MOUNTAIN MEMORIES: Albion Falls has always been a popular place

Opinion Aug 22, 2017 by Robert Williamson Hamilton Mountain News

Although this 2017 series of Mountain Memories features a Canadian Confederation theme, I can’t resist reviewing some heritage associated with Albion Falls, given its increased popularity.

Hamilton’s “laid back” lack of appreciation for this outstanding locale has sent us a wake-up call. People want to see what we’ve got! And Albion has got “it.”

To begin with, it is one of the most attractive waterfalls along the edge of our spectacular Niagara escarpment.

Its rich heritage dates back to the arrival of United Empire Loyalist William Davis in 1792. Millwright, Henry Van Wagner, of local beach reputation, built a large combined grist and saw mill for Davis beside the waterfalls in 1794. (See Albion Falls: 220 Years of Mountain History at hamiltonheritage.ca).

In addition, it is very accessible. Located adjacent to the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway interchanges, it is easy to find and unlike Webster Falls has a large free parking area. Not only that, but until recently, it also had a convenient, if incomplete, stair access.

Albion Falls has always had an inviting atmosphere and offers good potential for entrepreneurial interests. In the 1880s, Quarrymen Waddel and Carpenter operated a toll booth on the north side of the bridge over the waterfalls. The accompanying photo shows Carpenter’s Lunch restaurant on the south side of the millpond circa 1940. Oliver Carpenter and his family lived in the building and operated a food service on the ground floor. It was a popular destination for Sunday drives and May 24 hikers. The waterfalls is on the extreme left beyond the bridge abutment.

The barnlike building was built in the 1867 Confederation era as a hop-kiln to dry out hops grown in the vicinity. Bales of hops were sold to brewers for making beer. Carpenter’s Lunch was destroyed by fire in 1947 and replaced by a cinder block dance and banquet hall called Club Albion. It too disappeared in the 1970s when the site was taken over by the Hamilton-Wentworth Conservation Authority. It presently is the focal point and parking area for a network of attractive hiking trails in the Red Hill Valley, but incredulously now, not the waterfall.

Albion Falls is a popular place to visit. Hamilton should enhance that attraction so that visitors to the Red Hill Valley won’t be discouraged by a political and neighbourhood “stay away” attitude as has happened to waterfalls in the Dundas Valley.

Mountain Memories, written by historian Robert Williamson for the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, appears monthly. The society’s next meeting is Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m., South Gate Presbyterian Church, 120 Clarendon Ave., where Dr. John Deadman will speak about his recent book, "Moving Out of the Shadows: A History of Forensic Psychiatry in Hamilton.”

See the Society’s website (hamiltonheritage.ca) for information on events and publications.

MOUNTAIN MEMORIES: Albion Falls has always been a popular place

Opinion Aug 22, 2017 by Robert Williamson Hamilton Mountain News

Although this 2017 series of Mountain Memories features a Canadian Confederation theme, I can’t resist reviewing some heritage associated with Albion Falls, given its increased popularity.

Hamilton’s “laid back” lack of appreciation for this outstanding locale has sent us a wake-up call. People want to see what we’ve got! And Albion has got “it.”

To begin with, it is one of the most attractive waterfalls along the edge of our spectacular Niagara escarpment.

Its rich heritage dates back to the arrival of United Empire Loyalist William Davis in 1792. Millwright, Henry Van Wagner, of local beach reputation, built a large combined grist and saw mill for Davis beside the waterfalls in 1794. (See Albion Falls: 220 Years of Mountain History at hamiltonheritage.ca).

Related Content

In addition, it is very accessible. Located adjacent to the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway interchanges, it is easy to find and unlike Webster Falls has a large free parking area. Not only that, but until recently, it also had a convenient, if incomplete, stair access.

Albion Falls has always had an inviting atmosphere and offers good potential for entrepreneurial interests. In the 1880s, Quarrymen Waddel and Carpenter operated a toll booth on the north side of the bridge over the waterfalls. The accompanying photo shows Carpenter’s Lunch restaurant on the south side of the millpond circa 1940. Oliver Carpenter and his family lived in the building and operated a food service on the ground floor. It was a popular destination for Sunday drives and May 24 hikers. The waterfalls is on the extreme left beyond the bridge abutment.

