HomeTown – 03 – Martin’s Mills

HomeTown - 03 - Martin's Mills
Located on Martin Street, the Martin House was the Martin family’s second home, built by Jasper’s son Edward who maintained the mills after his father’s death.
Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-64 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 8:00 @ 20C

While Milton itself doesn’t have any real involvement in the significant events in Canadian history, our existence is thanks to the War of 1812. Following the war’s conclusion in 1815, the Colonial Office in England began to encourage increased colonial expansion into Upper Canada. After the widespread purchase of large tracts of land from the Mississauga’s of the Credit, a section designated at Lot 14, Concession 2 of the Trafalgar Township went to Jasper Martin. After emigrating to Upper Canada along with his wife Sarah and two sons, Joseph and Edward, Jasper would settle on his plot in 1821. Within a year Jasper had a small house, barn, and a grist mill operating using the Sixteen Mile Creek as a power source, he would also build a sawmill in 1825. Two other families joined the Martins in the area, the Fosters and Teetzels. The small settlement would depend significantly on local agriculture wheat was ground into flour and trees into lumber. They would be sent down to the bustling port of Oakville. The first name for the settlement became known as Martin’s Mills. The area grew as the settlement expanded with the Harrisons, Whitefields, Greens, and Huffmans. Jasper died in 1833, and his son Edward would continue to operate his father’s mills. By 1830 the settlement gained both a doctor and a school as the population grew. The arrival of George Brown (not that George Brown) saw the establishment of a small general store on the main road and the village’s first post office. When the establishment of the post office came the need for a name, it would be the choice of Brown and Doctor Coban to settle on the name Milton. Both men believing that John Milton was the favourite of the village’s founder, Jasper Martin. With the sale of the Teetzel plot in 1840 allowed for the expansion of the village’s main street as new businesses and churches sprung up. This lead to the 1843 recognition of Milton’s Main Street as an official road in the Gore District. When the combined counties of Wentworth and Halton were split, Milton would be the choice for the seat of Halton county in 1853, much to the annoyance of the far larger community of Oakville. The Foster family donated a plot of land for the county offices and jail. After a fire destroyed the original Martin home and mill in 1856, Edward constructed a brand new mill and house (pictured above) in 1856. A year later Milton saw incorporation as a town, and George Brown was elected as the first mayor. Jasper’s son Joseph would be charged with building the new town hall. While the railroad flourished throughout Canada, it wasn’t until 1876 that the first railroad arrived through town, Hamilton & North-Western, with the Credit Valley Railway arriving a year later. Milton’s population reached 1,000 with the town boasting a brick and lime works, grist and lumber mills. A tannery, blacksmith, foundry, knitting mill, hotels, a waterworks, telephone exchange, telegraph office, school, library, churches, a weekly newspaper, and electricity all by the turn of the century. Further manufacturing arrived in 1908 with the establishment of the P.L. Robertson Factory. Much of the recent expansion of Milton did not occur until after the second world war with the establishment of several new developments being built through the 1950s and into the 1980s. In 1963 Edward’s mill burned down replaced by a modern feed mill known as the Super Sweet Mill, which saw demolition in 1991. The arrival of the big pipe in 2002 saw the next and continuing expansion of Milton. What we know of today as the Martin House is the one built during the 1850s by Jasper’s son Edward a handsome Georgian house on Martin Street. And the only surviving building in Milton that links the modern town to our historic routes. It’s a hard house to photograph, being in the shade year-round and getting no real direct sunlight. There’s also no clear, direct sightlines on the house to compose it in my usual manner for hitting it head-on, I’d have a light standard and a crosswalk (which also interferes here) although this is my best shot of the house to date. I ended up using the Kodak Ektar lens as I could get some rise to catch the whole house from across the street and with little traffic on Sunday morning I didn’t have to worry too much about traffic. I also ended up talking to a man walking his dog about this project and film photography in general.

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