History of Acton Timeline:

1825: Settled by Rev. Ezra, Rev. Zena, and Rufus Adams. The two brothers retired from saddlebag Methodists preaching to farm life and rebuilt their strength.

 

Reverend Zena Adams
Photo of the Rev. Zena Adams — C. 1850 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1828: Settlement established and named ‘Danville’ after a store clerk named ‘Dan’ who worked at Wheeler Green’s dry goods store.

1828: Settlement established and named ‘Danville’ after a store clerk named ‘Dan’ who worked at Wheeler Green’s dry goods store.
The York to Guelph road, an early predecessor to Highway 7, opened up for use.

1835: Danville’s first general store opened up, bearing the name “Danville Grocery”.
Rev. Ezra builds a grist and flour mill. This is the current site of the mill that still stands on Mill Street west. The ‘Mill Pond’ was created from diverting Black Creek; this later became known as ‘Fairy Lake’.

 

An early look of Acto
An early look of Acton. This photo, taken by an Owen Sound photographer, shows the early Mill — C. 1850’s Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1836: The settlement received the name ‘Adamsville’, named after the first settlers.

1842: Tanning Industry comes to Adamsville, started by Abraham Nelles.

1844: The first post office was established at the Adams Block; located on the corner of Knox and Main Streets.
Robert Swan, the first post master, changed the name of Adamsville to ‘Acton’; named after his birthplace in England.

1856: Grand Trunk Railway comes through Acton. This helped boost the economy and gave easier access for trade and travel.

 

Passengers waiting for a train at Acton train station
Passengers waiting for a train at the train station — C. 1910 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1861: Acton Public School opened at Main Street North, on School Lane.

 

A look up School Lane at the old Acton Public School
A look up School Lane at the old Acton Public School, the present site of Robert Little Public School — 1898 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1865: Beardmore purchased the tannery and began operations in Acton.

1867: Canada forms confederation.
Drill Shed built, on Bower Avenue, by the federal government for training against potential Fenian raids.

1868: W.H. Storey Glove Factory started operations in the manufacturing of leather gloves; located on Bower Avenue.

 

W.H. Storey Glove factory
A look at the W.H. Storey Glove factory, once located on Bower Avenue, across Henderson’s Pond — C. 1910 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1872: Acton Citizens Band forms.
Mill Pond named ‘Fairy Lake’ by local merchant Mrs. Augusta Secord.
St. Albans Anglican Church built.
Matthews Hall is built at the Southeast corner of Mill & Willow. This served as a place for municipal meetings.

 

A horse-drawn coach bus in front of Matthews Hall
A horse-drawn coach bus in front of Matthews Hall — C. 1900 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1874: Acton incorporated as a village on January 3rd and separated from Esquesing Township.
William Heslop Storey becomes Acton’s first Reeve.

 

William Heslop
William Heslop, “W.H.”, Storey was Acton’s first Reeve and owner & founder of Storey Glove Factory — C. 1873 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1875: First issue of Acton Free Press released July 2nd.
Large brick Methodist Church built at 70 Mill Street East.

 

The header of the first edition of The Acton Free Press
The header of the first edition of The Acton Free Press — July 2nd, 1875 Photo Credit: HHPL Newspaper Archives

1876: St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church built on Church Street.

 

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
The St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church with its tall spires — C. 1919 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

 

he Storey Family home “Sunderland Villa”
The Storey Family home “Sunderland Villa”. This is currently the Mackinnon Family Funeral Home. Photo — C. 1900 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1879: W.H. Storey builds large home “Sunderland Villa” at the corner of Mill & John Streets.
H.P Moore becomes owner and editor of Acton Free Press. Free Press Office was built at 56 Mill Street East.

1882: Town Hall built for municipal council, village constabulary, and fire brigade.

 

Acton Town Hall during a social event
A look at the Acton Town Hall during a social event — C. 1890’s Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1886: Village of Acton purchases land from Rufus Adams to become Prospect Park.

1895: Knox Presbyterian Church built.

 

A postcard showing Knox Presbyterian Church
A postcard showing Knox Presbyterian Church — C. 1910 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1897: The Drill Shed moved to Prospect Park.

1898: W.H. Storey died March 6th; funeral attended by thousands.
Acton Public Library formed and operated from the town hall.

1899: Acton receives electricity.
Baptist Church built at Mill & John Streets.

1900: Old Willow Tree that gave Willow Street its name cut down for construction of Warren Block located at the north-east corner of Mill & Willow Streets.

 

Willow tree that once stood at the Northeast corner of Mill & Willow Street
The first photo shows the Willow tree that once stood at the Northeast corner of Mill & Willow Street, prior to being cut down for construction of the Warren Block — 1900

1904: H.P. Moore razed old free press office and builds a new one on the same site.

 

The old Acton Free Press building
The old Acton Free Press building — C. 1910 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1909: Mill Street was widened; most buildings were moved back.

 

The widening of Mill Street
The widening of Mill Street — 1909 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1910: Acton 1st Scouts formed.

1913: Matthews Hall is moved to Willow Street South to make way for the grand Post Office (located at the south-east corner of Mill & Willow Streets).
Acton Agricultural Society formed and first annual Acton Fall Fair held.

 

Downtown-Acton-1960
In this photo of Mill Street looking west, you can see the old post office at the southeast corner of Mill & Willow Streets — C. 1960’s Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1914: The ‘Great War’ (World War 1) starts; many Acton men enlisted. 22 locals died while in service.

1917: Toronto Suburban Railway (Electric Radial Line) makes its way through Acton.

 

Electric Radial Station Agnes Elgin 1910
The Toronto Suburban Railway station at the corner of Agnes & Elgin Streets — C. 1917 Photo Credit: A.T. Brown / Dills Collection

1924: The village of Acton celebrates 50 years since incorporation. In honor of the celebration, stone gates and band shell were built at the entrance of Prospect Park.

