street West, Dundas of the more unusual highlights at Whitehern. The Football Hall of Fame, 58 Jackson St. West, Hamilton. ARCHIVES REPORT The Archivist's recent application for funds from The Friends of the Archives of Ontario to purchase a number of microfilms of newly released birth, death and marriage records and a number of publications containing newspaper obituaries of the 1860-1880 period was unsuccessful. If any member of the Society would like to make a donation to the Archives so these resources could be purchased, an income tax receipt would be issued to cover the costs involved During the last two months, a number of interest donations have been received and are presently being catalogued for use. From Ms. Judy Morgan, daughter of the late Mrs. Dorothy Cook of Waterdown, a dozen scrapbooks, covering the 1930-1960 period that were kept by Dr. J. R. Vance, a Waterdown dentist. The books contain a wealth of newspaper clippings about area residents and events and cover the decades prior to the Kitching-Steepe scrapbooks, with some overlapping. These are awaiting indexing by Archives volunteers and typing by Mrs. Jan Hunt, so will not be available for several months. From Rev. Laurie Duby, the recently retired minister of Grace Anglican Church, Waterdown, the loan of material for copying - a carte de viste and two photographs of earlier Grace Church ministers, (Rev. George Higginson, c.1860, the church's first minister, Rev. Alexander Boyd Higginson, c.1902 and Rev. Robert Cordner c. 1909) and a photograph of the church taken from Main Street looking east c.1910. In January, Mr. Len Snell kindly arranged for the loan of another group of photographs for copying belonging to Mr. Bruce McCartney, including ones of students attending the early Victoria and Balaclava Schools and three views of a farmer and his double hay wagon. Views of the Hewins House on Centre Road, the famous Hewins Barn and the stone fences of the Mountsberg area were also received. A valuable book to assist researchers has been purchased and shelved for use - 'Vital Records in Ontario before 1869: A Guide to Early Ontario Vital Records' by Fawne Stratford-Devai and Ruth Burkholder will possibly assist those who are searching for missing genealogical records as it contains numerous sources where early birth, death and marriage records might be found. Donations of East and West Flamborough Township family history and genealogical records of the following have been shelved for use during the last two months: Thomas Charlton Family and Joseph Antonia Family of East Flamborough Township; Rev. Thomas Wardrope Family of West Flamborough and Puslinch Township from Ms. Beatrice Woolsey of Mountsberg and the Thomas McGregor-Margaret Crockett Families of Hamilton and West Flamborough Township from Mrs. Beda Blain of British Columbia. HERITAGE PAPER #191 THE SMOKEY HOLLOW INDUSTRIAL SITE, WATERDOWN The Grindstone Creek for much of the year is an insignificant stream which gently winds its way through the old village of Waterdown. At the southern end of the village, the creek descends over the Niagara Escarpment at the Great Falls and it is to this site, beside and east of the falls, that the origins of Waterdown and its development as an industrial community can be traced. The early settlers of the area recognized the potential power the Grindstone Creek could generate, so necessary to the establishment of lumber and grist mills in a pioneer community. Entrepreneurs, such as Alexander Brown in 1806 and then Ebenezer and Absalom Griffin from Smithville during the 1820s and 1830s, laid the foundations for the development of an industrial complex along the banks of the creek. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Grindstone Valley in Waterdown had surpassed the neighbouring industrial development of Crooks' Hollow along the Spencer Creek in West Flamborough. In the early days of milling, most were powered by water, but as time passed, water levels in streams decreased, due to the clearing of land, draining of swamps and demands by an ever increasing population. This once inexhaustible source of power was gradually supplemented by steam power, particularly in lumber mills, saw mills and tanneries where scrap wood was available for fuel. The advent of steam power however, brought new problems, for flash fires and explosions of steam boilers often resulted in fatal casualties. At the southern end of the village, where the largest number of industries were located, it resulted in another hazard, for the concentration of industrial buildings in the area by the Great Falls, caused an almost permanent foggy or smokey appearance to the complex which led to the name of Smokey Hollow. Alexander Brown, the first settler to own land along the creek, is believed to have been operating the first lumber mill on the edge of the Great Falls by 1805. During the next sixty years there was almost continuous industrial growth in the village. At the zenith of the village's industrial importance, mills and factories were located as far north as the present Parkside Drive or Fourth Concession Road and south of the Great Falls into Hidden Valley. A succession of mills, owned and operated by the Griffin brothers, John Heywood, George Abrey, Robert Lottridge, Levi Hawk, John Creen and Lockman Cummer included the traditional grist and saw mills and in addition, woollen mills - one of the first in Upper Canada to be equipped with a double set carding machine - a tannery, brass foundry, and factories producing baskets, barrels, and agricultural equipment. In 1857, the arrival in Waterdown of William Pierce Howland, (later Sir William Pierce Howland) and his purchase of the Cummer property elevated the importance of Waterdown as an industrial village. Howland owned flour mills elsewhere, at Lambton Mills, near Toronto, but in 1860, he began construction of a magnificent four storey stone flour mill, grain storehouse and barrel factory, known as 'The Torrid Zone Mills' which cost over $13,000 to erect. The enormous height of the mill was achieved by its construction against the side of the escarpment, this unique design included the addition of a covered way between the top floor of the mill and the road above the falls along which farmers travelled to bring their grain for milling. This allowed for the unloading of grain at road level and collection at ground level. Once in operation, the mill had the capacity to manufacture over a hundred and seventy barrels of flour a day, making it the most important flour mill at the Head-of-the-Lake, with most of the flour transported to Montreal and exported to Europe. On 2 February 1885, the mill was seriously damaged by a major fire. Both the Toronto and Hamilton newspapers carried a report of the accident and also a description of the Howland mill ..."The establishment was one of the most complete in Ontario...The machinery was almost all new and of the most approved kind. The mill property included the bran sheds (300 feet long), stave shed, offices and stables, the cooper shop, the house of Mr. G. Robson, the manager, and the store. A large sum of money had recently been spent in putting in the newest and best machinery for the roller process and last fall a large sum was spent in improving the water apparatus." The mill was repaired and continued in operation under the ownership of Alexander Robertson until another fire in 1910 blew the roof off the building and damaged it so severely that the decision to rebuild was abandoned. Beginning in the 1880s and continuing into the first decade of the twentieth century, fires, explosions, industrial accidents and financial problems gradually resulted in the decline of Smokey Hollow as an industrial site. At the end of World War I, Waterdown had ceased to be an industrial village. The rise of Hamilton as a manufacturing centre, even competition from nearby Dundas were all influences in its demise. For the next seventy years, this area of the village was little more than a wasteland, even becoming the dumping ground for village garbage. During the 1990s, a group of village residents, inspired by the ideals of a group of Waterdown District High School students who had attempted to clean up the site and establish a park, succeeded in turning the area into just that, promoting the history of Waterdown's important industrial heritage.