Ball's Falls, Ontario
Coordinates: Ball's Falls, Ontario, also known as Balls Mills, Louthe Mills and Glen Elgin, is a historical ghost town located in what is now a part of Jordan in the Niagara region which dates back to the early 19th century It is now preserved as a conservation area operated by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
The town was established as early as the 19th century by Jacob Ball, a United Empire Loyalist. After the American Revolution, Jacob and his family were forced from their home and potash works in New York. In 1783, the Ball family was granted land in Niagara because of their allegiance to the British Crown. Jacob's sons, John and George, received 1200 acres (486 ha) of land in Niagara in 1807. Twenty Mile Creek, which runs through the area, has two waterfalls. The Ball brothers built a grist mill, a saw mill at the lower falls and a woollen mill at the upper falls. The town began flourishing and soon a blacksmith, tailor, weaver and butcher lived on the land. By 1852 the population of the town, then Glen Elgin, grew to 19 locals. In the late 1850s, the Great Western Railway was established and many industries moved away from Glen Elgin and were located closer to the railway. In 1962 Manly Ball sold the land to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Area and the town, now known as Ball's Falls, is now a tourist attraction.
Located in the Niagara region of Ontario, Ball's Falls currently occupies around one sixth of the 1200 acres bought by the Ball brothers. It has a mild climate as a result of its location, which is south of Lake Ontario and north of Lake Erie. There are two waterfalls on Twenty Mile Creek. The upper falls are 35 feet (10.7 m) high, and the lower falls are 90 feet (27.4 m) high. ]The falls can be viewed from above and below. The gorge has also become an area of scientific interest. The lower falls pass over Irondequoit limestone, a firm layer over several weaker sandstone layers. The rock of the upper falls is formed of the same unit that forms the crest of Niagara Falls, Lockport Dolostone.
Thousands of plant and animal species grow throughout the conservation area. The list of plant species totals 471 and includes plants such as wild sarsaparilla, green and white trilliums, wild ginger, wild geranium, Virginia bluebells, Canada yew, arrowhead, wild leek, asparagus, wild yam, red mulberry, wild columbine, Canada anemone, chokecherry, Virginia creeper and St. John's wort. Ball's Falls is made up of hardwoods mixed with coniferous trees, lying within the deciduous forest zone. Tree species include Eastern cottonwood, butternut, black walnut, shagbark hickory, white oak, tulip tree and slippery elm. Rare species include sycamore, sassafras and pignut hickory. The species of fish living in Twenty Mile Creek include the largemouth bass, yellow perch, grass pickerel, rock bass, green sunfish, creek chub and pumpkinseed. Among the species of birds found at Ball's Falls are the eastern bluebird, indigo bunting, house sparrows, northern cardinals, mallards, killdeer.
After the purchase of Ball's Falls by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in 1962, the area became a conservation area. The park features the Ball's Falls Centre for Conservation to help visitors learn of the area's cultural and natural history. The building, designed to have a limited impact of the surrounding environment, features permanent and temporary galleries, exhibits and interactive displays, including the conservation practices of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, archaeological findings, and the watershed ecosystem of Twenty Mile Creek.