1678, Chippawa appears in historical reports. Throughout the years it has been known by a
number of names but was originally known as Chippeway.
The legendary name of the Welland River was “Chemonda”.
1783, the first settler in Chippawa was United Empire Loyalist, Thomas
Cummings. Cummings who was born in Scotland was granted a 200 acre
parcel of land at the mouth of the Chippawa River at the Niagara River
along the south-east bank. Amongst the heavy treed pine grove, Cummings
built his home.
James Cummings was the first white baby born in this new settlement.
1783, John Burch was granted a parcel of land on the opposite side of
the Chippawa Creek. His tract of land extended westward along the banks
of the Niagara River to Cedar Island. Here , Burch built a plantation.
1786, John Burch built a saw mill and a grist mill along the banks of
the Niagara River where the current Toronto Power Station building now
1791, Burch became a member of the land board committee and in 1785, he
became the local Justice of the Peace.
Burch died in 1797. Burch was 55 years old at the time of his death and
he was buried at the Drummond Hill cemetery.
property and mills were sold to Samuel Street Junior. Samuel Street
continued to operate the mills until they were burned to the ground by
retreating American troops during the War of 1812.
1791, the hamlet of Chippawa had a number of other families settle here.
They included the family names such as: McEwen, Dunbar, Harry Ramsay,
Oldfield, Bealey, Heaslip, Stoneheap and John Rowe.
1791, Fort Chippawa was built on property expropriated from John
1792, when Governor Simcoe arrived at Niagara he began renaming places
to reflect the British governance. Chippawa Creek became the Welland
River and Fort Chippawa was renamed Fort Welland.
1794, William Canby and John McGill built a saw and grist mill on the
high bank along the south side of current site of Dufferin Islands. A
little settlement built up around these mills. This settlement became
known as Bridgewater and was located approximately 1 kilometer north of
1795, Chippawa consisted of one inn and a similar number of other
houses. Chippawa Creek which flowed into the Niagara River had little
flow and was stagnant.
1799, near the Canby - McGill Mills at Bridgewater, a burning spring was
discovered. It was said that if a candle were held to it, the spring
would ignite and would continue to flame for a long time.
1799, Robert Randall of Maryland acquired an interest in the Canby
-McGill mills. Randall added a flour mill and gave the name of the whole
property as Bridgewater Mills. Randall later built an iron foundry and
became the first person in the Province to make wrought iron objects.
Randall became one of the largest land owners in Upper Canada. He was
however imprisoned in Montreal during the War of 1812 because of large
debts he owed. As a result Randall lost most of his wealth.
in Chippawa and Niagara Falls flourished.
new hotels were established in Chippawa. In 1796, John Fanning operated
a hotel and in 1801, Macklem's Tavern was opened for business.
Welland River at the entrance to the Niagara River had a treacherous sandbar which limited vessel navigation.
1798, lots on military reserved lands at Queenston and Chippawa were
given to merchants: Hamilton, Clark and Dickson to build warehouses for
Fanning started the first stagecoach service carrying passengers and
mail between Newark (Niagara on the Lake) and Chippawa. He soon
expanded his operations to include service between Chippawa and Fort
Erie. His coach service operated three times per week: every Monday,
Wednesday and Friday.
1798, a second stagecoach service was started by J. Fairbanks and Thomas
Hind. Fairbanks owned a house near Fort Chippawa.
1801, the third stagecoach service was started by James Macklem. It ran
from Macklem's Tavern in Chippawa.
1803, Chippawa became a Port of Customs. James Muirhead was the first
collector of customs.
1802, a post office was opened in Chippawa. All mails were now being
carried by Post Master stage coaches.
1806, Chippawa had three mills.
1809, Chippawa has a settlement of 10-12 houses along with two taverns.
The taverns were owned by John Fanning and Mr. Stevens.
