Glencoe & District
Preservation of Local
Grand Trunk Railroad
Station, Glencoe 1904. Glencoe & District Historical Society Archives.
Methodist (Trinity United) Church (left), St. John's Anglican Church (forground), Methodist "West" Church (right, behind St. John's), Glencoe 1929. Photo collection of Harold Carruthers.
The history of Glencoe and the surrounding area is filled with rich stories
that reveal the hearts and indomitable spirit of the early European settlers
and aboriginal peoples. Events of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries
laid the foundation for the current communities and culture of Southwest
Middlesex that we enjoy today.
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Glencoe Train Station
With the construction of the Great Western Railway between Toronto and Windsor in 1853, the village of Glencoe became a regular train stop for immigrants settling in the region.
Records indicate that the first train station was a log structure on the east side of Main Street where the Foodland grocery store is currently located. The rail line between Windsor and Niagara Falls officially opened on January 17, 1854. The first official train order for the village of Glencoe was requested by station master Alexander Mackie January 24, 1854.
In 1856 the train station was replaced by a framed building on the west side of Main Street. Around 1873 a newer station was built to meet the needs of the local community and railway growth. The older station was used as a tool shed. In 1900 the Wabash Grand Trunk Railway built a new train station, however it lasted only a year when it was consumed by fire. In 1902 another larger station was built however it burned down in 1904.
Glencoe's sixth train station was built in 1904, and it remained in service for 89 years. The station was a model in every respect, designed to provide every required convenience to the travelling public and the station master. The train station was constructed with Georgian hardwood pine floors, ornate metallic ceilings and walls, comfortable seating, and electric lights. The station offered waiting rooms at each end of the building and separated ticket wickets for men and women. The station agent was located in the centre portion of the building with the baggage room being located on the west end. The exterior of the train station was decorated with corbos to support the large overhanging roof line and an impressive turret was constructed on the east side of the station over the ladies waiting room. The train station was surrounded by a board walk that extended to McRae Street.
The train station continued to operate until the last train order issued on October 31, 1993. The station was then closed and boarded up. The station was already in a deteriorated state and in the following years its condition continued to worsen. Many
community members put forth an effort to have the building restored.
The village of Glencoe acquired the building from CN Railway, and with the efforts and dedication of local service organizations and members of the community a beautifully restored station is now open to the public.
Closed Train Station, Transcript & Free Press, Dec 1998.
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Restored Train Station, Corner of Main St. and McRae, Glencoe Ontario.
(The restored station was moved closer to McRae St., and rotated to face Main St.)
Glencoe Post Office
The history of mail handling and delivery in the village of Glencoe goes back many years. Several locations in the village were designated post offices between 1869 and 1909 including the following:
- McAlpine Building (1869-1874)
- Leitch Building (1875-1886)
- Swaizland Block (1886-1895)
- Clanahan Block (1895-1899)
- Stuart Block (1899-1909)
In 1909 a magnificent post office was built at the corner of Main and Symes street in the village (at the location of
the current post office). The post office was used as a postal station, customs house and armoury. The post office was constructed of red pressed brick, white stone trim and galvanized roof. A clock and bell tower was installed a few years later. The building interior offered ash trim with oak facing, lavatories, electric lights and hot water heating. The estimated cost of the post office was twenty-two thousand dollars.
The post office was demolished in 1965 to allow for the construction of a new building.
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Post Office 1944, Main St., Glencoe Ontario
For over fifty years the McAlpine House was a landmark hotel in Glencoe
Ontario, located on the corner of Main Street and McRae. In 1923 it was one of
the oldest buildings in Glencoe. Currently a gas station and the old Fox
Theatre are located at the site of this hotel.
Erected by Donald McKellar (who later also built the McKellar Hotel) on Main
Street Glencoe in 1870, the main portion of the building was brought from
Wardsville. It was first operated by Hugh McKinnon, during which it was called
the Augusta House. George Clark acquired the building and changed its name to
the Commercial Hotel. On the death of George Clark, the hotel passed to George
Dobie, who sold it to P.J. McAlpine in 1882. It was hereafter named the
In the reminiscences of Mrs Rose Stuart (1874-1964), she remembers the McAlpine
“It was first owned by Mr. McKinnon and then sold to Mr. McAlpine and
was always known by Glencoe people as the McAlpine House. This was also a place
where you could get a good meal. At one time there was a roller skating rink
directly behind it, but later it was incorporated into the hotel and made into
the dining room. The McAlpine House also had a stable where horses could be had
for rent or where you could leave your horse and have it cared for while you
were attending to your affairs.”
Mrs. Stuart explains the significance of the hotels in the 1880's:
“Hotels were an important part of the life of a town in a day when
travel was a much more difficult and uncomfortable enterprise than it is today.
They offered the companionship of their cheerful, bright bars and the delights
of home cooking in the dining room.”
