The Hollen Cemetery©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Hollen began as a busy industrial village in Wellington County, first settled around 1850. The community was started by Hugh Hollingshead, a local politician and mill owner, who also had the foresight to lay out a small town plan in the hopes of attracting other businesses.
A post office and school were both established in the 1850s. At its height Hollen contained four mills, a brick and tile yard, three shoe manufacturers, a tannery and a cheese factory. Other businesses included five blacksmith shops, a couple of tailors, three hotels and even a photography studio. Both Methodist and Presbyterian churches were built in the 1860s. During its best days, Hollen boasted a population estimated at between 400 to 500.
Hollen was one of a number of thriving industrial communities that had the misfortune to be bypassed by the railways. After nearby Drayton was chosen in 1874, Hollen began a slow descent downwards from which it was never able to recover. If that weren't enough, the waters of the Conestoga were dammed up and much of the original town site now lies under water.
Today Hollen still supports a small population. Fortunately a number of original buildings were spared from the inundation and still stand.