War of 1812 placed everyone and everything in harms way. One of the major battles of the war took place on July 4th 1814 south of the village. Four thousand American troops were encamped along the south side of Street’s Creek (Ussher's Creek). The British had four hundred and ninety men protecting Fort Welland. The land between Street’s Creek and Chippawa had been cleared and cultivated This strip of land extended approximately one half mile from the banks of the Niagara River and was lined along the western border by a large and thick forest.
On July 5th 1814, one of the bloodiest battles
of the war took place on this cleared strip of land between British and
American forces. The British with a strength of 1,500 - 2,000 men
confronted the far superior American army. During the battle the
Americans sustained 328 killed, wounded or missing in action. The
British sustained 415 casualties. The British suffered a major defeat
and were forced to retreat to Fort Welland and in doing so in order to
prevent Americans from pursuing them, they destroyed the King’s bridge
which allowed the only access across the Welland River.
the War of 1812-1814, most of the Niagara Frontier lay in ruins as was
the mills and settlement houses at Bridgewater were burned to the ground
by American troops. The settlement at Bridgewater was never rebuilt. In
Chippawa many buildings were damaged or destroyed. This included the
Post Office and King’s Bridge.
the Burning Springs, Captain Richard Langslow wrote “the burning
springs bubbled up under the ruins of Clark’s Mills. This gas was used
while the mills existed to light the works below.”
1816, Thomas Clark was granted possession of 14.5 acres of the chain
reserve between Bridgewater and Cedar Island.
Street built a new bridge across Chippawa Creek at his own expense. The
Government had repaired the old King’s bridge but it’s location was
so far downstream that it was seldom used.
Street Jr. and Colonel Clark bought the Bridgewater Mills from Robert
Randall before the War of 1812.
1817, Colonel Thomas Clark was given a lifetime membership to the
Legislative Council of the Parliament of Upper Canada.
married Margaret Kerr. Margaret was the granddaughter of Sir William
Johnson and Molly Brant.
his marriage, Clark built a mansion overlooking the islands below
(Dufferin islands) on the high bank called Clark Hill.
1837, Thomas Clark died. Clark Hill was passed into the hands of Thomas
Clark Street, the son of Samuel Street Jr.
Street rebuilt on Clark Hill. Street never married and following the
death of his mother, Street’s sister Caroline (the widow of Dr. T. C.
Macklem) managed the household.
had two sons. One of her sons drowned tragically at the age of 8 years
old. Her son Sutherland Macklem inherited Clark Hill and all the
islands below the high bank had been the private property of Thomas
Street. He named the islands - Cynthia Islands after the name of one of
but one of the islands disappeared when the first hydro development
project began. The tiny islands seen today are man-made.
Harry Oakes bought the Clark Hill mansion and after completing major
renovations renamed the mansion “Oak Hall”.
World War II, Oak Hall was used as a convalescent home by the Royal
Canadian Air Force.
1819, Chippawa had few houses. Lumber sales had become an important
industry and large tracts of land were cleared for agricultural purposes.
1820, the first church was built in Chippawa. It was the Trinity Church.
1824, a decision to
construct the first Welland canal was made. The Welland River at
Chippawa was the eastern terminus of the new canal. The canal was opened
order to prepare the Welland River for the canal, the sandbar at the
mouth of the Welland River and the Niagara River was removed by
dredging. A cut measuring 15 chains long was made in the narrow
peninsula which formed the east bank of the Welland River and the arm of
land on which the end of King’s Bridge and her defenses stood. As a
result, an island was created. As a result of dredging, the waters of
Chippawa Creek began a reverse flow. The water now flowed from the
Niagara River into the Chippawa Creek.
man-made island became known as Hogg Island. It is believed the island
was named after one of the workmen, Thomas Hogg.
course of the canal ran from Twelve Mile Creek
1824, Chippawa had a settlement of 150 citizens.
1827, the stagecoach transportation began operating again.
