History of Millbrook, Ontario

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Where The Past Lives On...

Millbrook's many streams made this location an ideal mill site. In 1816, John Deyell came from Ireland to build the first mill on the same site where Needler's Mill stands today. The village prospered and quickly grew to a recorded 1700 inhabitants. In the 1880's, Millbrook's population dropped to half when the Canadian west opened to new settlement. New rail lines began by-passing the village, and then the highways: Millbrook was left behind.

Fate has preserved much of the village as it was 100 years ago. Those who cherish heritage will find in Millbrook a legacy to Ontario and small town life. 

There are more than 45 designated historic buildings in Millbrook -- more per capita than any other Ontario town. Needler's Mill by the pond is the third mill to rest on this site, having been moved here in 1909 from Cedar Valley and restored by a citizens' group in 1982. On the hill above the village sits the majestic Old School, built in 1889 on what is said to have been a native campsite. The old fire hall on Hay Street was built in 1881 and has a rare Tuscan-style tower for drying hoses. It now serves as a museum housing fire fighting equipment, and is open to the public on special occasions. 

These are just a few of the heritage buildings worthy of discovery. The entire downtown has changed very little since it was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1875. 

A full list of Millbrook's sites and descriptions is included in "A Walking Tour of Historic Millbrook", a free pamphlet available in the village. Take a stroll around Millbrook and you will quickly discover its beauty and serenity for yourself.  You can also purchase a beautifully designed History, Significant Architecture of Millbrook book from the Millbrook & Cavan Historical Society.  Winner of F.H. Dobbin Award in 2008.