Alvinston and Area History
As told by Jean Turnbull Elford in the book A HISTORY OF LAMBTON COUNTY
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Alvinston Department Store And Agricultural Hall and Skating Rink
Meanwhile the surrounding country became so productive that a second railway, the Grand Trunk, ran a line through Alvinston in 1892 to handle farm produce and timber. In 1906 the Alvinston Free Press reported "there are three grain elevators here, and many cattle and hogs are shipped to the stock markets. The horses raised here are of the best, many car loads are shipped out each month.
Brooke farmers always took pride in their livestock, particularly their horses. As early as 1875, the Brooke and Alvinston Agricultural Society held ploughing matches and annual exhibitions of farm stock. In 1885 the society bought a fairground, and the Alvinston Fair is held their every fall. Between fairs the exhibits building is the community arena.
By 1914 when the first automobile agency was established in the village, the whole business life of Alvinston had changed. Nobody wanted the copper's barrels; demand for harness, iron cook stoves, and wagons was small; and boot makers and tailors could not compete with factory made goods. But a canning factory, undreamed of in pioneer days, had started to operate in 1905 and ran until the 1950's.
As late as 1925 the bulk of traffic in and out of Alvinston was handled by rail making it less accessible than it is now. To reach the village from Corunna, for example, took about four hours by train. Passengers took the Pere Marquetter to Courtright and changed there to the Michigan Central, the successor to the Canadian Southern.
Rail traffic declined during the depression and after that roads and motor vehicles improved so that by the 1960's Alvinston depended largely on cars and trucks for transportation. In 1960 the New York Central, the successor to the Michigan Central and Canadian Southern, ceased to run and the tracks were lifted in 1962. In 1965 the Canadian National Railway, which took over the Grand Trunk, stopped its freight service to Alvinston.
To-day there are bridges over the Sydenham River on highway 80 and on the sixth line and no need to go through Alvinston to get to Glencoe and other eastern points. The village, however, is the shipping, social and religious centre for the surrounding area. Besides several stores it has two hotels, an abbatoir and locker plant, a bean elevator, a bank, a public school, and five churches.
The Methodists, now United, built their first church in 1862, the Presbyterians, and the Anglicans in 1873, the Baptists in 1881, and the Roman Catholics in 1878. The latter's church had a big increase in numbers from the Czechoslovakian settlers who came to Brooke before the second world war.
The present population of Alvinston is 660. Only once since incorporation has it been smaller; that was in 1956 when the population was 652. It reached its greatest size in 1891 when it had 1006 people, Over time, the number of inhabitants is likely to increase.
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This page was updated by Ian McLean of the Alvinston Community Access Program, This page may not be re-used, duplicated, or retransmitted in any form without the consent of the Alvinston Community Access Program or the Lambton County Library System.