Welcome to The Old Stone Gallery,
Greensville, Ontario, Canada
The Old Stone Gallery, as it is now called, used to be the dye house for Clark's Woollen Mill and was built around 1850.
The main mill building was erected across Spencer Creek, which runs close to the Gallery, and which was a source of power for a whole host of industrial enterprises located in the Crook's Hollow area.
The Old Stone Gallery is located at the junction of Short Road and Fallsview Road in Greensville, which is on the escarpment above Dundas. The area is called Bullock's corner and was named after a Scottish immigrant, who also built the impressive house across the road from the Gallery on the corner of Fallsview Road.
Over the years there have been different owners. Since 1986 the property has been owned by John Henley, an immigrant from the U.K. I guess we Brits like to preserve old buildings!
For 13 years, prior to that, the property was owned by the Kilner family - they of Kilner jar fame, and before them, by Ashman Industries.
The Kilner's used the Gallery as a craft store where they sold everything from prints to Batik, Inuit carvings, limited edition prints, lampshades laminated with dried flowers, pottery and a multitude of other arts and crafts.
The Gallery was quite successful, but around 1984 a truck loaded with gravel tried to drive across the old bridge that spanned Spencer Creek at Bullock's corner. The weight was excessive, the bridge collapsed and the truck ended up in the creek. Despite assurances from the local government that the road bearing bridge would be replaced, they never stuck to their word, and a pedestrian bridge was built instead.
The truck that collapsed the bridge, fell into Spencer Creek and had to be hauled out via the car park belonging to the Gallery.
The easy route to the Gallery was summarily closed off and visitors now had to drive further to reach their destination. Trade fell off and the Kilner's decided to sell. The place was not in a great state of repair. The top floor of the stone building was an unfinished attic area - "Squirrel Haven" might be a better name!
Immediately to the rear of the Gallery is a block building, probably built in the 1950's. This has two floors. The upper floor was lined with buckets to catch the drips as the roof leaked like a sieve. One of the first jobs was to get the roof redone as no interior work could be contemplated at that point.
The stone building was pretty much open plan, no washrooms, a space heater and little insulation. This may have added 'character' to the place but stone walls suck out the heat like a sponge! In the late 1980's the stone building was cleaned out and renovated from top to bottom, but every effort was made to leave the heavy timbers exposed as they certainly added character to the building. The wide pine plank floors were cleaned up and sanded, providing a nice honey patina.
Until January 11th 2006, the buildings were occupied, at various times, by a variety of skilled artisans including the following trades: Picture framer, Antique dealer, Makers of unique suede, leather and yarn garments, cabinet makers, photo gallery, various artists, Hamilton Artists Inc., country furniture maker, various woodworkers etc. Some of the tenants were there for more than 10 years, which speaks to the creative environment in which the Old Stone Gallery is located.
And then came the night of January 11th 2006. The fire. For more information and photos go to this page
This building is a survivor and is the only mill building in the Crooks Hollow Industrial area along Spencer Creek that remains today. Other areas of this web site provide information and history about the various mill buildings that were situated along Spencer Creek which provided a source of power for the mills.
If you check the page on this web site that covers the industrial history of this area, you will find that there were at least 9 different mills located by the creek, stretching between Christie's conservation area (from where the water flowed) down to Webster's Falls, which is about a five minute walk from the Gallery.
Before you leave this page, you should know that just a 5 minute walk from The Old Stone Gallery you will find one of the greatest natural features in the area - Websters Falls Park, Websters Falls and Spencer Gorge. This picture shows the falls in suspended animation - frozen in time in the depths of winter.
A feature of Websters Falls Park is the old Cobblestone Bridge. Over time the bridge began to deteriorate and was closed off to the public for a number of years for safety reasons. The local Lions Club, together with money from other donors, had the bridge restored and it is once again open to the public. A great location for wedding photographs!
More photographs of local beauty spots will be added in due course.