In 1841 Mr. Thomas Corbett moved to Caledon Township and bought the West half of Lot #1, Concession 1 West where he started to build a dam on the Credit river which would allow him to power a small mill.
As the village was not surveyed into lots until 1883 and with a small population the area was know locally as Corbett’s Mills.
With the arrival of the Hamilton & Northwestern railway in 1877 and the Credit Valley railway in 1879 there was quite a mix up in the name for the railway station.
Originally the Hamilton and Northwestern Railway had promised a station at Sligo, a hamlet on the Center Road (now Hurontario Street) but on account of the crossing of the Credit Valley Railway, the first flag stop was made at that crossing and the station was named Sligo and Sligo Junction. Then, after pressure, this was changed to Riverdale in deference to the name given to the woollen mill by Mrs. David Graham, wife of the then owner of the mill.
The first Post Office could not be called plain Riverdale because there was a Riverdale Post Office in Bruce County, so the name Riverdale Junction was chosen but later the Riverdale people took objection to this compound name and the Post Office Department changed the name of the Post Office to Inglewood. The story was told that about that time, a stranger travelling from Toronto asked for a ticket to Riverdale, was given a ticket to Sligo (the original printed tickets being still in use) and when he reached his destination the trainman called out Inglewood!
The records of Crown Grants in the Inglewood vicinity shows the fact that many of those who took out the original Crown Grants turned them over to others within two or three months and thus we find that not one of farms on the first line west near Inglewood remained in posession of those who received the grant in the early years of settlement. It could be that the original grants were made to soldiers who did not wish to settle on the land but were not averse to selling out their grants for a small amount. It appears that it was speculators who received the original transfers of title.
While records show that the Rockside district was settled in 1820, the first Crown Grant near Inglewood was made in 1822. In that year Crown Grants were given for lots 4, 5, and 7 in the concession 2 West. Lot 1, Concession 2 was taken out in 1823 and lot 3, Concession 1 in 1828.
In the fall of 1883 the village was surveyed into village lots and a public auction sale of those lots was held. The village quickly grew and the lots on Dufferin Street were soon occupied by new residents. Many of these first dwellings were built by Mr. David Graham and sold to the occupant for small monthly payments, some as low as $5.00 per month. In every case the payments were made without default and the buyer finally secured a clear deed to the property.
In 1834 Mr. Thomas Corbett and his brother-in-law, George Kirkpatrick, rented a mill at Georgetown belonging to Mr. George Kennedy then later worked in a woollen mill in Streetsville owned by Thomas Comfort. He was working there when William Lyon MacKenzie took refuge with Mr. Comfort when fleeing towards Niagara after being defeated in the battle of Montgomery’s Tavern in the rebellion of 1837. In 1841 Mr. Corbett moved to Caledon Township and bought the West half of Lot #1, Concession 1 West. He started to build a dam on the Credit river and to build a small mill to card rolls for the farmers’ wives to spin and to “full” the cloth which was woven by them on hand looms from the yarn they had spun. Because there had to be a long millrace dug to secure sufficient power, it took him about 5 years to get his mill in operation. He would go to Streetsville in winter, when unable to dig and there earn more money to hire help at his undertaking. To hire help was not a great task, there is on record an entry in his books showing the price per day for a yolk of oxen and a man was only fifty cents.
The first mill was small and was of wood frame construction; this was soon torn down and a larger building erected about 100 feet down stream and on the site of the present Riverdale Woollen Mills stone building. This frame building burned down in 1871 with all the machinery. The fire took place in daylight and all hands helped in saving a lot of the contents of yarn, flannel, and cloth.
Prior to this fire Mr. Corbett’s youngest daughter was married to David Graham who became a partner in the mill and because of Mr. Corbett’s age and indifferent health he retired from the business after the fire and his son-in-law proceeded to build again. This time the building was constructed of stone, taken from the quarry belonging to Mr. John McGregor and while the mill and machinery was again burned in 1903 the walls of the original stone mill still stand and the date stone inscribed “Riverdale Woollen Mills 1871” is still there.
