“Dutch Town”

In the early 1850s, all the land north of Church Street and east of Mill Street to the banks of the Grindstone Creek in Waterdown was purchased for future residential growth by James McMonies and Thomas Stock, two prosperous Waterdown residents. The property was subdivided by the developers and plans were registered on August 28 and 29, 1856.

John Lillycrop with the date-stone from the German Evangelical Church. Lillycrop donated the stone to the Flamborough Heritage Society for safekeeping.

Although lots were entered on the plans, only the areas that were close to the creek and mill sites were immediately built upon and from the occupations of the lot owners, it appears that they were almost exclusively the homes of mill workers.

Along Raglan and Nelson Streets, a small enclave of German immigrants who worked in the mills gave rise to the name of “Deutsche Town” or “Dutch Town” for this part of the village. The name almost certainly came from older early residents along these streets speaking only German or “deutsche” with their children and family members, and thus the corruption of the word to Dutch over the years by other residents of the village.

Today, some small frame and brick cottages built by these immigrants, with names such as Metzger, Klodt, Kink, Burkholder, Hasselfeldt, Schoan and Slater, remain. Most were simple one-storey residences, erected close to the street and in the European style of compact construction for working class inhabitants.

Many of the residents were members of the German Evangelical or Lutheran Church. During the early years, the congregation gathered to worship in homes where services were conducted in German by the minister from St. Paul’s Evangelical Church in Hamilton. Reverend John Yenney came to the village in 1865 as minister to these families and five years later, a frame church for their use was built on Mill Street North.

Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at archives@flamboroughhistory.com.

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 19 December 2008.


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