Mr. McAlpine operated the hotel for several years until his death. His wife
then operated it, and then passed the operation to her son M.J. McAlpine.
Following the Ontario Temperance Act, the hotel was sold and changed hands
several times, the final owner being Henry Lawrence of Mitchell Ontario.
In the early morning of Saturday February 23, 1923 the hotel and the adjacent
building were completely destroyed by fire. It was believed that the fire began
outside the kitchen section of the hotel at the west corner. The hotel had
several tenants on the ground floor, however the rooms above were vacant. There
were no reports of occupants being caught within the blaze. The fire hall was
called and responded saving the surrounding buildings, however it was
impossible for them to save the hotel or the adjacent shops.
McAlpine House, Glencoe Ontario
McAlpine House; First
building on the left, Glencoe Main St., 1906
McAlpine House; First
building on the left, Glencoe Main St., 1922
1) "Glencoe In The 1880's By Mrs. Rose Stuart", Reprinted in 1986 by the
Glencoe & District Historical Society
2) Glencoe Transcript article from Feb 8, 1923.
3) Glencoe & District Historical Society archives and photos.
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The origins of place names often become lost or forgotten over time. The
origins of place names often tells us much about the history and people of an
area. The towns and villages in present day Southwest Middlesex were named in
the 1800's and provides us some insights to the history of the area.
Earlier known as C Township
Named for Northumbrian King Ekfrid (Egfrid).
Earlier known as D Township & Aragon Township. Named by Sir Peregrine
Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from the Spanish name of the
river Meuse in Belgium.
Originally part of Adelaide & Ekfrid Townships, Metcalfe Township was
created in 1840. Believed to be named for Sir Charles Metcalfe,
Governor-General in 1845.
Named by Mr. McKellar, who surveyed the land and subdivided the lots and named
the streets. The name Appin was given in remembrance of his home in
Singleton Gardiner was born in the village Canton in Armagh, Ireland. In 1825
he purchased 100 acres and established an inn, gristmill, and sawmill in Mosa
Township south of Longwoods Road on the Thames River. A community formed around
his enterprises. In 1856 the village was surveyed and named Canton.
In 1857 a post office opened and was named Cashmere, apparently because there
was another Canton post office in Ontario. It remains unknown why the name
Cashmere was chosen, but the village became known by the new name.
In 1876 the village experienced a devastating flood and the lands reverted to
In 1853 the village was named Dundonald by two land owners, John Duncanson and
Angus Peter McDonald.
In 1856 the name was changed to Glencoe, named after the village in the
highlands of Scotland.
This area was first settled by Scottish Highlanders. Alexander McIntyre was an
early settler and in 1835 land was aquired from him for the church and
cemetary. The village that formed was named after his former home in
Argyllshire Scotland (today Strathclyde).
Located North of the village of Appin on County Road 8, the community of
Macksville was named after two residing families: McAlpine and McIntyre.
A small community formed on Longwoods Road. In 1833 a log church was made, and
in 1834 a local neighbourhood school. In 1872 the Mayfair Post Office was
opened, likely named after an area in London England.
In 1837 the first post office was opened in Ekfrid Township, and it was named
Ekfried (different spelling than the township). In 1845 the settled area near
the post office was called Ekfrid Village. In 1857 the Post Master General
changed the name of the post office to Longwood.
In 1858 the village was named Melbourn. There is no record why this name was
chosen, but it is assumed it is named after William Lamb, Second Viscount
Melbourne (Prime Minister of Great Britain 1834-1841).
In 1881 the Post Master General changed the name of the post office to
In 1887 both the post office and the village were named Melbourne (note the
change in spelling).
With prospects of a railway line passing through the property, George
Middlemiss purchased a parcel of land on the Ekfrid peninsula in 1870. In 1872
the new railway ran adjacent to George Middlemiss's grist and saw mills. The
settlement was registered as a village in 1876.
In 1851 the Grand Trunk Railway was built and Wards Station began as a
In 1854 a post office was established and the village was renamed Newbury,
after a village in Berkshire England.
In 1829 Patten Atwood arrived in the area and in 1834 built two mills. The
Coulthard family took over the business in 1839 and expanded it with additional
mills. In 1852 the Strathburn Post Office opened, possibly named after the
first postmaster J.B. Strathy (burn means "creek" in Gaelic), or possibly from
a place of the same name in Caithness, Scotland.
Tait's Corners (Alliance)
In 1849 George Tait arrived from Scotland and settled on the west side of
sideroad 20. On the southwest side of the corner another Tait family settled,
William and Mary.
In 1877 a post office was opened at this corner, called Alliance Post Office.
It remains unknown why this name was chosen. Today it is generally known as
At the request of the government George Ward founded a rest point on Longwoods
road in 1810. George Ward established a tavern and homestead.