Walking Waterdown's History

Walking Waterdown's History

Hamilton, Ontario L8L 5W8, Canada

Created By: Meghan Martin

Tour Information

The site of Waterdown has been important to man further back than its recorded history. The Neutral Indians used the gap cut through the escarpment by the river to follow a route to their hunting ground. The first land grant in the area was received in 1796, and over the next century the Village of Waterdown was established. Enjoy walking through modern Waterdown while appreciating what preceded it. In our growing village, connect our storied past with the present day.

Images and information sourced from the Flamborough Archives.

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What You'll See on the Tour

Memorial Park, previously a sand and gravel quarry, was created to be actively used by the community in memorial to those who served in the Second World War. In 1946 a group of community minded citizens got together to develop a memorial pa... Read more
Built c.1845 by Burwell Griffin, this fine stone residence was once a farm house on property that extended northwards to Parkside Drive and from Hamilton to Mill Street. Originally designed to face Dundas Street, the lane which led to this ... Read more
On the corner of Main Street and Cedar Street, this typical centre gable, one-and-a-half storey home dates from the late 1860’s. It was once owned by the Smith family, well known Market Gardeners. The farm, one of the largest in the area,... Read more
This fine Waterdown residence, built c. 1900, was once the home and office of Dr. John Owen McGregor. Dr. McGregor, who began his career as a general practitioner in Dundas, came to Waterdown in 1884 and was widely known throughout the area... Read more
The Flamborough Review has been circulated weekly throughout the area since May, 1918 when Mr. Harold Green published the first edition. Prior to moving to this location in the 1950’s the paper was published in the old Bell Tower, which w... Read more
Waterdown’s hotels at one time numbered nine, most of them located along Dundas Street. The earliest record of a hotel upon this corner is in 1868 when William Heisse was listed as a Hotel Keeper. Patrick Kirk purchased the small frame ho... Read more
Now a commercial establishment, this Victorian mansion built in 1884 was originally the home of one of Waterdown’s most successful merchants, William H. Crooker. The beautiful red brick house retains much of its original landscaping. The ... Read more
Long known as ‘The White House,’ this one-and-a-half storey white painted stucco house was built in a style typical to the period of 1860-1875, with features such as a traditional centre gable and matching front facade. It has served as... Read more
One of the few private residences remaining on Dundas Street, this ornate and unusual Victorian house was built by Waterdown carpenter John Reid; it has been the home of two well-known village residents. During the first half of the twentie... Read more
Until the 1980s, the northeast corner of Dundas and Hamilton Street included a white house that was once the Brown family Restaurant – a favourite hangout of Waterdown High students in the 1930s and 1940s. The building was also used as th... Read more
Before the 1950s, Waterdown’s commercial district had been located entirely between the Main and Mill Street section of Dundas Street. A gradual growth in the village’s population and residential construction following the end of World ... Read more
The origin of the St. Thomas Roman Catholic Cemetery is linked with the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the Village of Waterdown. In 1846, Catholic pioneers had settled in sufficient numbers that a small wooden church was erec... Read more
Constructed c. 1880 this home has several fine features including a wide front verandah and decorative bargeboard. Mr. Harold Greene, the first publisher of the Waterdown Review lived in the house for a brief period c.1918-1919, and a few o... Read more
This building was constructed c.1859 as the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion Church. After only 25 years the congregation joined with the Wesleyan Methodists on Mill St. and the building became the Sunday School for the two churche... Read more
The first Catholic Church in the village was erected in 1846. This structure was replaced in 1864 by a more permanent stone church, in use until this building was erected. The corner stone for the building was laid in 1914 by His Excellency... Read more
This two storey, red brick home with white brick decoration above the windows and door was built c. 1860. The building was possibly constructed for Chas. Sealey, First Reeve of Waterdown, who owned this property which extended south to Snak... Read more
One of the finer stone houses in Waterdown, this attractive home with its “gingerbread” trim was built c.1859. Set in a beautifully landscaped garden that has been largely planted in the last decade, the house was originally erected to ... Read more
