September 22nd, 2019:

Grafton and Bolton, Ontario in Colour Photos – My Top 11 Picks

Grafton and Bolton, Ontario

The Township of Alnwick/Haldimand is located in central Ontario in Northumberland County, situated between Lake Ontario and Rice Lake. It was formed in 2001 by the merger of Alnwick Township in the north and Haldimand Township in the south.

Alnwick Township was originally surveyed in 1795 when twenty-four lots were laid out on the first concession. It was named for Alnwick in Northumberland, England. The township’s first residents were made up of United Empire Loyalists, attracted by large unencumbered land grants, sometimes in the thousands of acres. In 1835, 3,600 acres of land along the first and second concessions were set aside as an Indian settlement. Shortly after, the Indian Band from Grape Island was moved into this settlement and a school and church were built at Alderville. The first council meeting was held in 1845 at Alderville School. The Alnwick/Haldimand Township building located in Grafton was built in 1858. Prior to its construction, Township Council meetings were held at local taverns or the residences of council members.

Haldimand Township was formed in 1791 and was named in honor of Sir Frederick Haldimand – a British general who served as Governor-in-Chief of Canada between 1778 and 1796. By 1804, there were 356 settlers in Haldimand Township making it the second most populous township in the region after Hamilton Township to the West. The town hall was constructed in 1860.

As part of provincial initiatives in the late 1990s, the Government of Ontario pursued a policy of municipal amalgamations to reduce waste and duplication. Alnwick Township and Haldimand Township became a single Township of Alnwick/Haldimand on January 1, 2001.

Alnwick/Haldimand is part of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Thirty-one square kilometers of the Cobourg Creek watershed runs through the Township. The Creek supports a diverse ecosystem including forests, meadows and wetlands. Numerous species inhabit the Creek including brown trout, rainbow trout, scuplins and darters. Migratory Chinook Salmon spawn in the creek and Atlantic Salmon are being stocked as part of a provincial initiative to return these native fish to Lake Ontario. The Ganaraska Forest is an 11,000-acre forest located in the Township. It is one of the largest blocks of forested land in southern Ontario. The Millvalley Hills Forest is a 297-hectare forest located within the Township. The dominant trees species are red and white pine, and red and white oak. The township is rural based with agriculture being the largest contributor to the economy. Grain, cash crops, milk, livestock, vineyards and apple farming are all viable in the area. Grafton is located in this township.

The first known settlers to Grafton were just before the turn of the 19th century. These earliest settlers were all from the new United States of America. Most were looking for new land and opportunities, a few were second generation United Empire Loyalists born in loyalist settlements further east.

New settlers from the British Isles started arriving twenty years later. These early Grafton settlers, as well as clearing agricultural land from the forests, produced many fine political leaders. David Rogers was the first to propose anti-slavery legislation for Upper Canada, and Henry Ruttan was the Speaker of the Legislature. Likely the hamlet was named Grafton after John Grover’s birth town of Grafton, Massachusetts. He initially arrived in Upper Canada in 1798 and was in Grafton by 1804.

Bolton is a community in the town of Caledon, located in the Region of Peel about fifty kilometers northwest of Toronto. The downtown and area that historically defined the village is in a valley, through which the Humber River flows. The town was founded around 1822 when James Bolton helped build a flour mill for his relative George Bolton. It was established on the line of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway with stages to and from Weston.

In the Humber River valley, George Bolton, newly arrived from England, and his uncle, James, an area pioneer from just after the completion of the 1819 survey, built a grist mill at a bend in the river on land George had purchased from the surveyor, William Chewett. This mill became the catalyst for several other enterprises which became the seed of a hamlet. The village was strongly Reform during the Mackenzie years and James Bolton had to seek refuge in the U.S.A. after the failed rebellion of 1837. In 1842, his son James C. Bolton purchased the mill site from his uncle and built a large flour mill at the site of the current Humberlea Road, as well as a sawmill. The flour mill, in place until 1968, prospered under several prominent mill owners following Bolton including John Guardhouse and Andrew McFall, both of whose homes still survive along King Street East. The village continued to expand driven by water-powered industries such as William Dick’s Agricultural Works.

 While most evidence of the original mills and other industries have disappeared, the nineteenth century residential fabric remain largely intact and enough survives of the late nineteenth commercial core to maintain the sense of the historic village. As it now stands, the area is characterized by the polychromatic brickwork of the second half of the 19th century in local brick with many of the finer homes incorporating a gabled ‘L’ plan with a veranda at the inside corner.

Sandhill Ontario is about 9 miles east of Caledon.

Abraham Campbell’s father and six brothers took up one thousand acres in Chingacousy about 1820, after having journeyed from the old family home in Lincoln County by an ox-team. From Cooksville to their locations, the way led over a road made through the bush with their own axes. Mr. Campbell spent his life on the farm on which he was born when Chingacousy was the farthest settlement north of the lake. A quarter of a century later Campbell’s Cross, on the highway connecting north and south, was a scene of bustling life. There was a tavern there with eighteen rooms. There were three stores in the village at that time. As many as one hundred teams from the North Country would arrive with grain in a single day. Part of the grain was bought by local merchants and teamed by them to Port Credit for shipment by water. Some of the farmers hauled their own grain all the way to the lake port.

Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
160 Old Danforth Road, Grafton – Old Foundry House – This house was originally a cabin built around the same time as the barn and was probably for the foundry manager. For a few years it was the rectory for St. Mary’s Church before the current rectory, on the hill above the church, was built.
Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
154 Old Danforth Road, Grafton – The Reuben Lawless House was built in 1870 and is mid-Victorian of the Italianate Vernacular, with “gingerbread”. It has a stone/ rubble foundation and cedar siding and is of a balloon structure. The back “extension” was a woodshed/ summer kitchen built over the original well. In 1897 Thomas Lawless became the property owner and in 1900 Reuben Lawless Senior gained title. For years it was known as the Reuben Lawless House and stayed in the Lawless family until 1970.
Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
135 Old Danforth Road, Grafton – Old Presbyterian Sunday School was built in 1884. For many years it served as the Grafton Library. Architecturally it is notable for its patterned dichromatic brick work. There is a strong transom band, quoins and a foundation band topping a squared stone foundation, typically the work of Scottish masons.
Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
10830 County Road 2, Grafton – Grafton Village Inn was built in 1833 to replace a log building. The Neo-Classical building was restored in the early 1990s bringing it back to the early appearance that greeted travelers approaching from Kingston, York or Grafton Harbor. Its distinctive features include the front door surround with carved oak leaves and acorns, the second-floor Venetian window and the demi-lune windows at each gable end. The western wing was a later addition and at one time housed the telephone exchange.
Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
10715 Highway #2, Grafton – John and Mary Steele (nee Spalding) House is a handsome Georgian structure built by Thomas Spalding for his daughter Mary and her husband John Steele of Colborne. They moved here in 1843. The front door surround has several Neo-Classical features. Sections of the original brick are laid in Flemish bond. Over the years, deteriorating brick has been plastered over, painted and then stenciled to resemble brick.
Architectural Photos, Grafton, Ontario
10568 County Road 2, Grafton – Barnum House (National Heritage Site of Canada) – The Barnum House was built between 1817 and 1819 by Eliakim Barnum, a United Empire Loyalist originally from Vermont. The house which stands just outside Grafton is the earliest example of Neo-Classical architecture in Canada. Barnum House was the first house museum to open in Ontario, restored and operated by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in 1940. In designing his house, Eliakim Barnum was influenced by American Architecture, popular in New England states at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This Neo-Classical style was intended to reproduce elements of classical Greek architecture. These include a central temple front with flanking wings, articulation of the facade with pilaster linked by elliptical arches, and extensive use of delicately scaled details. The Neo-Classical elements of the house’s exterior are echoed in the ornate woodwork of several interior rooms.
Architectural Photos, Bolton, Ontario
25 Nancy Street, Bolton – Alice Goodfellow House – circa 1884 – This 1½ story Victorian Gothic home was built by George Watson for Alice Goodfellow using local red and yellow brick. The end gable patterning and the enclosed front porch are excellent examples of late nineteenth century urban architecture. Alice’s sister Margaret Smith lived next door. On Alice’s death in 1901, her brother-in-law Albion farmer James Goodfellow and his wife Marion retired here. It was in their family until the owner of 31 Nancy Street purchased it in 1999.
Architectural Photos, Bolton, Ontario
31 Nancy Street – George Smith House – circa 1877 – This Italianate style home was built by George Watson for Margaret and George Smith. The red and yellow bricks were locally made and its exterior architectural features and beautiful enclosed porches are original. Smith, a sign painter and letterer, sat on the first village Council and was noted for his very realistic interior faux-wood graining. Erie Smith Schaefer inherited the house in 1933, living here with her husband Alex of ‘Smith & Schaefer’ Hardware. This dichromatic brick house is in the Italianate style. The orientation of the ‘L’ plan with the enclosed verandah along the south is distinctive. The bracketed eaves, segmentally arched windows and low medium pitch hipped roof are all typical of the Italianate.
Architectural Photos, Bolton, Ontario
34 Temperance Street – Shore-Nease House – circa 1872 – This Victorian Gothic house was built by Henry Shore using red and yellow brick in a style typical of an urban village setting. The trillium patterned fretwork on the decorated wooden porch has been repeated on adjacent buildings. From 1892-1969, it served as office and surgery to Bolton doctors, including Dr. Lepper, Dr. A. Jackson, Dr. Graham and Dr. Taylor. The building is a fine example of a polychromatic brick ‘L’ plan residence featuring a diamond pattern at the gable of each section with accents of quoins and arches, and an ‘L’ form verandah formed at the inside corner between the two sections.
Architectural Photos, Bolton, Ontario
12 King Street West – ‘The Castle’ – mid-1870s – A rare example of the Second Empire style with its mansard roof and square projecting bay, this house was built for Ann Roberts. Ownership passed to her son William L. Roberts in 1893 and from him to Margaret Jane Osburn in 1907. Olga and Wesley Strong and their son Charlie lived here until 1923 when Wes’s health failed. Charlie lived to 100 and was a great Bolton story teller. Mrs. Dickson owned the house in the 1930s and left it to her daughter Pearl who raised eight children here with her husband Lee Morrison.
Architectural Photos, Bolton, Ontario
74 King Street East – Cabinet Maker’s House – circa 1846 – William Hughes, age 22, built this two-story, Neo-Classical style house. The saw mill down the street supplied the materials. It remains the earliest frame house standing in Bolton. Hughes, who specialized in cabinetry and chair making, lived in it with wife Jane and family until 1884. It then housed mill workers until Sarah Lundy and Harry Sheardown bought it in 1891, living in it for 43 years. Harry first worked in Dick’s Foundry, later owned a barber shop on Queen Street North and was considered one of Canada’s best all-round athletes.