The general store©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Ballycroy, located in Simcoe County, had its beginnings in 1826, with the construction of a chopping mill. The operation was later expanded to include a sawmill, shingle factory, and possibly a flour mill.
By the 1870s Ballycroy was a booming community that boasted a population of around 200. Besides the mills, it included two general stores, a law office, millinery shop, blacksmith shop, four tavern/hotels and a liquor store. It was the hotels and liquor store that led to Ballycroy's infamous reputation for the legendary alcholic brawls that reportedly lasted for days.
On a brighter note, Peter Small's hotel was renowned for its excellent food and fine liquor. Small's hotel thrived until the spring of 1875, when it burned to the ground. Tragically three young women lost their lives in the inferno. Following whispers of arson and insurance fraud, Small was more or less run out of town. The loss of hotel, along with Small's other business ventures, later proved to be a grave financial setback to the entire community.
Ballycroy suffered another major blow when it was bypassed by the railway in favour of nearby Palgrave. Many businesses relocated to be closer to the railway. Road realignments in later years bypassed Ballycroy completely.
Today Ballycroy has been reduced to a quite backwater. Many of the original homes still stand, along with the general store and post office. Ballycroy's current residents have taken an active role in documenting their community's history by excavating numerous foundations in an attempt to remap the original town site.