In 1874 David Graham’s health was not good and to get himself out on the land, he leased the woollen business while he ran his farm. This was followed by a direct lease to Ward and Algie of Ancaster. Mr. Ward had a knitting machine and, although an Englishman, had learned the underwear business in Cohoes, N.Y. and was considered the most expert knitter in the U.S.A. at the time. Besides the full cloth, flannel, blankets and yarn, originally manufactured, Mr. Ward added the manufacture of underwear and for 2 years Ward and Algie ran the mill, living in a double house on Maple Avenue which had been built in 1874 for the convenience of mill workers.
After 2 years Ward and Algie dissolved their partnership, Mr. Ward moving to a small mill at Cataract, engaged in the manufacture of underwear only, while Mr. William Algie continued to run the Riverdale Mill, making blankets, yarn and cloth. In March 1882 he moved to Alton where he and Mr. Ward each built mills to make underwear only.
In 1882, Mr. Graham took over the mill again and also made underwear as well as yarn. In 1890, T.H. Graham, son of David Graham, and Joseph M. Scott, a son-in-law, were admitted to partnership in the business, under the name of D. Graham Sons and Company. Later David Graham, Junior, George Scott and Arthur Scott were admitted as partners. However, by 1928 the heavy underwear business could no longer make money so the mill was closed down and the water power used to generate electricity. In 1934 T.H. Graham and his son, Gordon, started to operate again this time making carpet yarn on commission. Additions to buildings and machinery were made to the plant in 1939 and again in 1945.
This business eventually closed and in 1956 the next generation, in the person of David Graham, started a fiberglass reinforced plastic manufacturing business which ran successfully into the 1990s when it too closed.
The Riverdale mill remains in family ownership, and today, the heritage designated mill complex is a multi-purpose site.
The Hamilton & Northwestern Railway was the first to arrive in 1877. Renamed the Northern & Northwestern Railway after a merger in 1879, it was subsequently owned by the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian National Railway. The Credit Valley Railway had been expected through the area as early as 1875, but labour strife and property acquisition troubles delayed its arrival until 1878. Two property owners, William Martin and Duncan McCannell, blocked construction on their land until payment for their property was received in full. The story is told of how Norm Martin’s father, William, confronted the construction crew with a shot-gun to show his determination to get he and McCannell paid!
By 1884, the CVR had come under the ownership of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The first railway station was built in 1880 by the N&NW. As of 1882, it was shared with the CVR as a local ‘union’ station. The station burned down around 1911 and was rebuilt in brick in 1914. CNR passenger service was discontinued in 1960, and the station was eventually demolished in 1971. The CNR tracks were removed in 1982 prior to the railway’s abandonment of this section in 1984. The CNR rail bed has become part of the Trans Canada Trail.
In 2000 the Orangeville and Brampton Railway established a short-line freight service on a 55-kilometer section of the former CPR tracks, adding a passenger excursion train in 2004.
Some of the houses built in the early days in Caledon were built of sandstone, so plentifully found along the Niagara Escarpment and which, whether in natural grey or rich brown in colour has a very pleasing appearance as well as a lasting quality. This stone is found in many places on what is locally referred to as “The Mountain” running from Georgetown to the Forks of the Credit and is known as Credit Valley Stone. It was used in the construction of the Provincial Parliament buildings and City Hall in Toronto.
The stone for the Parliament buildings was supplied by the K. Chisholm Company from their Credit Forks Quarries but large quantities were supplied from lot 1, Concession 3, West Caledon, first by Joachim Hagerman when the quarry was first opened in 1877, and later by a Toronto based construction company, Reid & Macfarlane. This was drawn to Boston Mills siding, and from there shipped by train to Toronto and other markets.
