A Mill Should Be Build Thereon: An Early History of the Todmorden Mills

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Dundurn, 1995 - Technology & Engineering - 116 pages
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It is difficult for Todmorden Mills Museum visitors to imagine that this site so close to the busy Don Valley Parkway was once home to an important mill. As early as 1793 Governor Simcoe recognized the industrial potential of this portion of the Don River. By 1795 Skinner's sawmill was under construction, initiating an era of technological development that spread beyond the valley of the Don into what was then Muddy York. Today, Todmorden serves to remind us of Toronto's industrial heritage and the spirit of the time.

This invaluable local history confirms the significance of early mills and later factories along the Don River and recognizes the roles played by Timothy Skinner, Parshall Terry, George Playter, William Helliwell and other settlers and entrepreneurs of Governor John Graves Simcoe's time and beyond.

Eleanor Darke, assisted by Ian Wheal, presents us with an informative account of the people, their lives and their creative influence.

 

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Contents

Preface
6
Introduction
7
Researchers Notes
8
Chapter 1 The Don Valley
11
Chapter 2 The Valleys First Inhabitant
16
Chapter 3 The Don Mills
22
Chapter 4 Parshall Terry
38
Chapter 5 A Skinner Returns
47
Endnotes
94
Index
100
Summary of Ownership of the Don Mills
106
Summary of Ownership of the Paper Mill Portion of Todmorden Mills
108
Summary of Ownership of the Brewery Portion of Todmorden Mills
109
Skinner
110
Helliwell
111
Terry
112

Chapter 6 The Don Valley
52
Chapter 7 A Vigorous and Substantial Family
65
Epilogue
87
Bibliography
113
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About the author (1995)

It was during her tenure as Curator-Manager of the Todmorden Mills Historic Site (1973-1984) that the author first met True Davidson.

Born in Scarborough, Ontario, and a Don Mills resident since the age of three, Eleanor Darke has been fascinated by history from childhood, especially by the first-person stories and documents of those personally involved. In her pursuit of these interests the author obtained a B.A. (Honours) in Canadian history and English, Glendon College, York University. She also holds a certificate in Museum Studies, Ontario Museum Association.

Since 1995, Eleanor Darke has served as the Programme Officer, Toronto Historical Board (now called Heritage Toronto), prior to which she was Site Manager at Mackenzie House, Toronto. She is the author of "A Mill Should Be Build Thereon": An Early History of the Todmorden Mills, published in 1995 by Natural Heritage.

The author is married to R. Fred Darke, photographer and video producer.

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