As one of the premier buildings in the village of Waterdown located at the most important intersection in the village, the building on the south-east corner of Mill and Dundas Streets, still known as the Weeks Building, has connections to several notable Waterdown residents during its 185 year history.
Built by Ebenezer Culver Griffin, probably between 1824 and 1830, it was constructed to function as a General Store. Its location fronting onto Dundas Street, adjacent to the American Hotel (also built by Griffin), ensured its important place in the community. The rapidly developing milling industry in the Grindstone Valley during the 1830s, in which Griffin was involved, resulted in his sale of the General Store to Daniel Cummins in 1839.
Within a year of the purchase, Cummins acquired the right to house the Waterdown Post Office, which remained there until about 1857-58, when it moved into its own building on Main Street South.
Beginning in the 1840s, this corner block became a popular stopping place for farmers from as far away as Guelph who would drive their wagons down to Brown’s Wharf in Aldershot, with their grain and produce, and after selling it, return home through Waterdown. For some it was an annual trip to purchase their supplies for the year from Cummins’ General Store, while others would spend the night in one of the village’s seven hotels, including one that was reputedly above the store.
In 1873, the Eager brothers bought the store and moved their business from their previous general store in Nelson Township. James Edward and Joseph shared the responsibility of operating the Eager Brother’s General Store for more than 40 years. Although in competition with the general stores on Dundas Street operated by F. W. Crooker and O. B. Griffin, Eager’s reputation for its warmth and hospitality and the wonderful variety of merchandise made it very popular throughout the area.
William Featherstone acquired ownership of the southern most section of the block in 1890 and operated a bakery on the premises. The previous occupant of this section, James Rodgers, also a baker, suffered a disastrous fire in 1883 which not only destroyed much of his bakery but also threatened the rest of the Eager Block.
Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at email@example.com.
This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 6 February 2009.
The Flamborough Archives will be closed on Monday, May 24. Happy Victoria Day, and see you soon!