the Ghost Town of Vroomanton & Beaver River Trail: April 8, 2020

This farming town was founded by Colonel James Vrooman who was granted free land here in 1820 for his heroic service in the War of 1812.

In its heyday the village had the two mills- a sawmill and gristmill, set-up where they dammed up the local Vrooman Creek and made a large pond. There was a school (built 1868), 2 churches, a post office (postmasters: M. McPhaden and N. Bolster), a hotel, 3 stores, a carriage shop, blacksmiths and an Orange Hall. These existed after the town plan was made with a total of 6 streets named: King, Queen, Simcoe, Nelson, Victoria and Brock. At its height the population was about 200.

Site of mill
Pond created by damming stream

Unfortunately as the village prospered the railway lines did not come through. Instead, the lines came through at Sunderland in 1871. Sunderland was a smaller village at the time, but quickly became the hub of Brock Township, Ontario leaving Vroomanton to wither. Villagers moved away, buildings were torn down, until only the church, Orange Hall and school remained.

former school
original barn
St. Malachy’s burned down years ago
St. Malachy’s Cemetery

Some distance from here stands the original Methodist church which is still in use;

St. James United Church
St. James United Church
iron gate with maple leaf
founder of Vroomanton
St. James United Church

I heard my first Eastern Meadowlark of the spring here.

Then it was off to explore another section of the Beaver River Wetland Trail:

Beaver River
Red-winged Blackbird (male)
many Wood Frogs were calling here
Scotch Pine

Some botany:

Black Knot Gall
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Virgin’s-bower (Clematis virginiana)
Pincushion Moss
Balsam Fir dead branch
Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
Bottlebrush Shield Lichen
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Hooded Sunburst Lichen
Juniper (Juniperus virginiana)
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Tamarack (Larix laricina)


Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark green fields; on; on; and out of sight.   – Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967)

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “the Ghost Town of Vroomanton & Beaver River Trail: April 8, 2020

  1. Rosemarie Fischer

    Nice to see that you are still out there, finding sites, thanks for the history lesson….I like the Pincushion Moss,very attractive, thanks Miles. Rosemarie

  2. Lisa Volkov

    Absolutely wonderful, all of it. I love seeing these small towns with their beautiful old architecture, and learning about them, as well as looking at glorious nature. I look forward to this every day! Once again, thank you, Miles!


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