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The History of 

OLDE TOWN STONEY CREEK

The Village of Stoney Creek: Est 1786

Establishing the 1st Women's Institute

War of 1812: The Battle of Stoney Creek

The Battlefield Monument

The Famous Stoney Creek Dairy

Canada's 1st Drive-In Movie Theatre

Amalgamation of The City of Hamilton

See a History of The Stoney Creek United Church

 

ABOVE TOP: Early Map of the Village of Stoney Creek (Source- Stoney Creek Historical Society) 

ABOVE LOWER: Painting of the Gage House by Sara Calder (Source- www.battlefieldhouse.ca) 

The Village of Stoney Creek

ESTABLISHED IN 1786

Early European settlers began moving into the area of Stoney Creek around 1786. Adam Green moved to the area in 1792 and built a mill on the creek, after his brother had already established a mill on the nearby Fourty. During the same year, the Stoney Creek chapel was built and the village of Stoney Creek became a gathering place for people from miles around.

"Before 1815, the earliest church was on Ancaster road, as Hamilton was not yet a village. People came from Ancaster, The Forty, The Fifty, the head of the lake and far south on the mountain to the woodland chapel at Stoney Creek."

- Milton Watson, SC Historical Society, February 11, 1977

 

TOP LEFT: Erland Lee (Source- Erland Lee Museum)  

TOP RIGHT: Janet E. Lee (Source-Erland Lee Museum) 

LOWER LEFT: Adelaide Hoodless with her children (Source-Canadian Museum of History) 

LOWER RIGHT: Adelaide Hoodless  (Source-wikipedia) 

Establishing the First

WOMENS INSTITUTE

The very first Women's Institute was founded in Stoney Creek over 120 years ago. In February of 1897, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless joined with local Stoney Creek farmers, Erland Lee and his wife Janet, creating this historic organization.

Their goal was to help educate women in rural communities, offering training in home economics, childcare and other farming duties performed by women at the time. Women's Institutes quickly spread, and there were 130 branches launched by 1905 in Ontario alone. 

This organization also spread globally, launching in England in 1915. There are now hundreds of thousands of women who belong to Women's Institutes all over the world. 

The home was  sold to the Federated Women's Institute of Ontario (FWIO)in 1972 and converted to the Erland Lee Museum which serves as an outstanding example of rural family life during the Victorian era. The house also serves as the headquarters for the FWIO. 

 

ABOVE: The Battle at Stoney Creek, C. W. Jefferys, 1813. Pen & Ink. (Source- www.cwjefferys.ca  ) 

War of 1812

THE BATTLE OF STONEY CREEK

The famous Battle of Stoney Creek took place on June 6, 1813. The site of the battle has been designated a national historic site, as this battle marked the deepest inroad of the invasion of Upper Canada by the American troops. It is believed that British victory at Stoney Creek was a major turning point in the war. 

The story of the battle is that a local resident, Billy "The Scout" Green, who was just 19 years old at the time, was visiting his brother's farm located on Ridge Road. He spotted the American troops, camped out around the wooden Stoney Creek chapel and Gage farm and quickly rode to notify the British troops, giving them advanced warning to attack the Americans. 

Billy then led the British troops through the wilderness to where the American troops had set up camp and The Battle of Stoney Creek commensed just before daybreak. The British were victorious and the American troops retreated back south. 

Visit Battlefield Park to learn more about this historic battle or come watch the battle reenactment that takes place every year on the first weekend in June.  

 

 ABOVE: Billy "The Scout" Green,  (Source- Stoney Creek Historical Society) 

 

ABOVE: The Monument and Gage House at Battlefield Park, 1913. (Source-  ) ) 

ABOVE: The Monument on Smiths Knoll, 1910  (Source- Erland Lee Museum-virtualmuseum.ca)

ABOVE: A drone overlooking Battlefield Park, Sept 8, 2016  (Source-youtube, Mike Karschti

BELOW: A view of Battlefield Park and Monument,  (Source- Stoney Creek Historical Society) 

The Monument to 

THE BATTLE OF STONEY CREEK

The Wentworth Historical Society, formed in 1888, was the driving force behind erecting a monument to honour the soldiers that fought in the Battle of Stoney Creek.

