Discover North Augusta, Ontario: A Historical and Cultural Gem
Nestled in the township of Augusta, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Eastern Ontario, Canada, lies the quaint settlement of North Augusta. This unincorporated place and police village, which had a population of approximately 550 at its height in the late 1800s, is steeped in history and charm. Originally known as Bellamy's Mills, North Augusta is located about 20 kilometres north of the city of Brockville and 19 kilometres northwest of Prescott. The community is also the starting point of Kemptville Creek.
The Rich History of North Augusta, Ontario
North Augusta, Ontario in the 18th and 19th Centuries
North Augusta was first settled by United Empire Loyalists who received land grants for their loyalty to the Crown after the Revolutionary War. The community began to grow around a saw mill erected in 1811 by Daniel Dunham. A year later, Dunham sold the mill to the Bellamy family, giving the original name of North Augusta, Bellamy's Mills.
The Bellamys soon established a grist mill and began to purchase other properties within the area. The village grew, attracting other Loyalist settlers and businesses. By the mid-19th century, North Augusta boasted a blacksmith, cooper, tannery, carding mills, a shingle mill, post office, schoolhouse, churches, a temperance hall, and a general store. A hotel with an adjoining tavern also operated in the village from 1848.
However, the temperance movement led to the tavern's closure, and the building was eventually destroyed in 1902. It was later rebuilt as a private residence. By the late 19th century, North Augusta had expanded significantly, housing a carriage factory, five general stores, a barber, two hotels, and a cheese factory. The village even had its own newspaper, the North Augusta Hustler, later renamed the North Augusta Citizen.
North Augusta, Ontario in the 20th Century
At the start of the 20th century, North Augusta became a police village. However, the population had dropped to 500 people, and the number of businesses had decreased. The saw mill ceased operations in 1903 after a fire, and it was not rebuilt due to the depletion of the virgin forest. With improved transportation, other businesses in the village began to close as residents could travel for goods or import them from other locations.
In 1909, a bank opened in the village, and a two-storey school was built in 1915. However, by the later parts of the 20th century, many of the stores, factories, and mills had ceased operations. Bellamy's mill was moved to Upper Canada Village, an open-air museum, where it was restored to the mid-19th century era and used to produce flour for the museum's bakery and to grind feed for their animals.
The Community of North Augusta, Ontario Today
Today, North Augusta is served by Greenham's General store/Gas Station, an LCBO/Convenience Store, The Creekside Diner, and Foley's Auto Wrecking. The community also has a volunteer fire department and a community hall which holds council meetings, small concerts, and other community functions.
Religion and Churches in North Augusta, Ontario
North Augusta has been home to many churches: an Anglican church, Presbyterian church, Roman Catholic church, and three Methodist churches have all served the village at one time. The Anglican church, St. Peter's Anglican Church, was rebuilt once, with the original timbers used to construct a wooden cross in the new church. The Presbyterian church, located across from the fire hall along Mill Street, is now used as a community hall. The Roman Catholic church, St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church, was built in the 1970s to replace the original church that was destroyed by fire.
Cemeteries in North Augusta, Ontario
North Augusta is home to three cemeteries, two of which accompany one of the community's churches. The North Augusta Anglican Cemetery is located behind the Anglican church along Branch Road. The Presbyterian cemetery is located behind the current community hall, which was once the Presbyterian church. The North Augusta United cemetery, called Sandy Hill cemetery, is located south of the village along County Road 15.
Recreation in North Augusta, Ontario
The village has a soccer field and two baseball diamonds, with leagues running throughout the summer. The North Augusta Horseshoe Federation also runs on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer. A new children's playground was installed in 2011, replacing the old wooden one. An important attraction is the village's annual Labour Day Festival, which offers festivities over a five-day period, including photo contests, a parade, baseball tournaments, a car show, a horseshoe tournament, bingo, a euchre tournament, kid's movie, kid's games, and a midway.