The former schoolhouse, now a community centre©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Purple Grove, located in Bruce County, was a small farming settlement that came to life in the early 1870s. Although farming had been established in the area for a number of years, Purple Grove became an official community with the opening of a post office by John Logan in 1876. Early settlers included John Blackwell, Thomas Hill Sr., Thomas Scott and Richard Stanley, who arrived in the early to mid 1850s. Many of the early settlers came from Ireland.
John Logan, a blacksmith by trade, arrived in the area during the mid 1870s. He began with a blacksmith shop, followed by the post office. The name "Purple Grove" was reportedly chosen in part from the purple degree that Logan attained from the Orange Lodge and in part from the suggestion of his neighbour, Sandy McLaren, who had a large beech grove. In 1879 Logan purchased adjacent lands on Lot 5, Concession 12 from Harry Congram.
A school was located two buildings south of the blacksmith shop. There was a Methodist church located at the north end of the lot near the township line of Kincardine. In 1891 another Methodist church was built on Lot 6, Concession 11. Over time this church became well known both for its excellent Sunday school, superb garden parties and for the efforts of the Epworth League and Ladies Aid. The church was closed in 1925 as a result of church union.
Purple Grove does not appear to have had any businesses or industries. The principal activity in the area has always been farming. Mail was delivered to John Logan's post office three times weekly from Ripley. Produce was shipped out by the farmers depending on availability. The post office lasted until 1915 when it was replaced by rural mail delivery.
Telephones arrived in 1911 with the formation of the Huron-Kinloss Telephone System, later Hurontel (Huron Telecommunications Co-operative Ltd.). Hydro finally arrived in 1948. Other post World War II improvements followed, such as dial telephones in 1959 and busing of children to high school. The school system was eventually centralized in 1963 and all the rural schools in the area were closed. The school in Purple Grove was turned into a community centre which is available for use for a wide variety of community activities.
Farm based activities continued in Purple Grove for many years and are still carried on. Farm based forums were active until 1965. A Women's Institute was organized in 1947 and remains extremely active, holding courses and 4H clubs in the community centre. The remainder of the area is primarily farmland.