This Credit Valley Stone was largely used by the City of Toronto for curb-stone, it being very suitable because of its quality. Quarrymen were able to split it into “kerbing”, 4” thick with very little waste. Mr. Murray, who built the Murray Canal in Prince Edward County, came to Inglewood and opened a quarry on the Patterson farm, now the Hart House property owned by the University of Toronto. To get his stone to the station in Inglewood Mr. Murray constructed a tramway with light steel rails along McDonald Street and westward up “the mountain” to the Patterson farm. The cars hauled stone by gravity to the station and a one-horsepower motor hauled the empty cars back up. This quarry was sold to the Hagersville Stone Company and Mr. Murray moved along the escarpment to operate a quarry near Georgetown but soon after cement curbing took the place of stone and the Hagersville Stone Company ceased operating this quarry.
Another attempt top haul stone by tramway was made by Mr. James Sharp on lot 5, concession 2 west. His tramway also ran on gravity on the down-hill trip but was not as successful as M. Murray’s as his rails were made of wood and he found it difficult to keep his cars on the track and he soon abandoned his quarry.
Evidence of this activity can still be seen along the Bruce Trail as it passes west of the village along the Escarpment.
Up to 1883 all mail for the district came to Claude but early that year Mr. James Graham was appointed postmaster at Inglewood and the post office was housed in his store.
The current post office was built on the site of the Community Hall. Foundation remains of the hall can still be seen on the North side of the Post Office.
In the 1840s, a frame schoolhouse for School Section No. 4 Caledon was built on the west side of McLaughlin Road, south of The Grange Sideroad. It was replaced in 1871 by a one room, red brick schoolhouse on the east side of McLaughlin Road, set within a grove of trees. This building is now a private residence. The pupils often enjoyed a swim in the nearby Credit River. In 1923, a three room, yellow brick school was erected nearer the village to serve elementary and continuation (high school) pupils. It was closed in 1965, but the building continued as a school for wayward children. Efforts by residents in the early 1980s resulted in its conversion to a community centre and library.
As might be expected the first two enterprises were a general store (James Graham) and a railway hotel. In 1881, William Linfoot, a hotel keeper in Claude, purchased land directly south of the railway junction and built a hotel catering to commercial travellers.
Renovated in the 1980s, today the hotel houses the Inglewood General Store.
James Graham opened the village’s first general store in 1882, selling it in 1890 to D. Graham Sons & Company, owners of the Riverdale Woollen Mill. John Kaufman
purchased the business in 1912 and operated under the name “Kaufman’s General Store”.
Mr. W.C. Thompson, bought a lot on which he built a planing mill, moving his machinery from Claude to the new site between the two railways and with a siding to deliver his raw materials direct to his mill. Mr. Thompson also built a residence for himself on the East side of the main street (Dufferin Street), and from this planing mill and lumber yard came the material to build other houses.
In 1884, two buildings were erected southeast of the hotel. One was purchased by Thomas Ireland, a blacksmith, and the other by John McCague, a wagon-maker.
In 1886, butcher John McCannell opened a slaughter house beside the Credit River, selling most of his meat from a covered wagon. William Jameson later purchased the business, operating it from a small shop on the west side of McLaughlin Road.
In 1886 Mr. George Merry built a general store and bake oven that was located in the rear of the store on the north west corner of Dufferin and McKenzie Streets.
In 1898, George Merry sold his general store to John McEachern, who carried on business for more than fifty years. It eventually closed in the 1960s.
