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Chapter 7
The Neighbours at Mid-Century
Table of Contents

Title Page
Author's Preface
1 The Road through Richmond Hill
2 First Peoples on the Land
3 The European Settlers Arrive
4 From Miles' Hill to Richmond Hill: The Birth of a Community
5 Tories and Reformers
6 Stagecoach Lines and Railway Tracks
7 The Neighbours at Mid-Century
Beyond the Village Centre
Assorted Residents of Langstaff Road West in the Early 1840s
Langstaff
Hallowe'en Pranks at Langstaff Corners
Elgin Mills
Entertaining Girls at Twickenham Farm
Jefferson, Bond Lake, Oak Ridges
"The Passing of Headford Mill"
Headford and Dollar
Carrville, Patterson, and Temperanceville
Markham and Whitchurch, Vaughan and King
8 Fire Brigades and Fence Viewers
9 Picture Post Card Village of the 1880s and 1890s
10 Rails through Richmond Hill
11 The Flowering of Richmond Hill
12 The Village Transformed
Epilogue
Appendices
Table of Illustrations
Index

Elgin Mills

F. J. Woodward's blacksmith shop at Elgin Mills, with the Glass butcher wagon on the right.
Just one sideroad north of Richmond Hill, where Elgin Mills Road today intersects Yonge Street, was Elgin Mills. So close to Richmond Hill that it was almost part of the town geographically, Elgin Mills maintained a certain pride in its distinctiveness and its own name. Here at mid-century stood a steam-powered sawmill, a gristmill, and a tannery - all providing work for Richmond Hill men. Here began the Elgin Mills and Markham Plank Road, a toll road running east to present-day Woodbine Avenue, then south through Victoria Square to Cashel.
Yonge Street, looking north from Elgin Mills Road, in the 1920s.

The New Elgin Hotel at Elgin Mills
By 1870, Elgin Mills was best known as the location of the Newton Tanning Company.James Newton migrated from Scotland in 1834 and eventually settled in Elgin Mills, where he bought a small tanning operation and enlarged it into a major community enterprise.
Newton Tanning Company at Elgin Mills. Located on the sideroad west of Yonge Street behind the blacksmith shop on the northwest corner. It was a major employer of Richmond Hill labour in the later decades of the nineteenth century.
In its heyday from the early 1870s through the mid-1890s, the tannery provided work for as many as one hundred men, many of whom walked back and forth each day from their Richmond Hill homes.
Employees of the Newton Tanning Company in 1898. Back row, left to right, are: --, N. Garness,, Geo Sims, Sr.,S. Kirkland,Bertram Newton, --, - Garbutt, --, George Hopper, and Tom Newton. Front row: Dave Mckenzie, --, J Brydon,A. Hamilton, --, F. Dolen, --, Andrew Newton,C. Skeele,W. Naughton, --, --, --, J. Naughton, and N. Naughton. Sitting: L. McLeod,F. Grainger.
Newton's also served as a final stopping-place for old horses and a market for farmers hauling hemlock bark used in the tanning process. After Newton's death in 1892 and a severe fire two years later, the tannery continued operations on a much reduced scale through the late nineties and early years of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, the opening of a post office in 1900 temporarily boosted the identity of
Memorial card of James Newton, 1892.
Elgin Mills. But a century later, the northward march of commercial and residential Richmond Hill has all but obliterated Elgin Mills as a separate community.

 


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Copyright Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991