The Township of Puslinch proudly remembers its past and continues to honour its history through the preservation of historical architecture, artifacts, and sites. Although some pieces of history can’t be preserved, the Township values celebrating historical landmarks and those who have influenced the Township and left their mark on the community.
The Puslinch Heritage Committee and the Puslinch Historical Society play lead roles in protecting and sharing this history with the community. To learn more about the Township’s heritage and history, or to see the complete inventory of Heritage Puslinch, visit the Township of Puslinch Office at 7404 Wellington Road 34.
Municipal Heritage Register
The Township is in the process of creating a Municipal Heritage Register. Letters have been sent to property owners of properties of historical interest to include on the Register. A public information session will be held on May 26th at 7:00 PM. Meeting information can be found here.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Bang the Table webpage here.
The draft Heritage Register of properties can be found here.
Early Local History
What is currently known as Brock Road/Highway 6 South was once the main artery leading from Dundas to John Galt’s new settlement of Guelph established in 1827. Land surveyor David Gibson did two separate surveys from 1828 to 1832. Concessions I to VI on the west side of the Township run from east to west, parallel with the Gore to Wentworth County. Concessions VII to XI run northwest to southeast.
Natural heritage features in Puslinch played a role in settlement with the First Nations people who lived in this area, and later with the European settlers. As farmsteads filled in, the settlers built grist mills and sawmills from the dams they created along the natural waterways.
A large majority of the early settlers in the Township were Highland Scottish. Other groups included settlements of Germans in Morriston, English in Arkell and Irish Catholics in the Downey Road and Brock Road areas. The Township was not always recognized by the name we know today. Throughout history, Puslinch was identified by many different names such as Puselynch, Posselinch, and Puzzlewitch.
In the last century, many noteworthy organizations have been founded in the Township. Some of these organizations are the Aberfoyle Agricultural Society, Farmers’ Institute, Plowman’s Association, Women’s Institute, Red Cross, Mutual Fire Insurance, Patrons of Industry, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Sons of Scotland, Independent Order of Foresters, Board of Health, Aberfoyle Athletic Club, Progressive Club, Horticulture Society, Morriston Public Library, and Aberfoyle Literary Society.
Architectural Heritage Features
As in the rest of Upper Canada, the first buildings here were constructed of logs. Once sawmills were in place, a second stage of building followed. Frame structures became common as villages expanded, and early log barns were replaced on farms with larger Swiss-style barns. Waterloo County, to the west of Puslinch, had been settled 30 years earlier and Puslinch farmers contracted to have barns built in the style of their Pennsylvania-German neighbours.
Tradesmen and merchants arrived with the European settlers, and a number of stonemasons were among those who settled in Puslinch. The Township was part of a ridge of igneous rock (granite) running from Eramosa through Puslinch to Waterloo County that provided the fieldstones for masons to construct the fine examples of Scottish, German, Irish and English masonry found here. They also used Southwestern Ontario layered limestone and sandstone from local quarries like that of John Howitt in northwest Puslinch. A dramatic rise in wheat prices during the Crimean War in the 1850s provided the capital for farm families in Canada West to build these next stages of architecture.
Plaqued Heritage Sites
In the year 2000, 100 plaques to mark sites of historical significance were cast for the millennium celebrations in the Township of Puslinch. All plaques were awarded by the year 2009 and 25 more have been cast since that time.
Pictorial inventory of the sites was initiated by Marilynn Crow, the Puslinch Heritage Committee Secretary in the year 2000. Each site owner received a copy of their entry in the Township’s heritage inventory of plaqued sites. A circulating copy of this inventory is also available in the Puslinch branch of Wellington County Library System, and a reference copy can be viewed in the Wellington County Museum’s Archives.