The tiny stone building situated on this property, is all that remains of the large two storey, eight room Waterdown Public and High School that opened in 1853. The first Entrance Exams taken in Ontario were written in this building in 1873... Read more
This two storey was home constructed c.1850 by Mr. Carson as a wooden frame building. The building has been re-clad with blue-grey siding and sports a coral front door. Set close to the road it has a delightful rock garden that separates th... Read more
Union Street is lined with homes built in a variety of styles and materials. This street was part of Ebenezer Griffin’s holdings which were subdivided into individual parcels and allotted to the heirs of his estate in 1856. The frame hous... Read more
Today the Grindstone Creek swiftly flows into Smokey Hollow and over the Great Falls. Little evidence remains to suggest that this stream was once so large and powerful that it supplied numerous mills with the power needed to operate heavy ... Read more
From this area of Mill Street, a lane went past Howland’s Waterdown Flouring Mill and continued along the creek. Howland’s Mill, also known as The Torrid Zone Mill and the Waterdown Flouring Mill was built for Sir William Pearce Howland... Read more
This two storey stone house has been owned by several prominent Waterdown residents, including John Cummer, Oliver Aiken Howland, and Francis Farwell. John Cummer was the owner of a flour mill and an iron foundry during the 1850s. Oliver Ai... Read more
Built c.1850 upon land purchased by Henry Graham in 1837, this stone house was bought by Peter Creen, a lumberman, for $5,000 in 1875. “Maplebank”, remained in the possession of the Creen family until 1974. Leather Street once passed al... Read more
Lockman A. Cummer erected these stone row houses probably in the late 1850s. In 1871 the property was acquired by Sir William Pearce Howland, owner of the Waterdown flouring mills, who rented the houses to mill workers.
Much of Waterdown’s early growth was shaped by the pioneering Griffin family, namely Ebenezer Culver and his brother Absalom. Together they brought great entrepreneurial business skills which influenced the development of Waterdown. Altho... Read more
Constructed c.1857, this two storey clapboard structure was the site of Waterdown’s first telegraph office and for many years served as the village’s post office. J. B. Thompson served as post master from the 1860’s until the first de... Read more
The block south of Dundas Street between Franklin and Main Street South was the site of a disastrous fire in 1922. The fire started at a heading mill, a mill which produces the tops for barrels, at the south end of Franklin Street. The vill... Read more
A large brick building built during the 1890’s by Frederick William Crooker to house his general store once stood on this corner of Main and Dundas Streets. When the building was badly damaged in the fire of 1915 it was rebuilt and sold t... Read more
Built in 1880, “Chestnut Grove” is a house with historical importance as well as architectural beauty. The home was built for Charles Sealey, a prosperous lumber merchant and the first Reeve of Waterdown, around an earlier one. Such gre... Read more
The site of what is now the Memorial Hall was originally occupied by a tall wooden building known as the Bell House and Tower; the tower housed an enormous cast iron bell that was rung during the workday to indicate curfew times and emergen... Read more
Situated in front of the Waterdown Memorial Hall is the decorative fountain, purchased by his wife and dedicated to Frederick Wesley Crooker in 1930. Mr. Crooker was the postmaster for the village for more than 20 years, and at the time of ... Read more
On what is now a public parking lot, stood a building constructed in 1864. This building housed numerous Waterdown businesses including the Boadicea Hotel, Alton’s Meat Market and both Edward’s and Buchan’s Bakery. The original fields... Read more
Originally the J.T. Stock Building, the northwest corner of Mill and Dundas Street has housed commercial businesses since 1855. Typical of the mid-1800s merchant store design that included living quarters above, this building was also home ... Read more
The name ‘Vinegar Hill’ has been used for this area of Waterdown since its beginnings, and may have been given because of the apple cider that was often produced on the numerous apple orchards and market gardens along the hill; without ... Read more
Once leading down to the Vance House (later converted into the Waterdown South Railway Station) as well as Will Reid’s barn, Board Street was also the site of several small mills between 1835 and 1910. The coming of the railway through th... Read more
Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway line along the bed of Grindstone Creek began in 1910. By 1911 the bridges had been built and in 1912 the railway line in Waterdown was opened. The large two storey house that served as the railwa... Read more
Originally part of a Crown Grant to E.C. Griffin in 1837, this house is one of the oldest in the village. Ownership is unclear between 1839 and 1855, though it was owned by members of the Horning family between 1855 and 1863. The rear secti... Read more
The land on which the house stands was originally part of a 200 acre Crown Grant awarded to King’s College on 3 January 1828. In 1839 the property was divided into two lots. The house was built for the Forbes family in 1857, and construct... Read more
This Waterdown home was designed by architects McPhee, Kelly, and Darling in 1909 for Col. G. A. Inksetter, in 1922 it became the home of Col. John Connon and his family. The landscaping around the property was probably planned by the Conno... Read more
Located in an area known as Vinegar Hill in the North-east and oldest part of the village, the Union Cemetery contains over 800 monuments erected as memorials to early pioneers. A village school house was built on part of the property in 18... Read more
This interesting Victorian house was the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Reid and their family. Its many unusual features are the work of Mr. John Reid, a builder of note who owned a planing mill along the east bank of Grindstone Creek. It is sai... Read more
A charming two storey board and batten house that has retained some of the original features such as the small round-headed centre gable window and side verandah. Remnants of the gingerbread trim that once graced the verandah remain in the ... Read more
This charming cottage dates from the 1860 – 1870 period. Constructed of clapboard, overlaid with board and batten and with a low hip roof, it is one of a number of such cottages to be found in the village. Several well known Waterdown nam... Read more
This beautiful Victorian residence was built for the Eager family c.1870 and remained in their ownership for three generations virtually unaltered. The house is constructed of cut stone with a rough cast and lime cement facing that was adde... Read more
This fine stone building is instantly recognizable to thousands of people in Flamborough and the surrounding area as once being the home of Weeks of Waterdown. The corner section of the block, constructed soon after Ebenezer Griffin’s pur... Read more
The American Hotel, referred to in the past as both the North American Hotel and the American House, was built c.1824. It is one of the oldest hotels in Ontario, rising to importance during the period of stage coach travel. Although ownersh... Read more
The Harper Building was built on the south east corner of Franklin and Dundas Street between 1977 and 1980. Prior to that time a house belonging to George Potts stood on the corner. For 54 years Mr. Potts worked as a blacksmith in the villa... Read more
In 1838 the Wesleyan Methodists built a simple frame church on Mill Street North at a cost of $1,400, “to serve the settlers who previously had depended upon saddlebag preachers”. The 1865 Wentworth County Directory Listing for Waterdow... Read more
The East Flamborough Township Hall, virtually unaltered from the day it was constructed, is one of the finest examples of a mid-Victorian civic building in rural Ontario. Built of locally quarried limestone, the building consists of two rec... Read more
This is a fine one-and-a-half storey, red brick home constructed c.1870. The most notable feature is the fine wrap-around front verandah with unusual decorative bargeboard.
The small, milk chocolate coloured, one storey cottage is built of stone with a painted cement rendering. Built during the 1850s, local tradition has it associated with mills along the Grindstone Creek, notably as the office for Forstner’... Read more
“Walnut Shade” built c.1850, is of frame construction to which stucco has been applied. This symmetrical house with its truncated hip roof has none of the fancy features found on many of the homes on Mill Street North.
According to local history, these two houses were once a single frame building constructed c.1870 and owned by the Salvation Army. Reportedly the building was cut in half by Frank Slater c.1900. There are numerous similarities in design bet... Read more
One of the finest buildings on Mill Street, it was probably built between 1850 and 1855. The stone cottage is part of the property that Absalom Griffin sold to David Davies for twenty five pounds in 1851. The large garage was moved from the... Read more
Built c.1889 for local blacksmith George Gilmer, the house is similar to both 19 and 33 John Street with matching centre gable and symmetrical facade. Behind the stucco and board and batten siding in this home is a layer of brick and plaste... Read more
