A building thought to be the original post office©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Indiana was a small industrial hamlet located on the newly built Grand River Canal near Cayuga. It was first settled in the 1830s, following completion of the canal.
By the early 1840s, the settlement contained a sawmill and a grist mill, built by David Thompson. Thompson, who had also been elected to parliament in 1841, constructed a large mansion nearby, which he named Ruthven. Water power, originating from the dam at Mount Healy, was purchased from the navigation company by all the mill owners.
Indiana grew rapidly and by 1846 the population stood at around 120. At it height it contained the mills, a distillery, a pail factory, two inns, and a Catholic church.
Indiana, like many similar industrial communities, was an unfortunate victim of the railways. After the railway arrived in 1854, canal shipping took a steep drop. Without railway access, Indiana's industries gradually fell silent. The mills and hotel continued to operate throughout the 1880s, however by the end of the century it was all over.
The Thompson family remained active in politics for many years. Thompson's son David, and also his grandson Andrew, served as members of parliament at the federal level. In the early 1990s, Ruthven mansion was declared a National Historic Site and officially opened to the public in 1998.
Today little remains of the old village except for two buildings. Remains of the locks and cemetery can still be found on the grounds. The Ruthven mansion is open for tours during scheduled hours and for special events. A full list of opening dates is available on their website.