The Jam Factory, Part 1

Jam Factory

Located close to the other fine stone buildings in the Mill and Dundas Street area, the massive two-storey stone structure known as the jam factory is the only remaining example connected to the village’s industrial past. The building’s size is emphasized by its position immediately adjacent to the sidewalk and the length of the structure being oriented to the street. The rubble stone walls, three feet thick at ground level and one foot thick at the roof line, suggest construction at the time when there were many superior stonemasons at work in the village.

The exact date of construction has never been satisfactorily established as almost all the relevant deeds for the period 1837 to 1870 have been lost and even the tax assessment rolls for the period 1850-1870 have missing entries.

The deed between Waterdown businessmen John Creen and Charles Sealey for the property, dated October 1870, contains no mention of this building, but neither do others during the next 50 years. Not until the property was put on the auction block on April 5, 1920 is there any mention, when the Mortgage Sale at the American Hotel describes the lot as including “a substantial two-storey stone dwelling house and factory with outbuildings”.

Local stories suggest that the building was initially built for John Creen, possibly in connection with the flourmill and later sawmill he owned that was located at the rear of the same property.

At the same time, Charles Sealey, a Waterdown lumber merchant, was searching for such a property in order to dissuade his son, James Clarkson Sealey, from going west to Michigan as many local young men did during the years following the end of the American Civil War.

J. C. Sealey, a merchant by profession, wanted to operate a large store of his own, so this building with such premises and handsome and spacious living quarters for his family in the remainder of the building was a perfect fit. In 1885, Sealey sold the whole property and the building to Ferdinand Slater whose family owned the neighbouring mill site, purchased from John Creen several years earlier. For a brief period Slater’s sons, Frank and Albert, occupied the premises and operated a business of engraving plates for the family’s coffin factory.

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

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 16 December 2010.


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