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feb2007 Powered By Docstoc
					 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
                                          Web Page:

                               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,
                                        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

                                     HERITAGE PAPER #191

       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.