Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre

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Art. Inspiration. Education.

About Williams Mill

The Williams Mill History

The Williams Mill property consists of the Yellow Mill, a three-storey timber and clapboard Mill building that was constructed circa 1835, and the Georgetown Electric Light Company Power Plant, a two-and-a-half storey stone structure constructed circa 1898. The two buildings were designated by the Town of Halton Hills in 1988 for their heritage value under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The frame Mill building and the stone Georgetown Electric Light Company Power Plant, located east of the Credit River, reflect the early development of the hamlet of Glen Williams as the site of milling operations that were powered by the nearby river.

The property on which the Williams Mill is located is part of a 200 acre parcel purchased in 1825 by Benajah Williams. Benajah Williams' first operation was a saw mill on the site of the present frame building. The economic life of nineteenth century Glen Williams revolved around the milling enterprises of the Williams family, after whom the hamlet is named. The original building was lost in a fire and was replaced, in the late 1850's by the current frame building.  In 1877 the sawmill was capable of producing 14,000 feet of lumber per day.  One of the oldest remaining mills constructed in Glen Williams, the Williams Mill has been in continuous industrial use until the late 1970's.

As flour was necessary in the community, Charles Williams, son of Benajah, built a flourmill in 1871 at the spot where the stone building now stands. Operating day and night, the flourmill was a busy place, even producing flour for export to foreign markets.

After the flour mill was destroyed by fire in 1890, the Georgetown Electric Light Company Power Plant constructed the two-and-a half storey stone structure on the flour mill foundations. The building housed a power plant, the first structure in the area built specifically for the purpose of generating electric power for sale to outside customers. This power plant supplied power to the villages of Georgetown and Glen Williams.  The lights were turned off at eleven pm, but apparently the superintendent could be bribed with a bottle of “a pure beverage” to keep the lights on later, for a party.

By 1912, the Hydro Electric Power Commission had come into being, and the village voted to join the Niagara power grid, so the Glen Williams dynamos ceased to provide public power.  They were still used to power the yellow building, which by then had become a woolen mill.

By 1911, the Hydro Electric Power Commission had been created and Glen Williams voted to join the Niagara power grid, ending the need for a local power plant. In 1935, the Mill property was purchased by the Apple Products Company, which operated an apple-processing factory here until as recently as the 1980s.

Purchased by local entrepreneurs Doug and Mary Lou Brock in 1985, the buildings underwent restoration. Between 1989 and 1994, parts of the building were usable and subsequently rented to a technology company. It was an original Mill artist, Carol-Ann Michaelson, who encouraged the Brocks to convert the space into artist studios and since then the Mill has grown into a collection of renowned professional artists that have built a unique and creative atmosphere for arts and culture.

Photo of The Yellow Mill, dated 1985
The Yellow Mill, dated 1985
Photo of The Yellow Mill, dated 2005
The Yellow Mill, dated 2005
Photo of The Stone Building
The Stone Building
Photo of The Courtyard
The Courtyard

Williams Mill
Halton Hills Halton Region