Harrington Grist Mill est.1846 - Historic Places Day

Harrington Grist Mill est.1846

Embro, Ontario
Type
Cultural Heritage Centre
Address
963656 Road 96, Embro, ON, Canada
Get directions
Hours
11am to 3pm
Phone
519-275-1533

Harrington West

Brenda Krantz, Harrington & Area Community Association, 

with excerpts from “Historically Bound, Embro & West Zorra, 1820-2007”

 

In a quiet valley in northwest Oxford County lies a tiny village whose origin tells the story of early settlement and industry in southwestern Ontario.

 

Harrington came into being in the 1840’s, when David Lazier Demorest, born in Prince Edward County to United Empire Loyalists, made his way to Zorra Township. Demorest purchased 200 acres of land from the Canada Company. He immediately saw an opportunity to dam Harrington Creek , a tributary of Trout Creek, and create a pond that would provide waterpower to the Grist Mill he would build. Demorest’s Grist Mill and Mill Pond became the cornerstone around which the village of Harrington was built. 

 

Although originally referred to as Demorestville, then Springfield, the official name decided on in April of 1854, was Harrington West, when the first Post Office was opened. The addition of ‘West’ was because a town in Quebec was already named Harrington. Demorest served as Post Master from then until June 17, 1866.  The name Harrington, was chosen to honour a local politician, John Harrington, by Sir Francis Hincks, who was appointed in 1841 as Oxford County’s representative in the 1stParliament of United Canada. Oddly, Squire Harrington never lived here. He became the Reeve of East Zorra, and in 1860 the warden of Oxford County, and lived near where Willow Lake Park is situated today.

 

The original plan of Harrington included 20 blocks, however, only a few were ever developed. Demorest and his wife, and their 6 children, all of whom were born in Harrington, moved to Illinois by the late 1860’s. 

 

Harrington West flourished, and by 1875, had a population of 200. Its business and industrial sector included 2 hotels, 2 tailors, a sawmill, Grist Mill, a general store, a cabinetmaker and upholsterer, 2 wagon-makers, a tin shop, a cheese factory, a mason, a post office, an oatmeal mill, and harness-makers, boot-makers and shoemakers. There was also a community hall, 2 churches and a school. 

 

Demorest’s Grist Mill was in continuous operation, except for a brief time in 1923, when it was destroyed by fire, until 1962. The Grist Mill and Mill Pond are part of the property known as Harrington Conservation Area, and owned by Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. (UTRCA)

 

In 1997, the Harrington & Area Community Association entered into a custodial agreement with UTRCA with respect to the maintenance of the Harrington Grist Mill and the Harrington Conservation Area. At that time, the Grist Mill was derelict, and in need of extensive clean-up and repairs.

Volunteers have spent countless hours working on the restoration. A Trillium Grant allowed extensive work to be done on the foundation. Later the roof was replaced, and the exterior  reclad. Whitelaw Machinery of Woodstock, at no cost, have removed, refurbished and reinstalled much of the Mill’s machinery. Many other area businesses and individuals have donated time and materials.

 

It is the goal of the Harrington & Area Community Association, along with other partners in the community, to make the Grist Mill fully operational.  We believe that witnessing the Mill operate with water power can teach present and future generations rare and valuable lessons about natural science, history, and culture.

 

The Mill Pond is a beautiful oasis that has existed for over 170 years. It is home to many species of birds, waterfowl, fish, animals, turtles and other amphibians. 

It is a recreational space that has been enjoyed by generations!

 

Please check our Facebook page – Harrington Community Association, our website www.exploreharrington.ca or for more information, email haca@oxford.net or call Tim 519-475-4376 or Philip 519-475-0484.

 

Notes from "Southern Explorations In Ontario"

The Harrington Grist mill has always interested me, having friends who grew up in Harrington. I finally went for a walk around it during the winter time. It is still well looked after by the small town but is no linger in use. It is a heritage site and has some trails around the mill. There is a huge pond behind the mill.  Gorgeous area for photos.

Amenities

  • Family-Friendly
  • Guided Tour
  • Parking
  • Parkland
  • Pet-Friendly

Location

963656 Road 96, Embro, ON, Canada
Get directions

Nearby Places

Harrington Community Centre (formerly S.S.#4, West Zorra School)

Embro, Ontario
Visit this 1869 Schoolhouse – in remarkably original condition! Display of class photos!
View Place | Get Directions

St. Marys Museum

Saint Marys, Ontario
Well worth a visit!
View Place | Get Directions

Town of St. Marys Heritage Walking Tour

Saint Marys, Ontario
Re-live the history of the quaint town of St. Marys by embarking on their self-guided Heri…
View Place | Get Directions

Grand Trunk Trestle

Saint Marys, Ontario
Take in the views of St. Marys high atop the Thames River on this pedestrian bridge.
View Place | Get Directions

Popular VisitLists Including "Harrington Grist Mill est.1846"

Southern Explorations In Ontario

Embro, Ontario to Saint Marys, Ontario 5 places
These are some of my adventures of historical local and distant places. Full of memories.
View VisitList

Following "Southern Explorations In Ontario"

Back to the VisitList

These are some of my adventures of historical local and distant places. Full of memories.

Register A Place

Create an account to add your historic place.

Make a VisitList

Welcome! To get started on a VisitList, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDay.


Already have an account? to sign in.
We use your contact information to process your registration and correspond with you about the National Trust and its programs. You can unsubscribe at any time. We care about your privacy. Read our privacy statement.

Sign In

Sites that participate in #HistoricPlacesDay need to have an account.

Welcome! To get started on a new VisitList or to edit an existing one, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDay. Sign in below!


Not registered? Click here to create an account.

Forgot Password

Enter your email address to request a password reset.


to sign in.

Get the latest scoop on everything #HistoricPlacesDay – join our e-newsletter and never miss a beat.