Originally Named Brownsville
Schomberg was originally called Brownsville in honour of John, Thomas, Garrett and Robert Brown, four Quaker brothers who emigrated to Canada from Pennsylvania in 1830. By 1836, Thomas had built the first mill around which the hamlet thrived and by 1885 Garrett, a keen businessman, had opened the first bank on Main Street. John owned and farmed 300 acres of the nearby farmland.
In 1862, the village finally received its own post office. There was only one problem - there already was a post office for a different village named Brownsville. This necessitated the village changing its name.
They Chose the Name Schomberg
The name Schomberg was proposed by local member of Parliament, Thomas R. Ferguson, a dedicated Orangeman. The name Schomberg honours a hero who fell bravely at the Battle of the Boyne.
By 1862, Schomberg had become a busy trading centre. The farmers brought in their eggs, butter and poultry, and received merchandise in exchange. During the winter the merchants stored tons of butter in their cellars to market in the spring when the roads became passable. Huge cakes of lard were brought in, fresh from the farmhouses, as well as molasses and cracker barrels, raw sugar and tea. Transportation was on horseback or by wagon, and rows of hitching posts lined the streets.
Home to the Schomberg Agricultural Fair
When an Agricultural Society was first formed in 1852, they decided to hold a King Township Fall Fair annually, rotating between villages. In 1872 the Fair settled into Schomberg. In 1956 the fair was moved into the Spring, and is now one of the most popular spring fairs in the area.
The fair is held at the Schomberg Fairground, which is nestled in the heart of downtown Schomberg.
Market Day Was a Busy Day
On market day, there were not enough hitching posts along the street or in the hotel sheds to accommodate all the horses, and many farmers had to use the fairground posts to tether their horses.
In 1907 the Schomberg Market Association was formed and a market hall was constructed. In 1922 a second storey was added to provide space for community use, while the lower floor continued to be used for the market.
in 1959, when the Market Association was discontinued, the building became the Schomberg Community Hall.
The Arrival of the "Annie Rooney"
The mail came by stagecoach until 1902, when the Aurora and Schomberg Railway, a spur of the Yonge Street Radial, came to Schomberg. The train was fondly known as the "Annie Rooney", named after a famous comic strip in which a trolley encountered similar problems, such as cattle on the tracks. A home located at the end of the line was converted into the train station.
The arrival of the railway brought great prosperity to Schomberg, with grain elevators doing a thriving business, and grains and livestock easily reached the stockyards.
With the advent of the automobile, produce could be moved more efficiently by road, and in 1927 the Aurora Schomberg line was disbanded. The railway station was converted back into a home on Main Street at Dr. Kay Drive.
Travellers who came to Schomberg had a choice of hotels. St George's Hotel stood on the west side of Main Street. The hotel had accommodation for at least 20 guests, with a long shed for their horses.
The hotel pump, which watered the horses, also supplied many of the surrounding homes with their water supply, which had to be carried in pails. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1929.
A second hotel, named Queen's Hotel, offered fine homelike accommodations.
Main Street has experienced many changes over the years, with many of the original wooden buildings being destroyed by fire. Buildings that survived include the Old Feed Mill, which now houses the Scruffy Duck, the Schomberg Community Hall, the original Baptist Church, which now houses the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, the former train station, the Traders Bank, which now houses a hair salon, lawyer and butcher, and a few other of the original structures.
As you walk down Main Street, you can definitely get a sense of the village's agricultural roots, and how it has grown over time.
If you venture into the Old Mill, you may even have an encounter with the resident ghost......