Locust Hill, Ontario
Locust Hill United Church
|Elevation||205 m (673 ft)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||905 and 289|
Locust Hill was first settled about 1799 by Samuel Reynolds, a United Empire Loyalist from Dutchess County, New York. The hamlet, centred on lots 10 and 11, concession 10, had a general store, blacksmith shop and, in 1856, a Methodist Church as well. A brick schoolhouse was built in 1864, a post office was opened in 1886, and the present church structure was built in 1890.
Locust Hill only became a place of significance with the arrival of the Ontario and Quebec Railway in the 1884, linking Toronto with Peterborough. Area business leaders from Whitevale and Green River petitioned to create a railway station at Locust Hill. The hamlet and station were named after the farm of William and Esther Reesor Armstrong, where locust trees were a prominent feature.
Locust Hill was one of the busiest stations on the Toronto-Perth line and was built on the St Clair Farm owned by Captain William Button on the northwestside of Highway 7. Flour, brushes, livestock and milk were shipped out of Locust Hill in quantity. In 1887 an elevator and mill were built east of the station, a water tower on the west side, and a co-operative creamery was built on the south side of Highway 7 on the east bank of the Rouge River in 1893 (it burned down in 1910). The original Van Horne style one and half storey station burned down in 1935 and replace by a single floor station in 1936. Rail service throuogh Locust Hill ceased in 1969, but the line is still active. The old Locust Hill Station has been relocated in 1983 and reconstructed at the Markham Museum and Historic Village and the station platform now removed and now a grass strip.
Future: Rouge National Park
While much of the city of Markham has become residential, the land immediately around Locust Hill is still in agricultural use. In 2011 the Canadian federal government announced plans to create a national Rouge Park. The park will completely encompass the community of Locust Hill.
- The 1974 film, Vengeance is Mine, starring Ernest Borgnine was filmed partially at the Locust Hill train station (which now sits on the Markham Museum grounds).
- The 1976 film, Silver Streak, starring Richard Pryor includes a train scene in the hamlet where the general store can be seen.
- See the detailed 1878 map, "Township of Markham," Illustrated historical atlas of the county of York and the township of West Gwillimbury & town of Bradford in the county of Simcoe, Ont. (Toronto: Miles & Co., 1878). Note that Locust Hill is not noted, only Belford.
- See North Pickering Community Development Project, The Historical Complexities of Pickering, Markham, Scarborough and Uxbridge, Sept. 1973, pp. 52f.
- For a full account of Locust Hill's history, cf. Isabel Champion, ed., Markham: 1793-1900 (Markham, ON: Markham Historical Society, 1979), pp. 246-248; 160; 183ff.; 89. See also Myra Chepack, "Markham Fair President 1910: James McCreight Armstrong," Markham Fair official website. Esther Reesor Armstrong was a daughter of Peter Reesor, founder of Reesorville, later the Village of Markham.
- See the Rouge Park Alliance, Park Map.
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