Chatsworth is a township in Grey County, located in South-Western Ontario that was formed in 2000 by amalgamating Holland Township, Sydenham Township and the village of Chatsworth.
The history is Chatsworth is found in it’s small villages and hamlets that make up this rich community.
Arnott – originally called Murray’s Corner Berkeley – originally called Holland and established in 1853. In 1857 the name was changed to Berkeley.
Chatsworth (village) – at the junction of Highways 6 and 10. Settled in 1842 when a tavern was built by a man named Coyer. Chatsworth had two weekly newspapers the Chatsworth News and the Chatsworth Banner which ran from 1885-1935 and 1896-1907 respectively. Chatsworth has a hockey arena, a baseball diamond, a quaint cafe, a Barber Shop, a Hair Salon, two Variety Stores one of which is a Beer Store/LCBO retailer, a gas station, an OPP station, a motel, a nursing home, and a hardware store.
Desboro – originally called Brown’s Corners when the first building was built in 1856 (which was a log school house). A Mr. George Smith build the first house and store in 1866. In 1869 the Desboro hotel was built and is one of the only rural taverns still operating in the township. Desboro also has a town hall that was built in 1875. Desboro now boasts a modern hockey arena and two baseball diamonds.
Dornoch – Originally called Griffin’s Corners when settled by Mr. Griffin in 1841 when he started the first general store. The village was served by a stagecoach that ran between Durham and Chatsworth in the late 1850’s. Around the turn of the century the name of the village was changed to Dornoch after a village in Northern Scotland. Harkaway – Had a post office from 1875-1913, it closed due to the start of rural mail delivery in the area.
Holland Centre – Originally called Williamsford in the 1870’s when some local farmers under the leadership of a Mr. Alfred Williams got a railway station built which helped establish the town as a lumber town. Mr. Williams also built a general store. The name of the town was later changed due to the fact that there was another village with the same name not far away, and so it was named Holland Centre for it’s central location in Holland Township.Keady – First settled in 1850’s, with the original general store being built in the late 1860’s. This store operated for almost 100 years before it was converted into a residence. Keady is most commonly known for it’s Farmer’s Market known as “Keady Market” every Tuesday.
Lily Oak – Known as a farming community, had a post office until 1914 when rural mail delivery started.Massie – Situated between Chatsworth and Walter’s Falls, the first settlers arrived in the 1840’s. There was a sawmill built in 1859 and a grist mill in 1863. By 1866 there was also a post office, blacksmith shop, horse shoe nail factory and a school house. There were approximately 100 residents in 1887.
Scone – A short stretch of the North Saugeen River at the border of Scone, is home to one of the most critically endangered insects: the Hungerford’s crawling water beetle. In 1986 42 of these beetles were identified at a site downstream from the dam in Scone, the only known population outside of the United States. In 2001 there were an unspecified number of the beetles identified, however, in 2002 no specimens were found. Due to this, the status of the population of beetles is currently unknown. In 2011 there were no signs of the insect. This insect is protected in the U.S. and was categorized as endangered in 1994 under the provisions of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, however, it is not protected in Canada.
Walter’s Falls – Founded in 1852 when Mr. John Walter from Toronto took up 300 acres of land on the the south branch of the Bighead River where he set up a sawmill in 1853. The village of Walter’s Falls built up around this mill and by 1865 the town had a grist mill, a woolen mill, a post office, a tavern, a blacksmith, a wagon maker, 2 carpenters, a millwright and a tinsmith. Mr. Walter also set up a feed mill in the mid 1850’s and is still in operation today as Walter’s Falls Milling Ltd, running on water driven machinery most of the year with a diesel engine. The mill had a fire in 1923 and was re-built in the same location. The first general store was opened in the early 1880’s. The Hallman family bought the sawmill in 1944 and rebuilt it. The sawmill burnt down in 1984, likely caused by an electrical accident, and a new sawmill was built in 1986 on the outskirts of town. The original building was used for storage until 2000 when it was demolished and the current Walter’s Falls Inn was built in its place. Walter’s Falls also has a Community Centre Hall that was built between 1883-1889, and a baseball diamond.
Williams Lake – Named after the Williams family that owned a large portion of the lake. It is a 148 Acre clover shaped lake that is a popular spot for fishing and boating in Chatsworth, situated between Williamsford and Holland Centre. In 1899 a railroad was built to Williams Lake and a large boarding house had been built to accommodate 20-30 labourers to excavate the marl (calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone containing variable amounts of clays and silt) which was in abundance at the lake. Three different cement plants in Owen Sound used this grey muck as an ingredient for their product. The excavation of the marl caused the water supply to dry up causing the excavation company to dig several wells on nearby farms. Amongst the approximately privately owned home and cottages sits a public boat launch and beach. The first cottage on the lake was built on an island in 1948. In 1978 a large portion of the south-east side of the lake was purchased by the North Grey Conservation Authority. The North side of the lake is home to the Glendale Yacht Club which moved to their current location in 1984 after renting property for the 30 years before that. In 1955 the idea of a yacht club was born when young people started to frequent the Lake and found a mutual interest in all things water sports. The first Regatta was held on June 23, 1956 with the proceeds going to the new Glendale Yacht Club. The funds raised were to help build a beach for swimming, boating, fishing, and water-skiing. Glendale Yacht Club features a well-equipped club house, boat docks, and a beach as well as campsites. Today the lake is a recreational dream for retirees, and cottagers.
Williamsford – Village was first surveyed in 1858 comprising 400 acres in preparation for the railway that was to go between Toronto and Owen Sound. Each township was obligated to contribute $40,000 to help with the railway’s construction. In 1847 there was a post office built and a general store was built in the late 1800’s. The village is situated on the North Saugeen River, controlled by a small dam, and currently has a general store, post office and Great Books Cafe, a bookstore and cafe housed in a historic grain mill, as well as several churches, a community cemetery. In 1956 a hockey arena with attached curling rink was opened, and was used until it was torn down in 2008. There is currently a playground, baseball diamond and a newly built curling rink which was built in 2010 consisting of 2 rinks and a lounge area.