 

Prospect Park 1935
The old bandstand and stone gates at the entrance of Prospect Park — 1935 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1927: With the onset of the popularity of automobiles Highway 7 officially comes through Acton. This route was formed from the original York to Guelph Road; conditions were greatly improved.
H.P. Moore retired from the newspaper business; G.A. Dills becomes owner and editor of the Acton Free Press.

1929: Arena built in Prospect Park; Grand opening on Christmas day. This was Acton’s first “artificial ice”.

 

The old Arena in Prospect Park
The old Arena in Prospect Park prior to being torn down — 1997 Photo Credit: Bruce Andrews

1931: Toronto Suburban Railway ceased operations in August.

1935: Murray Memorial Building was built. This became home to the YMCA and the Public Library.

 

Acton Library YMCA 1935
The Murray Memorial Building. This was the home to the Acton Library and YMCA — 1935 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1939: World War 2 starts; many Acton men enlisted for battle with women enlisted to help aid the effort. 21 locals died while serving.

1944: Beardmore Tannery celebrates 100 years of operation.
In December Beardmore was sold to Canada Packers; tannery remained under Beardmore name.

 

Beardmore Business Post Card 1960
An aerial view of the Beardmore Tannery — C. 1960 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1950: Acton receives town status.

 

Acton Dedication Service poste 1950
Acton Dedication Service poster — 1950 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1954: Acton High School is built on Acton Blvd. E.A. Hansen is Principal.

1956: Bethel Christian Reformed Church built on Queen Street East.

1957: M.Z. Bennett Public School is built on Acton Blvd., north of Acton High School. Miss Bennett was on hand for the opening ceremony. Elmer Smith is Principal.
Acton Public School renamed Robert Little School in honor of the late educator Robert Little.

 

United Church Construction 1960
Construction of the new United Church, with the old Methodist Church beside — 1960 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1961: New united church opened; old church demolished.

1962: Acton Curling Club formed.
Storey Glove Factory demolished.
New Post Office opened on Bower Avenue; on former site of Storey Factory.

 

Acton Post Office 1964
The new Acton Post Office, on site of the former Storey Factory, on Bower Avenue — 1964 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1965: Acton Citizens Band Music Centre opened on Wallace Street.

Charles Mason, Ted Tyler, and George Elliott with ‘sold’ sign
Charles Mason, Ted Tyler, and George Elliott with ‘sold’ sign of the future site of the Music Centre, located on Wallace Street — 1965 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1966: David Dills and his wife, Kay, take over operations of Acton Free Press from his father G.A. Dills.

1967: Canada celebrates Centennial of Confederation.
New library opened on River Street in honor of Canada’s centennial.

 

Acton Public Library 1967
The opening ceremony of the new Acton Public Library — June 3rd, 1967 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1969: Acton Curling Club Facilities opened on Churchill Road North.

1971: Old post office at corner of Mill & Willow Streets demolished.

1974: Acton celebrates 100 years of incorporation.
Town of Acton amalgamated with the Town of Georgetown and Esquesing Township to form Halton Hills. Les Duby was Acton’s last mayor.
Old Grand Trunk / Canadian National Railway train station razed.
Acton’s third Legion Branch 197 opened in September on Wright Avenue.
Lions Club Community Pool opened at Acton High School on Acton Blvd. in honor of Acton’s centennial.

 

Legion 1978
An aerial view of the Acton Legion 197 on Wright Avenue — 1978 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

1977: New Acton High School opens on Cedar Road. Dean Fink is Principal with Lyn McLaren as vice-principal.
Former high school on Acton Blvd. becomes McKenzie-Smith Middle School in honor of Acton educators Pat McKenzie and Elmer Smith.
Acton Town Hall faces demolition; saved by local group who later formed Heritage Acton.

 

night view of Acton High School 1977
A night view of the newly built Acton High School on Cedar Road — 1977 Photo Credit: Acton High School / Trish Foster Somerville Collection

1978: Old Free Press building razed, replica was rebuilt.

1982: St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School opens on Mill Street West. Principal is Sean Briggs.

1986: Beardmore Tannery ceased operations; many left unemployed.

1989: Town of Halton Hills receives deed from Beardmore / Canada Packers for Fairy Lake.

1992: New Acton Fire Station opened at south-east corner of Queen Street and Churchill Road South.

 

Acton Fire Station official opening program 1992
Programme for the opening of the new Fire Station on Churchill Road South — 1992 Photo Credit: Wayne Kelley Collection

1996: M.Z. Bennett Public School and McKenzie-Smith Middle School amalgamated to form McKenzie-Smith Bennett Public School.

1998: New Community Centre & Arena opened on Queen Street East.
Beardmore tannery demolished following vandalism and arson.

2007: New band shell built in Prospect Park by Rotary Club.
Dufferin Community Centre opened in Prospect Park.
Three Musketeers opened behind Acton Community Centre & Arena in honor of three young boys who lost their lives.

2010: Scouts celebrated 100 years of Scouting in Acton.

 

Scout Badge 2010
A badge celebrating 100 years of the 1st Acton Scouts — 2010 Photo Credit: Dills Collection

2011: New library facilities opened; old 1967 library demolished.

2013: Acton Agricultural Society celebrates 100 years of Acton Fall Fair.

2015: Community Centre & Arena received expansions.
The Three Musketeers Skate Park demolished and rebuilt.

2016: Drill Shed in Prospect Park renovated and restored. Old Band shell is also restored.

2017: Canada celebrates Canada 150. Acton and the rest of Halton Hills participated in Most Patriotic Town Flag Challenge. Royal Canadian Snow Birds flew over Prospect Park in honor of the achievement.