Historical Society of St. Catharines

Celebrating the history of St. Catharines and its vicinity

Posts Tagged ‘Mills’

Future Meetings of the Historical Society

Posted by dsharron on March 5, 2010

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. – all held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

March 25 – “History of St. John’s Anglican Church in Port Dalhousie” by Brian Leyton – Society Member – Come out and learn about the heritage of this well established church, its congregation and its connection to the community in this “fire-side” style presentation.   

April 22 – Annual General Meeting and presentation: “Brock Monument Restoration” – by Peter Martin, Military Co-ordinator at Fort George.  Mr. Martin will present a slide show and talk on the restoration of Brock’s Monument in preparation for the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
 
May 27 – “History of Local Mills and their Packaging Techniques” – by Nina Stahlschmidt, local quilter and author. A presentation and “trunk show” on local mills and their forms of packaging – from wooden barrels, to cloth bags, to paper. Nina will have many bags and quilts to show and invites members/guests to bring along any of their own bags to show and share.

For further information on Society gatherings, click on “Special Events”.  Check back often for future presentations.

* Note: the St. Catharines Museum will generously open its traveling exhibit gallery for viewing a half hour before each meeting at no cost to the Society.

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Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, St. Catharines, War of 1812 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

W.B. Allan – a St. Catharines’ Architect

Posted by dsharron on May 29, 2008

William Allan - St. Catharines architectOn Thursday, May 22, Pat Menon reintroduced the Historical Society of St. Catharines to the life and work of former local architect William Bryson Allan.  Allan (1838 – 1911) was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in the 1850s.  After bouncing around Quebec and Ontario for a few years, he settled in St. Catharines in 1861 and started a furniture business with his family while also dabbling in undertaking, sewing machine sales and photography.  But it was apparent that Allan had a talent for architectural design.

St. Catharines Collegiate designed by W.B. AllanAllan’s first known design was the Riordan Mill in 1867.  In 1870, Allan married Isabella Dougan who was the daughter of a successful local builder.  Now with contractors, furniture makers and an architect in the family, the Allan’s and Dougan’s formed a formitable business team.  From there he did not look back.  Chronologically, some of Allan’s designs include: St. Paul’s Ward School (1871), Central School on Court Street (1872), First Presbyterian Church (1872), the expansion of the family furniture factory (1875), St. James Ward School (1876),  and St. Andrew’s Ward School (1883).  Other designs included the Protestant Orphans’ Home, Grantham Academy / St. Catharines Collegiate, St. Thomas Ward School, Merritton Cotton Mill, the R.H. Smith Company (saw works), the Oddfellows Hall, and the Merritton Town Hall.  From the late 1860s to 1900, Allan was quite prolific in St. Catharines. 

Allan’s last design was Memorial Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake which opened in 1907.  Memorial Hall was the first building in Ontario designed specifically to be a historical museum.  The museum celebrated its 100th anniversary just last summer. 

While other local architects such as Tully, Latshaw, Dorr, Wiley and Badgley often receive more praise for establishing the architectural character of St. Catharines, it is important to remember the other architects like William Allan who added significant and memorable works of brick and mortar within our city.

Posted in Architecture, Meetings, St. Catharines | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

John Burtniak sheds light on some “Vanished Villages”

Posted by dsharron on April 27, 2008

On April 24, Historical Society President John Burtniak delivered an entertaining and enlightening presentation on some of the vanished villages in the Niagara area.  With a combination of facts, anecdotes and images, the Society learned about the humble beginnings of these villages, an idea of their econonic and social peaks, a good reasoning for their decline and disappearance and view of the area today and what evidence may remain.  Here is a recap of some of the villages covered in John’s talk:

Rittenhouse School, Jordan HarbourJordan Harbour – Located along Lake Shore Road and on the Twenty Mile Creek, this village was primarily a cottage community but at its height boasted a post office, railroad station, school, town hall, stores, warehouses and more.  The construction of the Queen Elizabeth’s Way (QEW) appropriated enough land to effectively end Jordan Harbour’s time as an independent community.

Silverdale Station – Situated along the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway, this village grew from being merely a grain loading stop on the rail line to include a general store (complete with a post office and agricultural cooperative), a church and a school. 

Shipyards / Miller’s Bay – A planned community along the Niagara River established by the Canadian Shipbuilding Company in 1903.  The Company built an impressive shipbuilding yard in Miller’s Bay and provided lodging houses for its employees.  Along with a number of these boarding homes, Shipyards also had a hotel, railroad station and a post office.  In 1913, the post office changed its name to Miller’s Bay and so did the community.  When the Company left the area, the village diminished soon afterwards.

Basics of St. Johns from Page\'s 1876 mapSt. Johns on the Short Hills – Probably the village with the greatest potential to be something bigger, it was established early by Benjamin Camby and John Darling around 1790.  Camby immediately established a saw mill.  Soon afterwards, St. Johns became a prominent industrial village complete with grist mills, fulling mill, woolen mills, iron foundry, potashery, tannery, brickyard, schools, churches and a post office.  The fate of the village took a sour turn with the opening of the Welland Canal which drew away people and commerce.  The final blow was when the railroads were constructed and no lines were built through St. Johns. 

Basics of Caistor Centre from Page\'s 1876 mapSome other vanished or severely diminished villages noted included: Decewtown, Reynoldsville, Power Glen, Thorold South, Window Village, Homer, Stromness, Blackhorse Corners, Netherby, Candisville, Brookfield Station, White Pigeon and Caistor Center.

With so much potential and promise, it makes one wonder what our current villages, towns and cities will be like 100 years from now.

This was also the Society’s annual general meeting.  It was a very good year for the Society.  There are about 180 active members in the Society.  All reports were positive and we are moving forward with good programmes and direction.  2008 / 2009 promises to be another excellent year.  The Society’s Executive remains the same from last year.  See who the Executive are under the Executive tab at the top of this page.

There is a special gathering for the Historical Society of St. Catharines on May 10 at 11:00 a.m. for the annual Oille Fountain Potting Ceremony.  As well, the Society will be part of the official historical designation ceremony for the old Grantham Town Hall in downtown St. Catharines – not far from where the potting will take place.  All are welcome to attend.  See more details under the Special Events tab.

The next regular meeting of the Society is on May 22 at the St. Catharines Museum at 7:30 p.m.  Pat Menon will be presenting on W.B. Allan – a St. Catharines’ Architect. 

Posted in Jordan, Meetings, Railroads, St. Johns, Villages, Welland Canal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »