Records found at the Town of Caledon Municipal Office show that the village in 1852 was called “McCurdy’s Village – and in 1857 was called “Belfountain”.
How did Belfountain become the official name for the village known for so many years as McCurdy’s Village? There seems to be a space of time – from 1850 to 1860 – for which true facts and figures cannot be found. Perhaps no one will ever know.
For example, the Tremaine map of 1859, which was compiled and drawn by George R. Tremaine, distinctly spell the name of the village – Bellefountain!
The J.H. Pope map published by Walker and Miles, Toronto, in 1877 has the spelling – Belfountain.
One record contradicts another – after all, one hundred and twenty five years is a long way to stretch memories even if such persons could be found who were alive at that time of history.
But whatever the spelling, when the name was first changed from McCurdy’s Village, it has been home to many; a lovely spot to live; and a tourist attraction for many, many thousands from all parts of Canada and other lands.
William Frank arrived in 1825 and established a mill on River Road or Mill Street. Little is known about the mill or its success, save to say that it passed into the hands of the McCurdy Family, who arrived in the area shortly after William Frank.
As time passed, the village encompassed a wagon shop, a post office, a school – and since these were “God-Fearing Christians, their need for spiritual guidance was recognized and a Baptist and Methodist church came into the village.
When a large octagonal shaped building was used by the local blacksmith as a cooperage, the town received a peculiar nickname. Since it was adjacent to the town pump and since the building looked like a tub and dominated the centre section of the village, outsiders dubbed the village “Tubtown”. It was later moved to the village of Erin to their dismay.
With the establishment of large quarry operations in the nearby villages of Forks of the Credit and Brimstone, the growth of Belfountain was assured.
In 1879 the Credit Valley Railway came through and the establishment of a station in the vicinity was of utmost importance. The surveyors began to search for a route up the Credit River towards Orangeville. They found the west branch of the Credit River towards Belfountain. They found the grades too steep and the route was abandoned in favour of the main River Valley. In order to cross the west branch of the Credit, it was necessary for the railway to build a trestle; the famous Forks of the Credit trestle… the longest trestle in Ontario in 1879, and at its northern end was the station that served Belfountain; the Forks of the Credit Station.
As a result of the coming of the railway, the quarries sprang up all over the Credit Forks area and Brimstone and the Forks of the Credit became thriving communities. As both of these village’s prospered, so did Belfountain since it became the centre of commerce for all three … it had the mills for grain and lumber, it had the stores and provided housing for most of the quarry management and some of the skilled workers.
When the quarries and lime kilns dwindled, the importance of Belfountain dwindled too and the village began to settle back to the small hamlet it is today.
There were many families, most of them gone but not forgotten, who helped to make McCurdy’s Village that picturesque little hamlet which later became the bustling village of Belfountain.
Family names like:
William Frank, McCurdy, Bull, William Kirkwood, John Burnett, J.T. Bush, William Barber, Noah Herring, Robert Western Brock, Peter Blair, James Steel, John McLeod, Michael Baker, John Crichton, Hugh McLaren, Frederick Frank, Sharp, Peter McTaggart, William MacDonald “Honest Mac”, Thomas Jefferson, Malcom Ramsay, William Jacques, Eagles, James Graham, Alexander Pattullo, John Foster, Daniel McLachlan, J.R. Trimble.
The above information came from the books “Belfountain and the Tubtown Pioneers” (Margaret Whiteside) and “Belfountain Caves Castles and Quarries in the Caledon Hills” and “Remember When” both by Berniece Trimble.
Written by J. E. (Ted) Titterton
For a fun read, we recommend Bernice Trimble’s, “Caves, Castles and Quarries”. Thank you.