Memories of Lincoln

The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Map of the Counties of Lincoln and Welland (1876) by H.R. PageThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Memories of Lincoln

Lincoln’s story began in 1969 when three communities voted to become one. Our journey as a community started on January 1, 1970 when Beamsville and the Townships of Clinton and large sections of Louth amalgamated. Lincoln now contains the communities and hamlets of Beamsville, Jordan, Vineland, Campden, Rockway, and Tintern. In Lincoln, our history and our sense of belonging comes from the people who live here. To celebrate Lincoln's 50th Anniversary, residents submitted their memories and photographs, creating this collection that commemorates the people and places that make our community great. 

View From Vineland, OntarioThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Farms, Fruit, & Wine

Lincoln is located in the heart of Niagara region, with one of the most diverse economies in Niagara. Our towns and villages are filled with over 50 wineries, fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers. 

"Living in a farming community had several advantages. It meant we always had good supply of fresh fruit in the summer and lots to can for the winter. It also meant there were summer jobs picking fruit from strawberries to pears. Picking fruit provided us kids with a good bit of income and for those who were extremely good at it, paid their way to university. Some of us were even lucky to be able to drive tractors to pick up the baskets of fruit instead of having to climb ladders and get paid by the basket."
-John Coffman

Vineyards 1979The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Operation Wire

Operation Wire was an initiative started by Christina Clark and Ray D'Archi, heads of student council at Beamsville District Secondary School at the time. Students that signed up would spend time tying grape vines in order to raise money for tennis courts at the high school.

Facebook Memories:

Bill Koop "The teacher is definitely Ernie Reimer Sr and I would imagine he's teaching them on his farm on Quarry Rd. He was my first boss and I spent time in those vineyards"

John Clark: "That was the picture that promoted Operation Wire. Christine (TINA) Clark started with Ray D’Archi when they headed student council. Students could sign up take time of class raise money by tying grape vines."

Cathy Campbell Preece: "Was this "Operation Wire"? (BDSS students tied grapes and the $ earned went towards building the tennis courts at the school, if my memory serves me correctly.)"

Gloria Clark: "This is in the late 70's when we did the grape tying project. Nancy Needham on the 1st left. Leslie Potts in second row on the right."

Owen Juhlke: "3rd from left is Karen Anderson; 4th from left is Joanne Stewart; peaking over the farmers shoulder is Anne Bousfield, to her left, Ray D'Archi, and in front on right is Tina Clark."

Kowalik Farms and Peach Country Market (1964) by Laura (Kowalik) WegrzynThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Kowalik Family Farm and Peach Country Market

"This photo was actually taken in 1964 before the birth of the Town of Lincoln. The Kowalik family farm continues to thrive and are proud stewards of the town. Happy Anniversary!"

-Laura (Kowalik) Pictured: Chester Kowalik (2nd generation) and Laura Kowalik (3rd generation)

A Century of Smith Family Land Holdings in the Vineland Area by Cherry LaneThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Cherry Lane

Founded in 1907, Cherry Lane has cultivated a 400 acre cherry and peach farm and processing plant in Vineland, Ontario. The current president, Jen Smith, was raised on the farm and is the 10th generation to run it.

Today, the fruit used in the production of Cherry Lane Concentrated Tart Cherry Juice is grown both on the family farm and by other growers in the tender fruit belt of the Niagara Region.

Cherry Lane Crew by Cherry LaneThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"... back in the 60's, when my grandfather was running the business, they had a hard time finding workers to come and work on the farm... He helped initiate the Jamaican offshore worker program. It started in 1966... We've got guys here who have been here since I was 3 years old."
-Jen Smith

Cherry Lane (1953) by Cherry LaneThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Picking Montmorency 'sour' cherries in 1953. Arthur Smith Jr. oversees Granny Neal punching a ticket to record the number of baskets each employee picked.

King St., Beamsville (1900) by Lincoln Public LibraryThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Business in Lincoln

Lincoln is home to a dynamic business community that is growing from a diverse economic base. From tourism, manufacturing, and professional services, the small businesses of Lincoln are at the heart of the community. 

The main street of Beamsville has always been a bustling home to the many local businesses and attractions of Lincoln, including the former Mountain's Variety Store, Beam Theatre, M&M Auto, and more.

