Two sideroads south of Richmond Hill where Yonge St intersects Hwy 7 once stood "Langstaff Corners". John Langstaff gave his name to the settlement of Langstaff and whose son, grandson and great grandson practiced medicine in Richmond Hill from 1849-1973.
Initially arriving from New Jersey in 1808, John Langstaff took over the property at the North East corner of the intersection. By mid century Langstaff Corners had become a major stopping point for travelers between Toronto and Richmond Hill to the North.
The original Langstaff property remained in family hands until 1893 when it was purchased by the Boyle family. Just prior to World War I, the City of Toronto purchased the land on the north East corner of Yonge and Hwy 7 and through the summer of 1913 built its celebrated Industrial Farm or as it came to be known simply the "Jail Farm".
In today's terminology it was a minimum security facility for drunks, first offenders and petty criminals and an alternative to the dreaded Don Jail. The complex stood on 3 square kilometers of prime agricultural land stretching from Yonge Street East to Bayview.
The superintendent Hedley Basher ruled the farm with an iron hand. He was ex military police from World War I and believed in strict discipline making his daily rounds on horseback. There was little need for tight security though. There were no high fences or armed guards. Inmates could easily sneak away but rarely did because it meant added time to their sentence and a trip to the Don Jail.
The inmates would spend their days working the land on the farm identically dressed head to toe in denim pants and shirts.
The Jail was eventually closed in 1958 and sat vacant while the land was leased to farmers. With urban sprawl knocking on it's door, the old Langstaff Jail Farm was finally demolished in the early 1990's.
It became very famous in 1980 when i featured in the opening sequence of the horror film, Prom Night, starring Jamie Lee Curtis.