Hamlet of Way’s Mills
Algonquins seem to have trod the soil of Barnston Township between 1300 and 1680. Abenaki followed, then loyalists and Irish immigrants arrived while the French-speaking wave began with the railroad boom around 1850. Today, residents live in the hamlets of Way's Mills and Kingscroft which have formed Barnston-Ouest since 1946. An American manufacturer of tweeds and flannels, L. S. Way, who arrived around 1808, gave his name to the village that crosses the Niger River and is visible along Holmes Road.
The transformation of wool as a development engine
The hamlet of Way's Mills enjoyed recognition in the second half of the nineteenth century, for its wool-processing business. It was then the only place of transformation in the two townships of Barford and Barnston. Wool fabrics thus experienced significant development.
Culture establishes itself in Way's Mills
Over the years the economic development around the wool gave way to a cultural evolution. The sculptor Orson Wheeler, a native of Way’s Mills, is the first renowned artist to establish his studio there. In the 1960s and 1970s, many artists came to Way’s Mills, including Morton Rosengarten. At the invitation of the latter, the couple Stanley Rozynski and Wanda Rozynska came to settle there and transformed the old school into a place of creation, today the Rozynski Arts Centre. Included in this small group are other internationally renowned artists such as Louis Dudek, François Dallegret, Satoshi Saito and Louise Doucet, Tib Beament, Holly King and Don Corman, to name a few.
Hameau-de-Way's Mills heritage site
The hamlet is located in a heritage zone, recognized under the Cultural Heritage Act. The protected territory is registered in the Urban Plan of the Municipality and the Planning Scheme and Sustainable Development Plan of the Coaticook MRC. Municipal regulations protect the volumetry and layout of buildings while certain types of coverings are prohibited. Also, openings and materials for windows for both new constructions and renovations are under regulations. By-laws also apply to the felling of trees and the choice of colours for the building envelope.
Characterization study of the hamlet of Way's Mills
In 2015, the Municipality, with the support of the Coaticook MRC, commissioned the firm Patri-Arch to carry out an architectural and landscape characterization study of the hamlet of Way's Mills. The latter highlights the history of the development of the hamlet, but also the main physical and identity characteristics of the village.
View the document (French document)
The Municipal office
Mr. George Sheard had the civic building built around 1939 at the request of his wife, Marjorie Sheard, for the village children who belonged to Scout and Girl Guide troops. Mrs. Sheard was responsible for Guides in the Eastern Townships region and was very active with the children of Way's Mills. The building was named "The Scout and Guide Hut." Subsequently, the premises served for the Municipal Council meetings until the Community Centre conducted renovations in August 1996. In 2000, the town transformed it into a Municipal office.
A charming hamlet named in honour of Daniel Way, a pioneer who built a wool mill on the Niger River in 1841, where the village stands today. Among other things, you can discover an old fire hall, a Community Centre and two churches. A hamlet to discover!
Daniel Way (1794-1875)
In the nineteenth century, three mills established on the banks of the Niger River profoundly marked the development of the hamlet of Way's Mills. It is, in fact, Daniel Way, owner of a carding mill and a wool fabric factory, who gave his name to this rural place where we find today two churches that deserve the detour.
Mr. Way first settled in the Township of Stanstead in 1817 and moved to the shores of the Niger River in 1843. Gifted with a remarkable sense of business, he quickly acquired the land that allowed him to actively participate, with his family members, in the economic development of Way's Mills.
To learn more about the history of Daniel Way, we invite you to read Anne Leydet's column, Resident of Way's Mills, or to visit the site on the a Pioneer Trail that pays tribute to him.