King St., Beamsville by Luca GiammarcoThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Drawing of King St. Beamsville submitted by Luca Giammarco, age 10.

Auto Garage 1977The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

M & M Auto

Pictured here is an old Beamsville business, M&M Auto, snowed in during the infamous Blizzard of 1977. In its time, the auto shop was owned by the McKinney family. It now lives on as the Beamsville Garage on King St - the oldest garage in Canada!

Facebook Memories:

Nicholas William Tulner: "What is now the Beamsville Garage beside Beamsville Bakery & Patisserie."

Lauren Olivia Ivanchuk: "M & M Auto (McKinney/McGregor) beside the bakery on King St. ... early 80's?"

Lauren Olivia Ivanchuk: "The Blizzard of '77"

Beverly Saldarelli: "M&M Auto. I remember it well."

Plant of Vineland Canning Co.The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"Then there were the canning factories... My father worked at the Beamsville cannery and so I got to often see the workings of the place. They canned a variety of fruit and vegetables from the region and at one time even canned chicken"-John Coffman

Bottle, Milk (20th Century) by Beamsville DairyThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"Milk was also delivered from Beamsville, Christie's Dairy. For a long time it was delivered by horse and wagon. The neat thing about the service was that the horse knew the route and would stop, let the milkman out to deliver the milk, then move on to the next house. Talk about self driving cars! Winter gave us ice cream when the cream on top of the bottles froze before we could get them in the house." -John Coffman on Christie's Dairy (formerly Beamsville Dairy prior to 1950)

Beamsville Express (1957) by Lincoln Public LibraryThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"Another Beamsville business that I became very familiar with was the Beamsville Express newspaper. This paper was an important part of the community in keeping people abreast with what was happening in the area. The Editor Bill Rannie was also an historian who wrote and published several small booklets about Lincoln. I had the privilege of working at the Express after school. I was very impressed with the workings of the huge linotype machines and their operators, Carson Dawdy and Ken Lounsbury.

The printing process back then needed a lot of manual labour. First there was the news story, written or typed out. Next, the linotype operators had to type out the story on their machine that made it into lead type, This type was then transferred to galleys in newspaper sized columns . A single sheet of this mockup was run off for proof reading to check for mistakes, then if all was OK, the galleys were installed in the press and the paper ran off. The Express also printed a variety of magazines and booklets and one of my jobs was to trim and bind these. I believe the Express was a vital aspect of Lincoln, telling its stories and keeping the citizens informed of local politics, business and culture." -John Coffman

Map of Prudhomme's Resort (1960-67)The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

The Prudhomme’s Garden Centre & Theatre

The Prudhomme’s Garden Centre & Theatre, founded by John and George Prudhomme, was considered Canada’s largest resort. It housed various attractions, including a zoo, a motor hotel, pools, golf courses, arcades, ballrooms, and more. In the 1960s, the theatre's peak years, it was showing sold-out shows and hosting renowned actors, such as Liza Minelli and Mickey Rooney. Sadly, the resort burned down on the 23rd of June, 1967.

Prudhomme's Garden CentreThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Facebook Memories:

Beverly Saldarelli: "My husband, Steve, used to work at Prudhomme's when he was a teenager. He also lived there, in the house that ended up being the haunted house. His mother was office manager. This is before the fire. I think he actually worked there when the fire happened. Too bad he is not on Facebook. He has a lot of stories to tell."

Rick Byers: "When is the last time someone saw Doug Prudhomme?"

Tim Brown: "There was a Curling Club there too at one time."

Prudhommes Landing InnThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"A photo I took just before it was torn down. Really sad."
-Fred Couch

Lincoln Concert Band (1960) by Lincoln Concert BandThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Culture and Heritage

Lincoln’s rich culture and heritage is highly valued and its preservation is an ongoing effort for many people who live here. The lively community of musicians, artists, and athletes is a unique dimension of the Town. Museums, clubs, and organizations are hard at work making Lincoln a fun and vibrant place to live. 

