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Metropolitan

History

Town site photo

The schoolhouse has been used as a private home since the 1960s.

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Metropolitan was destined for greatness - at least in the mind of John Donaldson, the local schoolteacher at S.S. #4. Donaldson, a devout teetotaller, was inspired by the construction of a temperance hall on the opposite corner from the school building. Gazing at the temperance hall from the school windows across the road, Donaldson envisioned a great, progressive, enlightened and dry metropolis rising from the fields of this tiny farming hamlet. He dubbed the budding settlement 'Metropolitan' and the name stuck.

A school had been established as early as 1863. The original school was a simple log building with few extras. A fence and well were added in 1876. Members of the New Connexion Methodist Church also used the building to hold regular Sunday services from 1870 to 1874. In 1873 a new church was built on Lot 20, Concession 14, about halfway between Leadbury and Walton, at a cost of around $2000.

Metropolitan was first settled around 1860. It started out as a small service and supply centre to serve the surrounding farm community. A school, S.S. #4, Blanshard, was built in 1872. William Spence opened the post office in 1875 putting the official seal on Metropolitan. For awhile, it grew rapidly. In the late 1870s, the post office was serving 28 clients. By 1886, Metropolitan's population had grown to 40 and by 1888 its population had nearly doubled.

Metropolitan was located on lot 14, Concession 8, in Blanshard township. Although the village didn't have a church in the community proper, there were two located close by, one on lot 22, and another on lot 10, Concession 7, on the road to Woodham. There were two Orange Lodges in the nearby area, one on lot 20 and a much larger one on lot 14, Concession 10.

The village boomed during the 1890s. Avery and Edwards opened a sawmill and M. McNevens, a grist mill. The village also included a pump maker, James Swallow. However John Donaldson's vision of greatness was not to be fulfilled. The population peaked at somewhere around 150 before sliding back down again.

Metropolitan offered very little in the way of commercial activity and during the 20th century, it followed the usual path of small crossroads farming hamlets to oblivion. As roads improved and cars increased in popularity, farmers were able to travel to larger centres such as Woodham and Kirkton. The post office was closed in 1913, following the arrival of rural mail delivery. Today, apart from a few farm buildings, nothing remains except for the schoolhouse, which has been used as a private residence since the 1960s.