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Mapleton Township

Hollen (ghost town)

Discovered by jeepers
Created Jun 13 2010
Recent status Active
Category Ghost Town
City Mapleton Township, Ontario
Location # 1674

Hollen is located in located in Maryborough Township., Wellington County. It began in 1850 when a man named Hugh Hollingshead built a grist and shingle mill along banks of Conestoga River.

The fertile land and river almost guaranteed an influx of prospective farmers to the area. In anticipation of the farmers arriving, Hollingshead laid out a town site consisting of 150 lots.

His ambition paid off. Within two years the town had grown to include a post office and general store. A second gristmill, sawmill and shingle factory were built by a Mr. George Henderson.

Post office/General Store

The post office opened on March 6, 1952 and was operated by a J. Hollen. There is some speculation as to whether the town was named after the postmaster or after Mr. Hollingshead. Other historians believe that Samuel Robinson was the first postmaster. The first item purchased from the store was an axe, a pound of tea and a bar of soap.

As the town(a)s population began to grow, Hollen required additional resources. A schoolhouse was built in 1854 and it(a)s first teacher would be a Miss Aaron Kells. Two more general stores opened in the 1860(a)s, operated by T. Thompson and son. A pot ashery was also built which made soap from lye.

Capt. Thomas Thompson took over the General Store store and Post Office in the 1860’s. His son, W. J. Thompson followed. James Alexander Brandon, a local miller, went on to look after the post office and grocery store around 1873 and remained there until he retired.


A key institution to any small town was that of the church. Until a church was built, the local school usually served as the meeting place for the town. It was used for music festivals, fairs and even funerals.

James Alexander Brandon served as the Township Justice of the Peace. He, along with his brother,Thomas E. Brandon, helped establish the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1862. It would later be renamed to Hollin Methodist Church. The church burned in 1915 and rebuilt within a year. A Presbyterian Church named Chalmers Presbyterian Church was built in 1867. The two congregations merged in 1925 to become the United Church.

Middle 1860(a)s

As stagecoach travel was rough and exhausting, passengers would often stay overnight. Two hotels were built to accomodate them, one owned by Charles Forest and the other owned by George Wilson.

On April 30th, 1866 the first daily stagecoach with mail arrived. It was driven by four houses. This event became the talk of the town as the entire town waited for the stage on this memorial day. The mail coach would provide continued ferrying between Hollen, Stirton, Alma, Elora and Guelph.

By 1874 the town had grown to a sizable town of approximately 400 residents.

The general store now had two telephone lines. One connected to nearby Drayon. The other line was referred to as a (a)squirrel line(a). The squirrel line was shared by six homes: Jim Cunningham, Nellie Rogers, Richard Armstrong and Henry Franklin, and the two lines at the store. Ed Close relayed messages from one line to the other.

In 1909 the lines from Drayton, Hollen and Moorefield were amalgamated to become the Union Telephone Company.

Additional businesses

John Brady owned a wood working shop and a carriage factory. Mr. Matheson owned a tailor shop and Joe Abbot owned a shoemaker shop.

All that was about to change in 1874 when the Wellington Grey and Bruce Railway came through nearby Drayton. While the farmers held on to their land, the small town was already doomed. By 1880 the population stood at approx. 500 but three years later it fell to 150. By 1960 it was no more than 20 residents.

The cemetery which was opened in 1852 can be found at Con. 6, Lot 17.

All thats left is the cemetery; the town is beautiful and the lakefront is all cottages. the location is hwy 9 west of Arthur to sideroad 15 go south to Hollen road. The cemetery is on the left just before the Hollen sign.


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unknown user avatar
Unknown User My great great grandfather was Captain Thomas Thompson, who opened general store and read the Post Office for a time in Hollen. I recall my great aunt talking about Hollen. There were 9 children in William Thompson’s family. Great post on Hollen, thanks.
Jul 22 2020
unknown user avatar
Unknown User The Post Office date for Hollen should be 1852 not 1952.
Aug 25 2019
avatar of rcouper
rcouper Great find. Love the cemeteries.
Jun 13 2010