I’ve always had a fascination with history and thankfully, my real estate career often leads me to discovering interesting things about South Georgian Bays past.
Not long ago, I listed a house for sale in Thornbury that quite fascinated me. It has been in the same family since the 1930’s and according to stories handed down over the generations, may be one of the oldest structures in the blue Mountains.
That got me to wondering how old is old? I trodded off to the library between appointments one day and found a few books discussing the history of the area. In general, the land we know as Grey County was first occupied by the Native peoples of the Huron, Petun, and other nations. As the years go by, we are learning more and more about these times as artifacts and ruins are uncovered and preserved. But I digress.
As we know, these lands were eventually acquired by the British and it turns out that the first two townships surveyed in the area were Collingwood and St. Vincent. This led to colonization, mail roads, and natural harbours that gave access for early settlers. Early trade and commerce grew from the area’s natural resources such as fish, fur, forests and minerals. Rivers powered sawmills and gristmills as would have been the case in Thornbruy; then known as Collingwood Township. Furniture factories used local hardwoods and weavers made cloth from the wool of local sheep. Fruit-growing began early, and by 1930,more than 16,000 acres of “Georgian Bay Apples” were planted.
Some of the earliest references I could find to possible settlers dated back to 1832 or 1833. There were photographs of workers in lumber and grist mills in Thornbury by the mid 1850’s.
Based on the unique construction of the original portion of the home, the siting of the dwelling on a ridge looking out to Georgian Bay and, based on the stories handed down through the generations, it is quite possible that part of this home in fact dates back over 170 years! Some time later, the brick structure was added in a Georgian centre hall style suggesting affluence and success of the family of the day. We can trace back the family name of the owners in the early 20th century as being Dinsmore; a still prominent name in the local community.
Have a look at Hilltop today. It’s for sale and waiting for the next chapter to be written:
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