Mr. Edward Trought had been teaching in Inglewood school before he went as principal of the public school at Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island. He moved from Gore Bay to publish a weekly newspaper in North Bay and then came to live in Inglewood where he started in the bakery business using at first the bake oven in the general store operated by E.J. Malone (George Merry having rented to Malone). Mrs. Trought helped in preparing the bread and it was not long until the business outgrew the small oven available to them. A new bakery was built in the rear of Mr. Trought’s dwelling, at the corner of McKenzie and Lorne. Very soon this bake shop had to be enlarged and more capacity added until the business baked more loaves than any other in the county. Their son, Charles, grew up and joined the business which he carried on after the death of his father. Three trucks were eventually needed to make deliveries to surrounding villages. One Sunday the bake shop was completely destroyed by fire and, because of failing health, Charles Trought decided not to rebuild and so this thriving business ceased operations.
In 1886 an incorporated company was formed to build a public hall. The shares were $10.00 each and 60 shares were sold. A further amount of $300 was raised by entertainments and small subscriptions and $900 was spent on building a wood frame building 60’ X 26’ with a stone shed underneath.
There were several fraternal societies holdong meetings in it weekly, every two weeks or monthly. Among them were; the Independant Order of Good Templars, Ancient Order of United Workmen, The Home Circle, The Independent Order of Forresters. The Good Templars met weekly and when the evening’s proceedings arrived at “has anyone anything to offer for the good of the Order?” the local talent of singers and reciters would proceed to entertain the members. In 1948 a Community Center Commission was formed who spent a lot of money in renovating the building, closing up the shed, and installing a kitchen in the basement as well as a furnace, red cross room and leaving space for the fire pumper and hose truck.
The money to do this work was provided through the village issuing debantures amounting to $4,500. $2,500 of this for the hall and athletic field and $2,000 for the fire department. The Ontario Government gave grants amounting to about $1,500 to help in the project.
It was demolished in about 1981 to make room for the new post office building.
In 1888 Mr. James Graham built a granary on the south side of McKenzie Street adjacent to the railway station and bought large quantities of grain, notably barley, most of which was shipped th the United States. After Mr. Graham retired the Canada Grain Company used the granary.
In 1957, Caledon Township bought the abandoned granary and converted it to a fire hall. The granary was demolished in 1981 and replaced with Fire Station 305.
Close by was the railway water tower. Originally built to store water for steam locomotives, it was used for many years to supply Inglewood’s pumper tank and single fire hydrant. Fed by cold water from the escarpment it was a favourite, if illegal, swimming place for village teenagers.
Sunday School classes started in 1884 and were first held in the woollen mill. Two years later, classes moved to the newly constructed community hall. In 1889, a Methodist church was opened on the northeast corner of McLaughlin Road and MacDonald Street. This structure was relocated from northern Chinguacousy Township, where it had served as Sitzer’s Methodist Episcopal Church from c.1872-1887. The cost of reconstructing the
church and drive shed was about $2000. Following church union in 1925, it became Inglewood United Church. The adjacent parsonage was erected in 1894 through the generosity of David Graham.
Shortly after Mr. William Algie came to Inglewood, where he leased the woollen mill, he was a leader in establishing a public library at Claude which was well patronised by the people of Inglewood. In 1891 these patrons thought they would like to have a library closer to home and Inglewood Mechanics Institute began to accumulate books for their library. It was not long until they had a well assorted collection and the highest record of borrowing was over 2,800 in 1899.
The books were first kept in a corner of the public hall and the library was open one night per week. In December 1895 arrangements were made to keep the books in the store owned by Mr. S.C. Walker, tinsmith. Mr. Walker was elected librarian and books could be borrowed at any time during store hours. The books were still kept in this store after it passed into the hands of W.C. Thompson and Son and also after A. Spratt & Sons bought the store in 1909. The minute book records a decision to leave the books in the Spratt store for 1911, after which no minutes were recorded until 1917. In the meantime, the ladies of the Women’s Institute undertook to pay a yearly honorarium to the librarian. Also, at this time Mr. David Graham undertook to secure accommodation for the library in the new Sunday school room he was financing for the Methodist Church (it was stipulated that the library be given a room free of rent but that the library pay $10 per year toward heating).
In 1911, the Inglewood Women’s Institute became the library managers and moved it to a building on McKenzie Street purchased by the Institute in 1932.
