North bank of Humber River, west of Queen St.

Distillery, late 1830s, on the north bank of the Humber River

Distillery Street, now Hickman Street, shown on an 1868 map of Bolton. C.J. Wheelock, Provincial Surveyor
  • In the late 1830s, local merchant and postmaster Samuel Sterne set up a distillery in a stone building located on his property as noted in the Historical Atlas of Peel County 1877 1
  • The property, across the river from his store and future inn, fronted on what would later be called Distillery Street 2
  • The still was probably a one-man operation with George Bolton’s grist mill supplying inferior grades of grain not suitable for milling 3.  Francis McDonald’s cooperage supplied barrels 4
  • Samuel Sterne’s intent was to use the still to supply the bar of his inn and he held the appropriate licenses for this activity, the earliest dated in 1840 5
  • It is not known if he also supplied bars in any of the other hotels operating in this era.  This could have included Elijah Harsent’s tavern, George Evans’ tavern which evolved to the Exchange Hotel and James Johnston’s tavern/inn
  • In 1849, the property was sold to Dr. Edward Hickman. Samuel Sterne died the following year ending the era of the distillery.  He was 46 6
  • Samuel is buried in the Anglican Cemetery, adjacent to Laurel Hill Cemetery, land that he and his wife donated 7
  • It is worth noting that Bolton’s Temperance Society was established in the late 1840s and members built a Temperance Hall.  It sat on land provided by Samuel Sterne 8


And the building?
The stone distillery building was converted into a stable by Edward Hickman 9. The building was still standing to the rear of the property at 24 Hickman Street in the early 1950s 10





  1. p.64 of the atlas. Also: Esther Heyes, The Story of Albion, published by the Bolton Enterprise, 1968 edition, pp.236-237
  2. Note on the map above that Distillery Street is marked where Hickman Street would be today
  3. Esther Heyes, ibid. p.236.  The distillery was not an addition onto the grist mill.  It was in a separate stone building, across the river and west of the grist mill location
  4. Esther Heyes, ibid., p.238.  Refer to the Cooperage section of this website under Industry
  5. Perkins Bull Tavern and Hotel Licences, Boxes 32-34, Regional of Peel Archives
  7. Abstract Index to Deeds,  Albion Township, Reels A&B, Lot 9, Con 6 Inst# 31564, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA
  8. Abstract Index to Deeds, ibid.
  9. Esther Heyes, ibid., p.312
  10. Information relayed by resident Isabelle Rutherford Bottoms who remembers the building when she was a child