For The History Buff
Like Main Street in many communities the original old Georgetown Main Street area has changed and evolved with time and a changing population. But if you look closely the history is etched on the face of many of the buildings standing along the street. Located at the southerly end of Main Street, Coté Terrace is close to the heart of old Georgetown's history.
From humble beginnings almost 200 years ago, Georgetown has a great deal of history. Many would argue that to understand where we are today, we need to know where we came from in days gone by. There is no doubt there are some really interesting stories when you start to look at our days gone by.
Many of the buildings in the photo from the Esquesing Historical Society to the left are still standing and identifiable on Main Street today. The photo of a parade in 1912 is looking up Main Street from the area close to Mill Street intersection.
Below is a brief description of a few historic buildings close to Coté Terrace. Hopefully there is enough to wet your appetite to explore and learn more of the area's history.
The Esquesing Historical Society is an excellent resource when looking for more area history.
One of the older buildings on Main Street was Reid's Hardware built in 1879. It is a grand limestone-faced building and still looks much like it did 140 years ago. It served as a hardware store for several decades and ended its retail life as Goodlet's furniture and appliance business. It is now home to Shepherd's Crook, a restaurant and pub.
The Old Bank building on Main Street at Mill Street is another architecturally unique building. It is now home to the Cellar restaurant on the lower level where you may be seated in the original bank vault room. The building is now also home to a number of other businesses.
Cedarvale Park is just across Maple Avenue from Coté Terrace. The property was once home to Armenian orphaned boys rescued from the Armenian genocide in the 1920s. The 3 buildings in the park that once were home for the boys and orphanage staff are now are home to the Credit Valley Artisans, a nursery school, and numerous other activities.
Halton Hills Public Library was original constructed as the Congregational Church in 1854 and the original portion of the building is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture. It became the Town of Georgetown library in 1915 and has undergone many alterations and additions over the years since.
The original Amoury building was a wood frame structure built by the village of Georgetown in 1866 as a Drill Hall for the local militia. It was designed by Canadian Pacific Railway engineer Walter Moberly and in 1890 was moved from the Market Square area a few blocks away to its present spot in the Fairgrounds Park.
The Armoury served as a drill hall from the 1860s until 1997 when the Lorne Scots, ‘C’ Company moved to their newly constructed Armoury on Todd Road.
The Georgetown Globe Productions theatre company now occupies the building and has committed to preserve and renovate “The Old Armoury” to maintain the original look and feel of its history.
Just off Main Street at 70 Mill Street is a two storey lime stone building constructed in 1935 to be the Georgetown Post Office. The building was built by the local firm, Mackenzie & Son. The post office, estimated to have cost $50,000 at the time was officially opened January 30, 1936. The clock tower makes the building arguably one of the most unique buildings in town. The building is now an apartment building.
Berwick Hall stands just one block up Main Street from Coté Terrace at 139 Main Street South. It was designed by Toronto architect Edward J. Lennox and built as the home for John Barber's family. John Barber and his brother were the proprietors of the Barber Paper Mill and very influential in the early years of Georgetown. Constructed in 1882, it was named Berwick Hall after the birthplace of John Barber's mother.
The Barber brothers are credited with naming the community Georgetown after George Kennedy who originally built a mill here that was the beginnings of the community.
In its time, the Barber Paper Mill was the largest industry in Halton county, now the Region of Halton. The Barber Mill produced book paper, lithographic and label papers, posters and higher grade newspaper. The mill served its purpose until 1913. Many businesses came and went in the following years but it eventually was abandoned and slowly deteriorated over the years. The ruins of the mill, in the aerial photograph below, remain on the banks of the Credit River at River Road and Maple Avenue.
The Barber Mill Dynamo was built in 1888 and transmitted hydro-electric power via two wires up to the Barber Paper Mill located on River Road, about 3km away. It was operated by James Charles Alexander (1874-1954) who worked there his whole life. His responsibilities included turning the power on and off and maintaining the machinery and being on call at any time requests came from the Mill down to the Dynamo. The ruins of the dynamo, pictured to the right, can still be scene on the banks of the Credit River from Armstrong Avenue near the Sinclair Avenue intersection.
Knox Presbyterian Church located at 116 Main Street South (at the corner of Main & Church Streets) officially began in 1860. A small brick church was erected in 1867 located at the site of today's church. The congregation continued to grow and in 1887, the brick church was torn down and a new stone church was erected. On February 16, 1901, the Church was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and is still in use today.
Eglise du Sacre-Cœur at 39 Guelph Street is now home to Sacre-Coeur Parish. Completed shortly before Christmas 1885 on the site just east of Main Street, it started as a simple stone church with the name Holy Cross. It was the new home to the Catholic adherents in the community and replaced the existing church that was in poor repair.
In 1885 it is reported to have cost $4,000 to build and by 1893 is reported to have had 200 parishioners. With a continuously expanding community, the need for a larger building was becoming obvious and on 23 March 1964 construction of a new Holy Cross Church on Maple Avenue began. With the new Holy Cross complete, on June 15, 1965, the original Holy Cross church was then taken over by the French-speaking Catholic community to continue as Sacré Coeur Parish.
After 135+ years, the simple stone church is still proudly standing and serving our community.