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
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