Inventory of Plaqued Sites
|lot 2||f. gore||D. McKellar farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 18||f. gore||McCormack farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 24||f. gore||James/ Angus McPherson farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lots 1-3||r. gore||Milroy/Frosch house & barn||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 6||r. gore||Killean School Board||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 13||r. gore||Laughlin McMillan farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 14||r. gore||John Scott/Fixter house,barn,silo||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 20||r. gore||Donald Stewart Sr. house&barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 23||r. gore||James McPherson Sr. farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 24||r. gore||Duncan McDonald farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 26||r. gore||Munroe farmhouse||2009 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 27||r. gore||Donald McPherson/Kerns||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 28||r. gore||Alexander McPherson/McDonald||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 29||r. gore||Walter Cowan farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 32||r. gore||Jacob Schultz farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 33||r. gore||David McNaughton house & barns||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 35||r. gore||Leslie/Sieber/Patterson farmhouse||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 5||f. conc.1||Bergerow farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 7||f. conc.1||A. McKellar farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|pt. lot 8||f. conc. 1||McMaster house & barn||2010 Heritage Plaque|
|pt. lots 9,10||f. conc.1||Killean Cemetery||cemeteries not plaqued but protected|
|pt Lot 9||f conc.1||Killean P.O./Residence||2014 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 16||f. conc.1||Richard Pa.aspk house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 17||f. conc.1||Richard Bond house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 21||f. conc.1||Archibald Thomson farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 23||f. conc.1||Thompson log cabin/Crieff Hills||2006 Heritage plaque|
|lot 23||f. conc.1||Crieff School (S.S.#6) /Crieff Hills||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 24||f. conc.1||John McDiarmid farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|pt. lot 25||f. conc. 1||James McDonald/former Crieff P.O.||2013 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 26||f. conc.1||Knox Presbyterian Church (& Crieff Cemetery)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|pt.lot 26||f. conc.1||Henry Becker store||2007 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 4||r. conc.1||Butler’s Beach Hotel (Puslinch Lake)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 11||r. conc. 1||John Gilchrist Sr. house & barn||2007 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 9||f. conc.2||Ellis Chapel||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 25||f. conc.2||John & Daniel McFarlane||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 5||r. conc. 2||Barrett farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 17||r. conc.2||Hector McCaig house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 21||r. conc.2||Angus McPherson Crow Sr. house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lots 2-6||f. & r. conc. 3||Cober farmhouse on f. lot2)||2007 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 9||f. & r. conc. 3||Little farmhouse (stone portion saved)||2008 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 15||f. conc.3||Alexander McCormick farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 17||f. conc.3||Alexander McCaig barn||2010 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 18||f. conc.3||Alexr &Rhoderick McKay pioneer barn||2010 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||f. conc.3||Alexander McKay farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||f. conc.3||The 3rd School (S.S.#5)||2012 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 21||f. conc.3||Roderick Cameron farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 5||r. conc.3||Cross Roads Church (& Cemetery)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||r. conc.3||Peter Stewart farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 20||r. conc.3||Alexander McLennan log house||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 3||f. conc.4||Samuel Pannebaker farmhouse||2004 Heritage Plaque|
|lots 9 & 10||f.& r.conc.5||Wingfield/Saunders house & outbldg.||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 13||r. conc.5||Steele/Anderson farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 30||f. conc.7||Andrew Stahl/Fredk Schultz house & outbuilding.||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||r. conc.7||John Hammersly farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||r. conc.7||Aberfoyle Schoolhouse (S.S.#4)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 20||r. conc.7||Aberfoyle Blacksmith & Wagon Shop||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 23||r. conc.7||McBeath farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 23||r. conc.7||George McLean’s miller’s house||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 28||r. conc.7/f. 8||Duff’s Presbyterian Church (& Crown Cemetery)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|Hwy.6||Morriston||Bank Building/commercial||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|Hwy.6||Morriston||Morriston Hotel, McPherson/Vogt||2011 Heritage Plaque|
|Hwy.6||Morriston||Stein log house||2011 Heritage Plaque|
|Hwy.6||Morriston||former cooperage/Huether garage||2009 Heritage Plaque|
|Victoria St.||Morriston||Schlegel log cabin||2012 Heritage Plaque|