1841, following the death of her husband James Secord, Laura Ingersoll
bought a small cottage from James Cummings. It was located on the south
bank of Chippawa creek west of the current Cummington Square. Laura
Secord died in 1868 at the age of 93. She was buried at Drummond Hill
cemetery. In 1871, the cottage of Laura Secord located on Water Street
was purchased by Ernest Peters.
In 1831, a group of businessmen including Samuel Street and James Cummings formed a company to build a railroad between Chippawa and Queenston. They applied for a charter. In 1835, a charter was granted and construction on their railroad began. It was to be the first railroad in Canada. By 1845, the railroad was in operation. Cars carrying passengers were being wheeled around by a team of three horses along a wooden roadway. The rails were constructed of wood and strapped with iron. Passenger carriages were drawn by three horses hitched in tandem.
carriages were box like compartments with doors on each side along with
running boards to allow easier access. The seats ran across and each
carriage had room for about 20 passengers. Luggage was carried on the
roof and the driver had an outside seat at roof level. The carriage had
four wheels and was pulled along at 5 miles per hour (mph).
railroad ran from a station at the foot of Queenston Heights just above
the wharf. The line followed a general north-south direction along a
route that is today Stanley Avenue. Approximately ¼ mile north of the
current Ferry Street the railroad turned to a south-easterly direction
and followed the path of the moraine
at Falls View. The railroad then traveled along the high bank
past Clark Hill and into Chippawa where the terminus was located at a
steamboat wharf located on the current intersection of Front Street and
railroad could not operate during the winter. This railroad became known
as the Erie and Ontario Railroad Coach.
brought travelers to Queenston from York (Toronto). At Chippawa,
passengers could take the steamboat “Emerald” to Buffalo on a daily
Saturday September 24th 1853, while the Chippawa - Queenston
horse-cars were crossing the St. Catharines - Suspension Bridge Road, a
loose hitch pin caused the car to run off the road. One lady
sustained a fractured collar.
1854, the original railroad was rebuilt for steam operation. The route
was changed to provide for a gentler grade
at Queenston and to be located closer to the Railway Suspension
Bridge in Niagara Falls. The railroad was extended from Queenston to
Niagara on the Lake.
1860, the railroad was extended again, from Chippawa to Fort Erie. This
railroad was operated by the Erie and Niagara Railroad before becoming
part of the Michigan Central Railroad.
cairn located at the corner of Stanley Avenue and Morrison Street
commemorates this first railroad in Upper Canada and the 3rd
in the Province.
1832, the Niagara Suspension Bridge Bank of New York opened in Chippawa.
1832, the first shipyard was built along the banks of the Chippawa Creek
by Mr. Lovering.
built over the years included: the Emerald (1844), the Eclipse, the City
of London and the Clifton (1854).
and boilers for these and other ships were built at Macklem's Foundry
& Steam Engine Manufacturers Company. Macklem also owned a tannery
and a stove manufacturing Company. Macklem's Foundry
burned to the ground in 1842 but was rebuilt. All were located on
River Street (now Macklem Street).
1852, a distillery was built in Chippawa. It employed thirty-five (35)
people and produced 1,200 gallons of whiskey per day. It was located
along Main Street at the western limits of the hamlet.
December 13th 1837, the MacKenzie Rebellion on Navy Island
(just south of Chippawa) took place.
October 6th 1849, the Village of Chippawa was incorporated.
In 1850, James Cummings became the first reeve of Chippawa. He was the
son of Thomas Cummings.
1850, King’s bridge was gone as was the fortifications of Fort
Chippawa. A new road was built from Bridgewater to Chippawa and became
known as Bridgewater Street.
1850, Main Street Chippawa had John Bartleys Tannery and Mr. T
Davidson a planning mill.
village square was first called “Pelham Square” named after Charles
A. Pelham who was a member of Parliament in 1792. As the Village of
Chippawa grew in size the name of the Village Square was renamed
”Market Square” and then to the current “Cumminton Square” in
honour of the first settler in Chippawa.
