The village of Eden Mills, nestled in an Eramosa River valley, with its population of about 350, has a rich history. With its Scottish limestone buildings, and dense cedar forest it looks much like it did 100 years ago.
In the 1600s, it was the summer hunting and fishing grounds of the Neutral Indians (Attawandaron).
Founded by the Kribs brothers in 1842, “Kribs Mills”, was renamed Eden Mills in 1846 by the new mill owner, Adam Argo and his wife, Eve. For many years Eden Mills boasted a grist mill, an oatmeal mill andsaw mills. The mills relied on the water power generated by the Eramosa River, which splits into two branches at the village and then flows on to join the Speed River in Guelph, and then the Grand-a-Canadian Heritage River.
During the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century Eden Mills was a bustling centre of commerce. In addition to its three mills, it boasted an imposing three-storey general store, a hotel (both still standing today), post office, black smith shop, taxidermist, electric railway station, gas stations, a second general store and a coffee shop. The change of the importance of rivers for power led to the eventual bypassing of the village.
In the early 30s, Eden Mills was a favourite cottage vacation destination, with a stop (in the present Edgewood Camp) on the Toronto Suburban Railway that ran from Guelph to Toronto and back.
Vacationers and villagers alike spent warm summer days swimming in the millpond.
In the ‘40s and ‘50s life revolved around the two churches (United and Presbyterian), the local one room school (SS#11), the village hall and the softball diamond.
Before email, the village post office and Norm’s Coffee Shop were the main places to exchange the News of the day.
On Nov. 8, the Eden Mills and District Community Club will once again celebrate the unique history of the village with Eden Mills History Day, at the village hall.
History Day organizer, Barb Marshall learned to love history through her grandfather, Norman Scott Marshall, who owned and operated Marshall’s General Store and Post Office for over forty years (1926 to 1967). Marshall explained, “Grandpa instilled in my three brothers and me, a love of local history and our pioneer roots.”
The Marshalls are descendants of the first pioneers who settled in Nassagaweya Township.
Today sixth generation families still mingle with newer arrivals, passing on the local lore and traditions.
On History Day, families and groups, including historical societies and churches will display their historical items and photos.
The Wellington County Museum and Archives, the Township of Guelph-Eramosa’s Heritage Committee and the Eden Mills Community Club will be among the groups with displays.
The Royal Canadian Legion will also be on hand featuring stories of local veterans.
Villagers, including the current mill owners, Charles and Anna Simon, with be in attendance with their old photos and stories.
Tea, coffee, juice and homemade baked goods will be offered for sale, to enjoy while looking at old photos soaking up the history.
Eden Mills History Day
When: Nov. 8 / Time: 1 to 4pm / Where: Eden Mills Hall, 104 York St. Admission is free but donations are welcome with proceeds to Eden Mills Community programs.
*To reserve a table to show historical pictures or objects/family genealogy/pictures contact Barb at 519-856-4463.