|Victoria St.||Morriston||Double-gabled house||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|Victoria St.||Morriston||Frank Kistenmacher house||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|12 Badeoch St.||Morriston||Alexander Watson cottage||2013 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 31||r. conc.7||Mount Carmel Zion United Church||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 31||r. conc.7||John Calfass/Stewart farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 32||r. conc.7||Christian Morlock farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 33||r. conc.7||Winer Homestead house & cabin||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 35||r. conc.7||John Marshall house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 18||f. conc.8||Robert Johnston/Slater house||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||f. conc.8||Richard & Chas.Ellis farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 22||f. conc.8||Aberfoyle Mill (George McLean)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 16||r. conc.8||Hugh Cockburn Sr. farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 19||r. conc.8||H.Cockburn/Ernie Cockburn farmhouse||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 27||r. conc.8||McPhee farmhouse||2005 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 29,30||r. conc.8||John Clark Sr. house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 34||r. conc. 8||Clark/Nichol/Roy Winer 1900 barn||2010 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 35||r. conc.8||Col. Wm.Nicoll house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 38||r. conc.8||Archd &Frank Watson farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 7||f. conc.9||Thomas Arkell farmhouuse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 31||f. conc.9||Peter McLean house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 36||f. conc.9||William Simpson farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|pt. lots 3 to 6||r. conc. 9||Oulton/Isles/Black house & barn||2011 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 6||r. conc.9||Arkell United Church & Cemetery||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 6||r. conc.9||Arkell Blacksmith Shop||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 7||r. conc.9||Arkell School (S.S.#1)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 7||r. conc.9||Arkell Teacherage/private residence||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 11||r. conc.9||Robert Green/Rae/Conway house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 20||r. conc.9||Corwhin School (S.S.#10)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 29||r. conc.9||John McLean house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 30||r. conc.9||Alexander McLean house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 31||r. conc.9||Peter McLean house & barn||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 33||r. conc.9||Robert Clark farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 1||f. conc.10||John Gordon farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 11||f. conc.10||David & John Hume farmhouse||2006 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 13||f. conc.10||John Murray farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 16||f. conc.10||Duncan McFarlane house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 22||f. conc.10||John J. McRobbie farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 31||f. conc.10||Badenoch School (S.S.#9)||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|pt. lot 36||f. conc.10||Kennedy/Beaton house and barn||2009 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 37||f. conc.10||Duncan McEdward farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|p.o. 7,8,9||r. conc.10||James Orme/Slater house & barns||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 17||r. conc.10||Kenneth & Archd McKenzie farmhouse||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 21||r. conc.10||Duncan Campbell farmhouse||2007 Heritage Plaque|
|lot 23||r. conc.10||Andrew McRobbie house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
|lots 25 & 26||f. conc.11||James McLaren house & barn||2000 Heritage Plaque|
The following historical maps illustrate the geographical changes that Puslinch has experienced over the years.
Natural Heritage Features
Local histories document that the First-Nations people had settlements at Puslinch Lake, Arkell Springs and Morriston Pond. Due to early traffic between these three sites, arrowheads, scrapers, flint shards and other artefacts have been found on Township farms, especially in the early days of pioneers walking behind the plough. Occasional pieces can still be found.
Water was important to the next settlers in Puslinch too. Their grist mills, lumber mills and woolen mills relied on water to power the operations. The mill pond was created at Aberfoyle when Mill Creek was dammed. A dam on Irish Creek, a tributary of the Speed River in the northwest corner of the Township, created water power for Holm’s Mill. In Arkell, the Caulfield woolen mill and later lumber mill relied on water from the Arkell Spring grounds.
The Aberfoyle Mill has been repurposed as a fine dining establishment, but early mills like the Caulfield/Cook’s Mill burned to the ground. The waterways that supported these early mills are still of importance today. The Arkell Spring grounds are a major water source for the City of Guelph. Puslinch Lake, a kettle lake, is a popular recreational site with a restaurant on the old marina grounds drawing visitors to the area. Mill Creek that runs from Aberfoyle across the southern part of the Township is stocked with fish by the Grand River Conservation Authority. A program called the “Mill Creek Rangers” offers young people the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of ecology and the biodiversity of our environment.
At the suggestion to Puslinch Council by local historian Marjorie Clark, signage was posted by the Heritage Committee throughout the Township in 2013 to mark these natural heritage features.