The original grist mill built by the Ball brothers, now restored.©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
In 1812, the British government rewarded loyal officers, John and George Ball, with 1200 acres of land for services rendered during the war. As an added bonus the land included not one but two waterfalls. Anticipating the great opportunities that lay ahead, John and George lost no time going into business.
They started with a grist mill at the lower falls, soon added a saw mill at the upper falls and further up on top of the hill, a woollen mill. The woollen mill became famous for its fine kerseys, cashmeres and flannels, spun and woven by an all female staff, who lived in the secluded boarding house close by. John and George named their little empire Glen Elgin and things flourished until the Great Western Railway bypassed the tiny village in the 1850s.
Although Glen Elgin slowly died as new industries located closer to the railway, luckily the old wooden grist mill and the Ball homestead survived. Both were preserved by the conservation authority and other period buildings from the surrounding area, including a cabin, barn and church were soon moved in. The conservation authority recreated the pioneer town on the former village site in the newly named Ball's Falls park.
In addition to the restored buildings, old cellar holes and other debris from the original town have been left intact and visitors can enjoy a well marked walking tour of the original community.