This two-and-a-half storey red brick residence was built c.1890 by John Prudham. Mr. Prudham was the farm implement dealer for the Waterdown-East Flamborough area. He used his house as his office where he took orders all winter from local r... Read more
Set close to the road this one-and-a-half storey house displays some of the Gothic Revival characteristics such as the three bay main elevation with central entry, flanking windows, and centre gable window. It is believed that the house was... Read more
Henry Slater owned this house in 1910 although the date of construction for the building is probably closer to the turn of the century. Slater’s Mill was the last mill in Waterdown to operate on the banks of Grindstone Creek. This two sto... Read more
The beautiful stone building of Grace Anglican Church stands adjacent to an equally beautiful and well-kept cemetery. This land, located on the north side of the Village of Waterdown, was a generous donation of Frederick Feilde and his wife... Read more
William Harris, a local blacksmith, purchased this lot in 1882 for $300.00. It is believed that the one-and-a-half storey frame dwelling was likely built at this time. The main house is L-shaped in plan with a cross gable roof. While the wi... Read more
In 1918 this property, which had been used as the fair grounds, was purchased as the site of the new school since the old one in Sealey Park had become overcrowded. Opened in January 1921, this large brick school was originally called the W... Read more
This well kept Waterdown home, part of which may date from the 1860s, is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Once known as the Griffin Farm House, this building later housed a popular Bed and Breakfast establishment.
Located on the north east corner lot of Wellington and Victoria Street, this sturdy two storey red brick house was once occupied by Hugh Drummond and his family. Built around the turn of the century, this home is noted for the decorative br... Read more
Facing onto Elgin Street, this corner home with front and side verandahs has had several additions made to it since construction c.1880-1890 and all have been well camouflaged. Originally a small frame cottage, local tradition has that the ... Read more
Since the tiny cottages along Nelson Street are located close to the banks of Grindstone Creek they were often occupied by mill workers. There is no evidence of the sawmill that was situated on the creek directly below the east end of the s... Read more
The small stucco over frame one-and-a-half storey house on the corner lot appears to face both Raglan and Victoria Street. Built in the traditional Ontario style of centre gable, its simplicity is typical of the houses built from 1860-1880 ... Read more
Constructed upon land that was once owned by Christlieb John Slater, this building is believed to have been a casket factory during the 1880s. Note the decorative cupola and lamp post.
The area surrounding Slater’s Lumber Yard was once referred to as the Upper Mill Site. From 1832 to 1901 this stretch of Grindstone Creek was lined with a cloth and carpet factory, an iron foundry, flour mills and sawmills. Slater’s Mil... Read more
This tiny frame cottage is probably the building referred to in Stock and McMonnies Survey of Village Lots in 1855. The house is balanced by a single large window on either side of the central door. A cistern built in 1910 is now covered by... Read more
This magnificent brick home, constructed c.1890, was designed by John Reid who was well known throughout the Waterdown area for his unique architectural style. Irregular in plan, the main body of the house is a one-and-a-half storey, with a... Read more
The first Presbyterian services in Waterdown were held in a school house on Vinegar Hill in 1830. By 1840 there were two Presbyterian churches in the village. In 1877 when the two churches united, the congregation began to gather in the old... Read more
Built in the 1880s or 1890s in Queen Anne style. In the early 1900s, Jack Slater purchased this house so that his son Herbie could have the tower bedroom where it was thought that the cool breezes would help his tuberculosis. Unfortunately ... Read more
John Creen sold this property to prominent doctor William Philp in 1868 for $1,100.00. The one-and-a-half storey residence is one of many Waterdown homes constructed in the Gothic Revival style. It includes the traditional three bay elevati... Read more
This elegant cut-stone house is an outstanding early example of the Ontario Vernacular style with its rectangular shape, one and a half storeys and centre gable. The hand-cut stone on the front facade is particularly striking on this house.... Read more
This large building located close to the Mill Street side-walk has been used for numerous industrial and commercial functions over the last hundred years. When it was constructed in the 1860s the structure was designed to house a store and ... Read more


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