History of Whitevale

Whitevale History Collection

If you have any information relating to Whitevale's Past, Present or Future please contact us! We are looking for newspaper articles, photos, information on houses, etc. Please let us know if you have anything to share, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is.

Settlement

Whitevale Rd (formerly Main St)

The hamlet of Whitevale was first settled in the 1820s when John Major built a sawmill. In the early days of the hamlet, it was known as Majorville, because of founder John Major and his many family members who lived on the 5th Concession Line.  The future of Majorville (and its name) would soon be changed however due to one man, Truman P. White. 
T.P.White moved to Majorville with his father Ira around 1845.  Ira White ran the sawmill, but T.P. White had bigger aspirations for himself and this little village.

Growth

Whitevale Rd (formerly Main St)

Although Whitevale was founded by John Major in 1820, it didn’t begin its rise to power and prosperity until T.P. White began building.  He began building all over town, starting in 1855 when he built a gristmill and a cooperage and bought the saw mill.  Just over a decade later in 1866 he built a planing factory, followed by a four-storey brick woollen mill the next year. Not only did T.P. White erect buildings that would help the economy of Majorville, but he also built a new school for the hamlet. The contributions of T.P. White were undeniable; therefore in acknowledgement, the town changed its name to Whitevale.

Prosperous Times

Whitevale Mill

Whitevale continued to grow over the years.  It was reported that Whitevale contained: a stave and heading factory and a barrel factory, three general stores, a wagon and carriage factory, a cheese factory, a merchant and tailoring firm, two shoemaker shops, a butcher shop, a tinsmith shop, two blacksmiths, two wagon shops, a school house, undertakers, a harness shop, a grist mill, a brush factory, a grindstone factory, a barber shop, three dressmakers, three gardeners, money order and post offices, a hotel, a brass band, two churches and four lodges. 
Unfortunately, Whitevale began to see a decline; a railway line bypassed Whitevale and the town suffered from many fires.

Fires

Whitevale Mill Fire

Several major fires in the village severely impacted Whitevale’s rise and T.P. White’s dream.  A carriage factory and the cooperage were destroyed 1874. A public hall was burned down in a fire. The woolen mill was gutted from a major fire; however the brick walls remained standing. Even T.P. White’s planning and grist mills were destroyed by fires.  Although the planning mill was rebuilt on the site of the grist mill, it burned down again.  The still-standing brick walls of the woollen mill were used to house the grist mill machinery and it continued to operate.  Unfortunately, in 1961, a devastating fire destroyed the converted woollen/grist mill.  It was completely rebuilt however the following year in 1962 as a modern feed mill.  

Even in recent times fires have been a problem for Whitevale.  In early 2011, the Regency Coffee Co. building (which includes a portion of the building that dates back to the 1880's) caught on fire during renovations, but only sustained smoke and roof damage.

Floods

Whitevale Bridge Flooded

With all Whitevale’s bad luck with fires, it’s easy to forget that there is an abundance of water in Duffin’s Creek which runs through the heart of the village.  This abundance of water has made flooding a major issue for Whitevale.  In 1929 a heavy flood completely washed out the newly built Whitevale Bridge. In October 1954, the mill dam and the approach to the bridge went out due to Hurricane Hazel.  Finally, in July 2008 the bridge suffered minor damage when heavy rains washed out a small section.

For a complete history on the Whitevale Bridge click here.