Latlng: (43.91707, -79.093065)

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Ajax And Pickering

Howell's Hollow (ghost town)

Discovered by clay70
Created Oct 16 2009
Recent status Unknown
Category Ghost Town
City Ajax And Pickering, Ontario
Location # 910

In 1831, on a small tributary of Duffins Creek, a man named Sicely took land at Lot 15 Concession 5 in Pickering Township. Here he built a saw and gristmill.

Henry Howell purchased the mill a year later. He added a distillery and mercantile business. Howell's Hollow became a natural name for the growing community.

By 1836 a post office was opened by a preacher named Geo. Barclay (owner of Lot 16, Conc. 6) under the name "Brougham" (after Lord Brougham). It was located at the N. side of Conc 6 lot 17. Nicholas Howell took over as postmaster from 1837-1850. * The cairn notes 1832 as the 1st post office date.

Nicholas's farm flourished with over 1000 acres and the mills. He built 12 cottages for hired hands. John Gerow, a child worker here, served whiskey to customers for 25 cents a gallon. He also fed the pigs with the hops from the distillery. The posts from the distillery still remain in the ground apparently.

But by the late 1830's Brock Rd. to the west had been improved, and a 2nd village sprang up on it with the same name as the village to the east. This new "Brougham" became the hub of the area and it made sense that the post office was moved here at where Hwy. 7 and Brock Rd. now meet. The 1st 2 postmasters here were Taun and Bentley.

Howell's Hollow was on a quick decline by the 1850's. The flow of the creek (Brougham Creek) was also poor. By 1850 the mills, store and village may have vanished- a very short life indeed.

The Soden's owned the Howell farm and original post office in 1925 and called it "Meadow Brook". Mrs. Soden is the one who erected the cairn where her farmhouse once sat to commemorate the location of the 1st post office.

Today all that is left of this ghost town are indents and humps in the fields and Howell's cattle barn and barn foundation. A cairn marks the exact location of the first post office in the entire area (1832) beside the creek where the mill once stood. It is located today east of Sideline 16, 1 km. south of Hwy. 7 in the City of Pickering.

IB Carpenter owned the farmstead beside Henry Howell. Coincidentally, IB Carpenter also owned property at Salem's Lot (Check the ghostly write-up under "Ajax" for more info.).

For online history go to:

Latlng: (43.91707, -79.093065)


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avatar of gnome
gnome I visited the site May 2018. I can't find the cairn, looked all over the place, found the house ruins, and the huge mill stone in the valley.
Jun 01 2018
avatar of punchbowl
punchbowl Great great pictures! - you can just picture what went on here years ago!!!
Feb 02 2012
avatar of clay70
clay70 Thanks for the photos of the deer dear...hehe
Feb 26 2011
avatar of spydrgyrl
spydrgyrl I've been looking for this site for the past few days .. turns out I was on the wrong concession. :)
Feb 23 2011