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Museum (MIW) Introduction

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Introduction

Woodstock became a town in 1851 and the first official census from that year shows that Woodstock’s population was 2,112. At that time, the town had “240 frame houses, 42 brick houses” and many industries. The main industry in Woodstock was metal working. The two largest foundries in town were Woodstock Iron Works (corner of Dundas and Wellington streets), owned by H.P Brown, and Vulcan Iron Foundry (29 Vansittart Ave.), owned by Copp & Brothers from 1850-1870 and Alex Watson from 1871 to 1901.

Vulcan Iron Foundry
Vulcan Foundry on west side of Vansittart Avenue, 1867

When Woodstock, Ontario was proclaimed a city on July 1, 1901, one of the first acts of the newly-formed city council was to designate it “The Industrial City.” In 1901 Woodstock’s population was 9,229 and it had roughly 100 industrial plants, some small and others covering city blocks of floor space. At this time, woodwork was becoming the main industrial presents in the city. Companies like Bain Wagon Company Ltd, Canada Furniture Manufacturers, Thomas Organ & Piano Company, and Karn Organ and Piano Company had some of the largest factories in town and were by far the biggest employers.

Bain Wagon Yard
Bain Wagon Co. yard, 1903C

The Great Depression in the early 1930s wiped out or changed most of the large woodworking companies, and the textile industry began to take over. Companies such as Puritan Mills, York Knitting Mills Ltd., Harvey Woods, La France Textiles, Paquette, E.E., & Son Ltd., and Firestone Textiles became the largest employers in Woodstock.

La France Textiles factory, 1944C
La France Textiles factory, 1944C

Some industries have faded into history, while others have changed ownership many times over the years, and some have barely changed at all. Made in Woodstock examines the history of industrial businesses in Woodstock, from the earliest industries to those still in operation today.

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© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
TTY: 519-539-7268
Email: General Information

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