Early Industrial Life of Guelph Part 1

Author: David Allen

Publication Date: 1966

Edited: 2021


There is ample evidence that among the early settlers in Guelph there were men of vision, men who started industries to provide for the needs of the rapidly growing settlement.

First, was the manufacture of indispensable resources: flour, then lumber, articles of iron, implements, wagons, buggies and other lines as demand or opportunity offered.

Among these pioneers in industry was Robert Crowe, who came with his family to Guelph in 1832 and started a foundry which, one account says, was near the Dundas Bridge. His residence was located near where the present City Hall stands. He was the father of John Crowe, who carried on business on Norfolk Street, for many years, under the name of Crowe’s Ironworks, in buildings now occupied by the Tolton Manufacturing Co., McNally’s Garage, T. Ross Barber and H. Occomore. With business expanding and need for better facilities, a new and modern plant was built at the end of Suffolk Street. As time wore on, others engaged in similar business.

SAMUEL SMITH, who came from Ithaca, New York, engaged in other lines, but sold out, and associated himself with Jas. Mathieson, and later with Geo. Sunley, who built and operated a foundry for the production of Stoves and general castings, where the Opera House now stands.

A portion of the building still remains and is now occupied as a laundry. In 1867, the business was carried on by Mills and Melvin, as a foundry. The firm name still lives as it is to be seen today, cast into the metal plates on the stairs leading to the City Hall auditorium. Mr. Melvin later retired, and the business was continued by W. H. Mills, while in 1873, it bore the name of Mills and Goodfellow.


HARLEY AND HEATHER carried on business as Iron and Brass founders, and makers of Babbit Metal in premises on Huskinsson Street. After their retirement about 1878, Griffin and Grundy carried on in the same place, in the manufacture of stoves, then the Griffin Foundry Company, their successors, continued on to finally branch into making piano plates, as they do today.



From Records of the Wellington Historical Society, Vol. 3, 1934.