 

However, tension quickly arose between the male and female members of the group when they could not agree on the site. The male members wanted to use the knoll located on the north side of King Street. This is where the American troops had placed their cannons and where the heaviest action took place. The women felt however, that the Gage House located across the street would offer a larger space for both a park and museum.

Sara Calder, the Great Granddaughter of Mary Jones Gage, served as President of the Ladies Committee on the Historical Society. Between 1894-1899 this group of women began to fundraise in hopes of purchasing and restoring the Gage farmhouse and opening a museum and eventually, under the leadership of Calder, the women formed their own historical group, The Women's Wentworth Historical Society. On October 3, 1899, the Battlefield Park was officially opened. 

The groups finally agreed on the construction of 2 monuments, one on Smith's Knoll as well as the monument at Battlefield Park. The stone cairn and lion statue were installed on Smith's Knoll and unveiled on August 1st, 1910. The completed Battlefield monument was unveiled during the Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Stoney Creek on June 6, 1813 via transatlantic cable by Queen Mary in London.  Approximately 15,000 people attended the Centennial celebration at Battlefield Park. 

 

ABOVE: Stoney Creek Dairy Delivery Drivers and Trucks in front of the Dairy on King Street, 1930's. 

 ABOVE: The Stoney Creek Dairy- 1960 Brochure Cover  (Source-Vintage Hamilton Facebook)  

The Famous

STONEY CREEK DAIRY

The Stoney Creek Dairy was founded by George Dawson in 1929, collecting and bottling milk out of the family home on King Street. The Dairy Bar was opened on the same location in 1942 and continued to grow in popularity over the years, with a more modern facility being constructed in 1964. 

The dairy produced their own ice cream and other dairy products from local milk and milk they farmed themselves. These products were sold on site, as well as through various other retail locations throughout the Hamilton area. 

The Dawson family sold the Dairy in the late 90's. In the early 2000's the dairy received a massive renovation that was in the end too costly and the dairy was passed between owners for several years until sadly, they closed their doors in 2012 and a defining era of our community came to an end. 

The property was sold and the building was demolished in 2016, to make way for the new Amica Retirement Community Development. Amica has announced plans to include a small ice cream parlour facing King Street, which will be open to the public on weekends and filled with memorbilia of the original Stoney Creek Dairy. 

However, if you are currently craving ice cream in the Olde Town area, Sprinkles on Top at 39 King Street East serves up some delicious scoops. 

ABOVE: The Stoney Creek Dairy Ice Cream Bar  (Source- forum.skyscraperpage.com) 

 

Canada's 1st Drive-In

OPENS IN 1946

The Skyway Theatre opened for business on July 10th, 1946, as the very first Drive-In Theatre in Canada. Drive-In Theatres began opening across America in the 1930's, but didn't come into Canada until after the Second World War. 

The Skyway, on Highway 8 at Gray Road, featured a 100 by 50 foot screen, could hold over 700 vehicles and had loudspeakers for sound, but later had individual speakers for each vehicle.  The theatre remained open until 1975 and was later replace by the Fiesta Mall. 

However, if you would currently like to check out a Drive-In in Stoney Creek, visit the Starlite Drive-In at 59 Green Mountain Rd. East. 

ABOVE TOP: Cars parked inside the Skyway Drive-In on Highway 8 (Source- forum.skyscraperpage.com) 

ABOVE LOWER: The Skyway Drive-In Theatre (Source- Erland Lee Museum-virtualmuseum.ca) 

Amalgamation with 

THE CITY OF HAMILTON

More information coming soon.