Kitchener Public Library Digital Collections
Bridgeport Mill
Description
Media Type
Image
Item Type
Photographs
Description
Sepia image shows a large wood-frame building said to be a mill in the village of Bridgeport, Ontario, which since 1973 has been part of the City of Kitchener. The mill appears to be five storeys in height at one end and four at the other. There is a one-storey addition on one side of the building. There are doors in the north end wall on each level of the five-storey section and a single man can be seen standing in two of these doors. There is also a door on the west side of the building, above a dark area at ground level that may be a mill race entering the building. Buildings can be seen in the distance on the far left side and far right side of the photo. There is a small blurred rectangle in the centre of the bottom border of the image where a word may once have appeared.

The photo has a cardboard backing. The same image appears on page 15 of the Waterloo Historical Society 1965 annual report, minus the blurred spot.

Notes
The date of this image is unknown. The Bridgeport mill site was located at the west end of Woolwich Street near the north end of today's Shirk Place, for many years called Mill Street. The original five-storey grist mill was constructed in 1830 by Jacob S. Shoemaker and this area of the village on the west side of the Grand River was initially called Shoemaker's Mill. Situated in Waterloo Township, outside the village of Berlin, this area was later called Glasgow, and then Lancaster, before it became part of Bridgeport. Shoemaker's original grist mill building was 40 feet by 45 feet, roughly 12 metres by 14 metres. It was later enlarged to create a structure 40 feet by 96 feet, or roughly 12 metres by 28 metres. The mill was powered by water from a 25-acre mill pond to the west, created by the damming of Beaver Creek, today's Laurel Creek, which flows into the Grand River at Bridgeport. Shoemaker lived in a large Georgian-style brick home off Woolwich Street above the mill, still standing in 2020. He also operated a woollen mill, saw mill, distillery and store on his property.

The building visible on the far left in this photo may be the Grand Hotel building, which stood on Bridge Street above the Grand River, opposite the end of Lancaster Street West. The same mill property was also used at times for saw milling and for producing linseed oil. The grist mill had several owners over a span of 140 years, until Oct. 6, 1970 when it was destroyed by fire. In 2020 the site continues to hold a five-storey concrete tower with several concrete silos, but these appear not to be in use.

Jacob Shoemaker operated the mill until about 1850 when business partners Elias Eby and Barnabas Devitt became owners. An 1856 map of Bridgeport showing the site of the various buildings on the site can be seen on page 44-45 of the Waterloo Historical Society 1979 annual report. By 1864 the mill owners were Elias and his brother, Jacob B. Eby. In 1867 they advertised the business under the name Lancaster Grist, Saw and Oil Mills, operated by Elias Eby & Co.
In 1870 the partnership of Peter Shirk and Samuel Snider acquired ownership. Shirk purchased Snider's share in 1887 and operated the mill with his son, George. A Grand Trunk Railway spur line was constructed onto the mill property in the early 1900s. After 1910 a stock company with the name Shirk and Snider Ltd. owned the mill.

The Waterloo County Supplies Co-operative became the owner in 1949. It remained the owner in 1970 when the grist mill was destroyed by fire. Brand names of flour produced at the mill include Evangeline, Two Sisters and Buda.
A photograph showing the mill ablaze on Oct. 6, 1970 appears on Page 71 of the Waterloo Historical Society 1970 annual report. An 1855 sketch of Shoemaker's Mills appears on page 49 of the society's 1979 annual report. An 1856 plan of the village of Bridgeport identifying the site of many mill buildings and yards appears on page 24 of the society's 1965 annual report. A photo showing the grist mill as it appeared in the 1960s appears on page 9 of the society's 1978 annual report.

This image is part of the Schmalz Collection.
Date of Original
1890
Date Of Event
1890
Dimensions
Width: 14 cm
Height: 10.8 cm
Image Dimensions
Image Width: 13cm
Image Height: 9.9cm
Subject(s)
Personal Name(s)
Shoemaker, Jacob S., 1798-1875 ; Eby, Elias, 1810-1878 ; Eby, Jacob B., 1826-1882 ; Devitt, Barnabas, 1807-1891 ; Shirk, Peter, 1839-1911 ; Snider, Samuel Shantz, 1821-1912
Corporate Name(s)
Shirk & Snider Ltd. ; Waterloo County Supplies Co-operative Elias Eby & Co. ; Grand Hotel
Local identifier
P002938
Collection
Waterloo Historical Society
Geographic Coverage
  • Bridgeport mill, Kitchener:
    Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.4813448406579 Longitude: -80.4855649206543
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to Canadian law. No restrictions on use.
Location of Original
PB4
Terms of Use
If you would like to obtain a digital or print copy of this image, please see KPL's Photographic Reproduction Policy at http://www.kpl.org/localhistory/photographs

Contact
Kitchener Public Library
Email
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

85 Queen North

Kitchener, ON N2H 2H1

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Bridgeport Mill


Sepia image shows a large wood-frame building said to be a mill in the village of Bridgeport, Ontario, which since 1973 has been part of the City of Kitchener. The mill appears to be five storeys in height at one end and four at the other. There is a one-storey addition on one side of the building. There are doors in the north end wall on each level of the five-storey section and a single man can be seen standing in two of these doors. There is also a door on the west side of the building, above a dark area at ground level that may be a mill race entering the building. Buildings can be seen in the distance on the far left side and far right side of the photo. There is a small blurred rectangle in the centre of the bottom border of the image where a word may once have appeared.

The photo has a cardboard backing. The same image appears on page 15 of the Waterloo Historical Society 1965 annual report, minus the blurred spot.