SS #13 South Marysburgh, Port Milford around 1922.Source: Quinte Educational Museum and Archives
Port Milford was a small lakeside community that began as a shipping port during the mid 1860s.
In those days, barley was a major commodity. James Cooper, an enterprising Irishman, began building docks and warehouses where they could store and trade barley with passing mariners. Along with his brother William, they began to expand the operation by building houses and a store. Others were attracted to the area and within a few years the community had grown to include a second store and a hotel. A small ship building industry was added in the late 1870s.
The boom lasted until the 1890s when the U.S. government, bowing to protectionism, slapped a hefty tariff on imported barley. Aound the same time, the ship building industry began to wane. The larger steamships, which by then were being widely used, began moving to bigger ports that were better equipped to deal with larger vessels.
Port Milford however a second chance at life with the opening of the Port Milford Packing Company, a large cannery, that was an immediate hit with the local farmers. By 1900, its fortunes had improved to the point where it boasted almost two dozen buildings, along with a church andc school.
Port Milford lasted until the 1930s, when the cannery ceased operations. Almost everyone left and most of the buildings were demolished. What remains today are the foundations from the cannery and the general store, now being used for storage.