Altona is a ghost town located on the border between Uxbridge and Pickering Townships, in the old Ontario County. It was named after the town near Hamburg, Germany where many of Markham Township's first settlers hailed from. Today, Altona is in the City of Pickering in Durham Region at Sideline 30. It is just east of Stouffville, Ontario. Its north section is in Uxbridge Township.
In 1852, the Altona Mennonite Church was erected. The building was constructed by pioneers who immigrated here from Pennsylvania in the early 1800's. The bricks came from the Cherrywood brick yard. Local families included the Reesors, Widemans, Nighswanders, Hoovers and Stouffers. The first grave is dated 1835.
The 1st postmaster was J. Monkhouse in 1857. A photo of his farmstead on the west side of Altona is pictured below. He built the large grist mill just SE of the 4 corners below the mill pond. The Nighswanders built the woolen mill 1 km south of the hamlet on the west side of the road. It was converted into a cider mill that was popular throughout most of the 1900's. It has been taken down in recent years, but the mill pond waterfall is still there.
In the 1800's, along with the post office, grist and woolen mills there was a hotel at the main intersection's NE side, built in 1858. It is located right on the Uxbridge/Pickering border. The site was used as an inn for 60 years and then as a grocery store and later in 1921 as an apartment building. A public hall existed on the NW side of the 4 corners.
Today, 2 churches, a school, 2 cemeteries, the general store/hotel, and homes remain; but more than half of the other buildings have been been boarded up by the federal government due to supposed plans to bring an airport to the area. This gives a very eerie feeling as you drive through from all four directions. As of 2010 they are being torn down one-by-one.
A web search reveals this from Ontario County records (1869):
A village in the township of Pickering, 20 miles north-west of Whitby. Population about 200.
Brown, A, hotelkeeper
Monkhouse, T., merchant
Cliff, E., carder, &c.
Mordon, G., laborer
Haggerman, L., pumpmaker, &c.
Neighswander, S., merchant miller
Hoover, J. G., laborer
Neighwander, M., farmer
Jones, A., farmer
Robertson, R., shoemaker
Key, M., carpenter
Skene, J., millright
MONKHOUSE, JOSEPH, Postmaster, &c.
Stouffer J., farmer
Wilson, J., blacksmith