The barnlike building was built in the 1867 Confederation era as a hop-kiln to dry out hops grown in the vicinity. Bales of hops were sold to brewers for making beer. Carpenter’s Lunch was destroyed by fire in 1947 and replaced by a cinder block dance and banquet hall called Club Albion. It too disappeared in the 1970s when the site was taken over by the Hamilton-Wentworth Conservation Authority. It presently is the focal point and parking area for a network of attractive hiking trails in the Red Hill Valley, but incredulously now, not the waterfall.

Albion Falls is a popular place to visit. Hamilton should enhance that attraction so that visitors to the Red Hill Valley won’t be discouraged by a political and neighbourhood “stay away” attitude as has happened to waterfalls in the Dundas Valley.

Mountain Memories, written by historian Robert Williamson for the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, appears monthly. The society’s next meeting is Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m., South Gate Presbyterian Church, 120 Clarendon Ave., where Dr. John Deadman will speak about his recent book, "Moving Out of the Shadows: A History of Forensic Psychiatry in Hamilton.”

See the Society’s website (hamiltonheritage.ca) for information on events and publications.

MOUNTAIN MEMORIES: Albion Falls has always been a popular place

Opinion Aug 22, 2017 by Robert Williamson Hamilton Mountain News

Although this 2017 series of Mountain Memories features a Canadian Confederation theme, I can’t resist reviewing some heritage associated with Albion Falls, given its increased popularity.

Hamilton’s “laid back” lack of appreciation for this outstanding locale has sent us a wake-up call. People want to see what we’ve got! And Albion has got “it.”

To begin with, it is one of the most attractive waterfalls along the edge of our spectacular Niagara escarpment.

Its rich heritage dates back to the arrival of United Empire Loyalist William Davis in 1792. Millwright, Henry Van Wagner, of local beach reputation, built a large combined grist and saw mill for Davis beside the waterfalls in 1794. (See Albion Falls: 220 Years of Mountain History at hamiltonheritage.ca).

Related Content

In addition, it is very accessible. Located adjacent to the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway interchanges, it is easy to find and unlike Webster Falls has a large free parking area. Not only that, but until recently, it also had a convenient, if incomplete, stair access.

Albion Falls has always had an inviting atmosphere and offers good potential for entrepreneurial interests. In the 1880s, Quarrymen Waddel and Carpenter operated a toll booth on the north side of the bridge over the waterfalls. The accompanying photo shows Carpenter’s Lunch restaurant on the south side of the millpond circa 1940. Oliver Carpenter and his family lived in the building and operated a food service on the ground floor. It was a popular destination for Sunday drives and May 24 hikers. The waterfalls is on the extreme left beyond the bridge abutment.

The barnlike building was built in the 1867 Confederation era as a hop-kiln to dry out hops grown in the vicinity. Bales of hops were sold to brewers for making beer. Carpenter’s Lunch was destroyed by fire in 1947 and replaced by a cinder block dance and banquet hall called Club Albion. It too disappeared in the 1970s when the site was taken over by the Hamilton-Wentworth Conservation Authority. It presently is the focal point and parking area for a network of attractive hiking trails in the Red Hill Valley, but incredulously now, not the waterfall.

Albion Falls is a popular place to visit. Hamilton should enhance that attraction so that visitors to the Red Hill Valley won’t be discouraged by a political and neighbourhood “stay away” attitude as has happened to waterfalls in the Dundas Valley.

Mountain Memories, written by historian Robert Williamson for the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, appears monthly. The society’s next meeting is Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m., South Gate Presbyterian Church, 120 Clarendon Ave., where Dr. John Deadman will speak about his recent book, "Moving Out of the Shadows: A History of Forensic Psychiatry in Hamilton.”

See the Society’s website (hamiltonheritage.ca) for information on events and publications.