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St. John's West

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Located in: St. Catharines
Location #234

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Location Owner: OAP
Creation Date: 1/1/2006
Last Updated: 1/1/2006

Opposite a historical plaque, you'll find Hollow Road. The old school is on the corner of Hollow and Orchard Hill Road In 1792, a Mr. Benjamin Canby moved from Pennsylvania to this area. Here he built a sawmill near Twelve Mile Creek. He was joined by John Darling who built a grist mill. Darling also went on to marry Canby's sister. As more settlers arrived to the area, St. John's became a thriving mill village. Darling added a second grist mill downstream and also a woolen mill (said to be the first of its kind). In 1817, John Darling also added Ontario's first iron furnace.

By 1850, St John's lay claim to five grist mills, three saw mills, and a cloth factory. It also had two Methodist churches, stores, taverns, wagon maker and schools. Many of these were located on what is now known as Holland Road. The mills themselves were located off of Hollow Road, which is now a private and cozy lane.

Another victim of the railway and canals, St. John's lasted about 100 years and by 1926 the churches has been torn down, the cemetaries overgrown and the population a few dozen people.

In the early 1990's, the District School Board of Niagara used this area heavily as a "field trip" experience, where students and teachers alike were astounded by the animals that an "animal lady" would bring in.

St. Johns is located between Hamilton and Niagra Falls. Follow the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) south to Niagara, just before St. Catharines exit at Hwy. 406 south (exit #49) to Welland/Port Colborne. Drive for approximately 20 kms south on Hwy. 406 and turn right onto Holland Road.

Opposite the historic plaque, you'll find Hollow Road. The old school is on the corner of Hollow and Orchard Hill Road

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Status: Unknown
Category: Ghost Town

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The beautiful tree lined Orchard Hill Road

Plaque on Holland Street (opposite Hollow Road)

School bell

One room school house (intersection of the two roads)

Threading the vale of the Shorthills this small stream fed power here at St. Johns to five flour mills, wool and carding mills and other inductries, making this the most important manufacturing centre in the Niagra Peninsula in the early 1800's. Blankets, cloth, whiskey, bricks, flour, stores all kind of mill and farm machinery these were the products of St. John's Canada West.

Gate and stone marker marks the spot of Samuel Chandler's home.

It reads, "Up the hill 50 ft. stood home of Samuel Chandler. Patriot. He guided MacKenzie to Buffalo and here they had supper. 1791"