From Saltfleet To Stoney Creek
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Stoney Creek, Ontario

Fruitland - The Centre of It All

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Fruitland - The Centre of It All

Fruitland is the geographical centre of the old Saltfleet Township, but its very name evokes the industry that drove Saltfleet's economic progress from its founding in the 1780s to the latter half of the 20th century.

Even today, with urban sprawl decimating the few remaining fruit farms of Stoney Creek, a whisp of the past is sustained in the name of the bedroom community called "Fruitland".

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Map of Fruitland
1997
Fruitland
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Although a few isolated families entered the Stoney Creek area prior to the 1790s, Fruitland's history proper began with the 1791 survey of the area by Augustus Jones.

Today, his name lives on with Jones Road, named for one of the family land grants in Fruitland.

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Augustus Jones land survey
1791

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Wesley United Church is situated at the crossroads that defines Fruitland (Fruitland Rd. and Highway 8).

The church is made of local red brick. There was a 19th century commercial brick kiln to the east of the church.

At one time the church had its own tennis court (now the rear parking lot).

The main entrance has now been greatly modified.

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Wesley United Church (Fruitland)
1970
Highway #8
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Also at this important corner were the train stop for the Hamilton, Grimsby, and Beamsville Electric Railway, a general store, and Fruitland's 2nd post office.

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Fruitland general store and Wesley Methodist church
1900
Fruitland, Highway #8
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Fruitland store
1900
Fruitland, Highway #8
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Beside the old post office/general store stood the old 19th century Fruitland Brick Kiln.

Another building was erected in the mid 20th century on the site. This building was known as Saltfleet Wood Products in the 1970s, before becoming the modern Fruitland post office, a hair salon, and craft store.

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Saltfleet Wood Products
1970
Highway #8, Fruitland
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Fruitland's first post office was the brainchild of local resident, Robert H. Dewar. In 1894 Dewar applied for a postal outlet between the hamlet of Winona and the village of Stoney Creek.

He was granted the license and operated Fruitland's first postal station in a newly expanded east wing of his home.

The cubby hole shelving for the letters on the east wall remained even after the postal station moved from the location. William J. Hewitson, who bought the house in the 1930s recalls seeing the letter sorting shelving on the wall in his youth.

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Robert H. Dewar
1924

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Application for a Fruitland Post Office
30 July 1894
Fruitland
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The Dewar House was purchased c.1930 by William J. Hewitson and his wife Margaret Walker Hewitson (next picture).

The Dewar House still stands in 2003, although it has passed from the Hewitson family (2nd picture following).

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Margaret (Walker) Hewitson
1930

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R.H. Dewar house.
2002
Highway #8
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Just down the street from the Fruitland Rd. and Highway 8 crossroads was one of the local inns, operated in late 19th century by landowner Philander Barnes.

This large structure eventually changed hands and was demolished in the 1960s, although the Dewitt Rd. and Highway 8 crossroads remains an alternate commercial central place for Fruitland.

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Philander Barnes house.
1910
Highway #8
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Between the two intersections lie two churches.

Together with five more in the vicinity, this makes the stretch of Highway 8 between Millen Road and Fruitland Road the section of Saltfleet township with the highest density of religious structures.

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Ebenezer Church
1965
Highway #8
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Church of Our Saviour
1974
Highway #8
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One of the earliest families in the area was the Glover family.

GIover Road is traditionally seen as the eastern-most extension of Fruitland, although some resident classify themselves as being in Winona.

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Alexander Glover House
1900
Highway #8
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Glover House
1975
Highway #8
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To the west, Millen Road is traditionally seen as the western-most extension of Fruitland.

Some residents argue that the boundary is actually the junction of King Street and Highway 8 at the War Memorial Cenotaph.

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Greenwood House
1965
Highway #8
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Pine Villa Nursing Home
1967
Highway #8
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Another prominent local family was the Dewitt family, for which the road was named.

Interestingly, the road which rises up the plateau and joins Ridge Road at the top was originally named Lee Mountain Road for the family at the TOP of the cliff.

Some time after 1960, the name attached to the road from the lake (Dewitt) was applied to the plateau extension and the name "Lee" disappeared.

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Dewitt Road and the Lounsbury farm, seen from top of escarpment
1930
Fruitland, Dewitt Road
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Charles Dewitt house
1975
Highway #8
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Fruitland's most famous son in the 19th and early 20th centuries was Franklin M. Carpenter.

The Carpenter name was well known in Saltfleet, with at least 3 main branches of the family.

F.M. Carpenter was Fruitland's most prominent politician and one of its wealthiest fruit farmers.

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Franklin M. Carpenter
1890

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F.M Carpenter Home.
1900
Barton Street
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4th Fruitland Public School (SS 2)
1973
Barton Street
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One of R.H. Dewar's neighbours in the late 1800s was W.M. Orr, whose grand brick house is one of the few surviving buildings in Fruitland.

Although Orr was a relative newcomer to Saltfleet, he was married into to one of the old families of Fruitland, the Biggars, whose house once stood on the NE corner of Highway 8 and Dewitt Road.

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William Matthew Orr (W.M).
1880
Fruitland, Highway #8
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W.M Orr House
4 July 2003
Highway #8
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J.W. Orr. farm
1890
Highway #8
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W.M. Orr's son, J.E. Orr, has been well documented by the family.

Following are a series of pictures of J.E. Orr and his family farm.

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Joseph Edwin Orr.
1890

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J.E. Orr
1900

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Gertrude (Land) Orr with her son John William Orr.
1908

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W.M. Orr house.
1970
Highway #8
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Joseph Edwin Orr.
1924
Highway #8
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W.M. Orr farm.
1957
Highway #8, Fruitland
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Also living nearby by the middle of the 20th century were members of the Thomas family, one of whom, Leslie Thomas, became Reeve of Saltfleet Township.

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Thomas family
1925
Tapleytown
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Anne and Athol Thomas.
1942
Hamilton
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More recently Fruitland Road has become the primary off ramp for highway access to the light industry Stoney Creek is increasingly famous for.

Following is a 1970s ad for Fruitland's new industrial park.

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Industrial Park
1975
Barton Street
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This concludes "Fruitland - The Centre of It All".

Fruitland was shaped by its past, but its future lies increasingly in other industry, and in suburban development.

New ideas and technologies, new names, and a new way of life have changed this crossroads community almost beyond recognition, but a small place stills remains for the past at the geographic and cultural heart of the Stoney Creek region.
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