In 1961, the Inglewood, Alton, and Caledon Village libraries became the Caledon Township Public Library.
In 1983 the library moved again to the former three-room school house on McLaughlin Road, north of the village, which was converted to house a branch of the Town of Caledon Library and the village community center. This yellow brick building was built as a school in 1923.
Sam Walker established a hardware and tinsmith business, selling it to William Thompson in 1896. In 1908, Arthur Spratt purchased the business from Thompson and established Spratt’s Hardware Store. Sons Herb and Harold joined the company, with Herb managing the hardware store and Harold and Arthur running the newly-expanded plumbing division. The business remained in the Spratt family until Harold’s retirement in 1972.
In 1910 the next store to open in the village was on the south west corner of McDonald and Dufferin Streets. A cement block building with a dwelling above was built by Mr. William Ramsay of Belfountain. The corner store was used by him as a general store and later occupied by A.C. Tennyson, W.H. Mayne, D.G. Sutherland, John Ramsay and Edgar Palfrey. In the southern part of the building Mr. N.F. Davidson started a barber shop, with a glove factory above the shop. Later this part was used by the Royal Bank of Canada as a sub-branch on Wednesdays.
In 1906, due to the large number of businesses such as the quarries and the mill, the Northern Crown Bank opened a branch office in the house shown below. The branch was absorbed by the Royal Bank of Canada in 1918 and shortly after moved to a more secure location across the street. This small branch office was open one day a week, staffed by bank employees from Brampton, closing its doors in 1989. In case of emergency the bank alarm, when activated, sounded at the mill who would then summon the authorities.
By 1912, there was community interest in providing a public recreational area. A park and an athletic field were opened on land bought from David and T.H. Graham next to the river at the south end of the village. With the approach of Canada’s Centennial in 1967, villagers supported the construction of an arena. It opened on October 21, 1967. In 1990, it was renamed the Lloyd Wilson Centennial Arena to commemorate the long serving arena manager and former village fire chief.
In 2014, the Village of Inglewood Association was incorporated to foster community spirit. Every year on Inglewood Day, area residents gather in the park to celebrate the rich history of their community.
Sources: Inglewood Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir History; History of Inglewood by William E. Cook, 1975; A History of the Pioneers of Inglewood by T.H. Graham, c.1952; Village of Inglewood Association
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Corbett’s Mills, Sligo, Sligo Junction, Riverdale Junction, and finally Inglewood (sometimes even Inglewood Junction!).
1822 The first Crown Grant near Inglewood was made near Inglewood.
1883 Village was surveyed into village lots and a public auction of those lots was held.
REASON FOR ESTABLISHMENT.
1843 Building of Riverdale Woolen Mill by Thomas Corbett on the Credit River.
1877 The arrival of the Hamilton & Northwestern railway; and the 1879 arrival of the Credit River railway.
1877 Establishment of first quarry on the escarpment by Joachim Hagerman.
1883 Mr. James Graham became post master at Inglewood which was run from his store.
COMMERCIAL & SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.
1840 First school opened
1881 Hotel built by Mr. William Linfoot.
1882 First general store opened by Mr. James Graham.
1883 Planing Mill started by Mr. W.G. Thompson.
1884 Two buildings were erected southeast of the hotel. One was purchased by Thomas Ireland, a blacksmith, and the other by John McCague, a wagon-maker.
1886 Slaughter house and butcher shop started by Mr. John McCannell
1886 George Merry established a general store and bake oven on the northwest corner of McLaughlin Road and McKenzie Street.
1886 Community Hall built.
1888 Granary built – later to become firehall
1889 Church opened.
1891 First library started.
1896 Some time prior to 1896 Mr. Sam Walker established a hardware and tinsmith business which became Spratt’s Hardware store in 1908.
1906 Royal Crown Bank opened.
1912 Recreational park opened.