Arthur McFall Era, 1894 – 1924

Arthur McFall Era 1894-1924

This photo shows the land between the mill race to the right and the river to the left. You can see the cleared area used for tennis.


This photo appeared in the Enterprise shortly after the turbine was installed at the old Bolton Library in 1972. The caption reads “Mrs. Cay Lloyd is pictured putting finishing touchs of black paint, on the old Bolton Flour Mill water wheel, which is now placed in front of the Albion-Bolton Public Library. The wheel was removed from the Humber River, sandblasted and painted by the Works Dept. of Bolton as an historical item for Centennial Year, 1972.”
A flour sack from the mill dating back to the era of Arthur McFall.
  • In 1894, Arthur McFall, 21, assumed ownership of the mill property for which he paid $25000 to his father’s estate
  • Later that same year, he hired noted local painter George Smith to letter the mill 1.  Arthur’s diary notes that in 1895, he had adopted the use of flour sacks for transporting flour
  • He spent several years overhauling the mill; then, in 1898, built a one-storey addition with an office as well as a roller/chopper to grind grain for cattle feed. He also installed two water turbines. Detailed specifications, photos and illustrations of the turbines are available here.
  • In 1900, Arthur hired Ben Duffy to run the mill operations at a salary of $8.00/ week ‘plus house’.  Ben stayed as manager until 1941, living in the west half of the McFall ‘Mill Cottage’ 2
  • In the same year, Arthur installed his own telephone line from the mill to the railway station and also established a long distance connection from the mill, becoming Bell’s only Bolton subscriber until 1904
  • At the turn of the century, Arthur built tennis courts on an area of land below the mill dam . He then organized a tennis club which continued in that vicinity up until 1912
  • The steam plant he inherited was replaced around 1907 by a gas producer engine (John Wood was the engineer/operator), which in turn gave way to an electric motor system about 10 years later
  • Some time after 1908, Arthur purchased a grain elevator along the CPR line.  He also built a metal storehouse for flour that was ready to be shipped
  • Arthur died in 1924 at the age of 49.  His sister Annie continued to manage the mill business, on behalf of the estate, until it was sold in 1941 by David McFall, Arthur’s son 3


And the buildings?

  • The tennis courts below the dam lasted until 1912 when the concrete dam was built downstream
  • The c.1908 grain elevator along the CPR line stood until the mid-1960s
  • The remains of the 1912 concrete dam are still in place behind ‘Mill Cottage’.  The dam was notched in 2000 to increase the flow of water and to help rehabilitate the Humber River

Annie McFall with mill employees outside the mill office. From left to right: Albert McCluskie, Will Cairns, Annie McFall, Ben Duffy, George Wilson, John Woods.


  1. Arthur McFall Diary.  George Smith was noted for his stencil painting on the interior of several local houses
  2. Ben’s ‘plus house’ agreement was honoured by the McFall family until his wife Margaret’s death in 1969
  3. McFall Family information