Hall was owned by James Cummings and was located at the corner of the
current Main Street and Niagara Parkway.
Secords house was located on the south side of Bridgewater Street
west of Cummington Square.
Village of Chippawa’s first Doctor was Doctor Robert Aberdein.
1853, Chippawa had a Post Office, a Dry Goods store, a Tailor Shop, a
steam cabinet and chair factory and John Thomas’ grist mill.
ship “Clifton” was steam powered and had two funnels abreast. It had
been built by Mr. Macklem. In 1860, the “Clifton” was
decommissioned. The “Clifton” was converted to use as a lumber scow.
1858, nearly a dozen inns and taverns were scattered throughout the
Village of Chippawa. John Flett opened a General Store, Adam Herbold had
a grocery store and bakery. Thomas Davidson had a steam powered planing
mill as well as a sash, blind and door factory.
1853, Robert Slater, an English physician was also a hotel owner. He had
two sons: James and Jonathan. Robert settled in Willoughby Township
along the banks of the Niagara River, approximately 11/2 miles south of
Chippawa. Here he built a home, storehouses and a dock. The estate was
called “Willoughby Grove”. His dock would be named “Slater’s
Dock" and it became a favorite dock for tourists arriving from and/or going
1853, Chippawa had two common schools.
1871, Chippawa had its first milliner, Mrs. Rozina Bothrell. By now the
Village boasted six general stores, two grocery stores, two bakeries,
two butcher shops, one tailor, a number of cabinet makers, an
upholsterer, shoemakers, a tin-smith, wagon makers, gun-smiths and a
watch maker. Other new businesses included cigar maker - Hiram Barney, hatter -K. Emmons, a second distillery and several tanneries.
1861, James Macklem died.
1865, Oliver Macklem died.
1865, a potash asheries factory was opened.
1864, the population of Chippawa had grown to 1,450 people.
1870, two public schools were opened. They were school #8 - Stamford
Township and school #3 - Willoughby Township.
1871, the population of Chippawa had dipped to 972 people.
Chippawa was no longer the terminus of the Welland canal and the
suspension bridge built at Niagara Falls in 1846, took many tourists and
citizens away from the Village. The arrival of the Great Western
Railroad to Niagara Falls in 1853 diverted traffic away.
1874, a Fire Brigade was formed and the first piece of firefighting
equipment was purchased. They had 57 volunteers.
1875, James Cummings died.
1881, the population of Chippawa had dwindled to a mere 642 people.
1881, one of the largest fires in the history of the Village occurred.
As a result 26 houses on the west side of Chippawa Creek were destroyed.
Sparks from a passing wood burning locomotive landed on the roof of a
nearby freight shed starting the fire.
Vanderbilt of the New York Central Railway was looking at buying the
Erie and Ontario Railroad.
1886, Christian Kaumeyer opened up a print shop.
1899, the population of Chippawa had shrunk to only 446 people. Cement
sidewalks were slowly replacing the existing wooden sidewalks.
1903, Ontario Power Development Company began building two power
stations, the Toronto Power Station and the Canadian Niagara Power
Station (Rankine Plant).
1910, the Norton Silicone Carbide plant opened.
1917, construction of the hydro canal to channel water to the
Chippawa-Queenston Power Station began. Dirt from the old cut was dumped
on the opposite side of Hogg Island and formed a barrier across the
mouth of the creek.
lighthouse at the mouth of the creek, had fallen into disrepair and was
no longer needed. The creek was again dredged to allow for a reverse
flow from the Niagara River into the creek to feed the hydro canal
1919, the Fire Brigade purchased a new gasoline powered fire truck. In
1938 a new pumper truck was added. In 1961, all the firefighting
equipment was upgraded and a new fire station was built.
1925, Weightman Lumber Mill and Building Supplies opened for business.
1926, Kaumeyer Paper Product factory was opened for business.
Date last updated:
February 20, 2012