The Lincoln Concert Band

The Lincoln Concert Band, one of Canada’s oldest community bands, was founded in the mid-1880s, originally known as The National Band. Interest in the band was rocky throughout it’s first 20 years, but a resurgence came in 1908, leading to the creation of the Beamsville Citizens Band. The band was comprised of at about 25 men from Beamsville, Grimsby, Campden, St. Catharines, Smithville, Vineland, and Jordan, who had previously played in military bands or other community bands. The evolution of the band brought about the inclusion of female musicians in the 1950s and the rehearsal location of Bennett Hall, formerly the town fire hall. The final name, Lincoln Concert Band, was instituted after the creation of the Town of Lincoln in 1970.

Lincoln Concert Band Newspaper ClippingThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

The Lincoln Concert Band (LCB) played many notable events in the Town including the Lincoln County Fair, Beamsville Strawberry Festival, Pioneer Day, Canada Day, Ball's Falls Thanksgiving Festival, and a summer concert series at the Beacon Motor Inn.

The LCB also had a large impact outside of the Town of Lincoln, earning prizes at the Canadian National Exhibition Band Adjudication (CNE) for many years, and featuring in the 1990 film, Stanley & Iris, starring Robert DeNiro and Jane Fonda.

Girls Fishing 1974The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Outdoor adventures are a favourite pastime in Lincoln.

This photograph captures Kimberley Smith-Sanford & Nancy Taylor Mokrzyynski fishing off of Bailey Bridge in 1974. The bridge was a hotspot for fishing, a common pastime among youth.

Facebook Memories:

Lynn Timmers: "I know both those ladies! Awesome picture."

Mike Moyer: "Kimberley Smith-Sanford that was my guess. 1974ish..."

Joline De Man: "I instantly thought it was Nancy Taylor!"

Jessica Sullivan: "yes....Nancy Taylor Mokrzynski and Kim Smith-Sanford. And they are still best of friends."

Beamsville Hunt Club by John AllanThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"Among the members of the Beamsville Hunt Club that left Smithville Saturday morning by special car for northern Muskoka were: W. Woodland, S. Russ, C. H. Prudhomme, Wm. Clive, Geo. Tinlin, C. Merrit, John Daw, Harry Bougnner, Egbert Hurst, A. Culp, W. J. Prowse, E. Durham. The Club has a brand new club house ready this season and expects to have an enjoyable two weeks' outing during the deer season."
Submitted by John Allan

House League Softball Team (1953-54) by Ken TeshimaThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Coach Ken Teshima and Batboy Frankie Robinson on the House League Softball Team.

The Final Lincoln County Fair (2012) by Donna BurtonThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

The Lincoln County Fair

In 1857, the first Lincoln County Fair was held, beginning as a way to showcase the produce of local farmers. However, over the next 150 years, the fair would gain popularity, bringing annual family-friendly entertainment to the Town. It grew to incorporate attractions such as parades, rides, animal shows, and competitions. The final Lincoln County Fair, before the Fleming Centre occupied the fairgrounds, was held in 2012.

Lincoln County Fair Rodeo (2009) by Donna BurtonThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"I grew up beside the Beamsville Fairgrounds and enjoyed seeing the many events held there. My favourite time of year was the weekend after Labour Day when the Lincoln County Fair came to Town. I loved the crowds, the activity, animals and agricultural exhibits, and especially sitting on the grandstand watching the horse show.

It was truly a special place in the centre of Beamsville and it was sad to see the last fair close in 2012 with construction beginning soon after that. Even though changes in the Fairgrounds brought many new benefits to Town, many of us still felt considerable sadness to see that special place disappear."
-Donna Burton

Aerial Photograph of the Beamsville Fairgrounds by The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural CentreThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Facebook Memories:

Helen Romagnoli Kotrus: "Lots of great memories, but a few really stand out, like when the RCMP musical ride came! Also celebrated my 5th birthday there which is the first memory I have of the fair. And another favourite memory was the first time I ever went on the zipper."

Lesley Jane Burtch: "Sky Hawks, parachutists, my first taste of a corn dog and a really amazing fireworks display.... children were quite young so definitely over thirty five years ago... also saw my first trotters? (Horse racing)... I think that is what they were called.… "

Jon High: "Being able to walk to the fair with your friends from school or your house..... that was nice, and convenient..."

La Tigre: "The demolition derby!!! And seeing the lathes in the old arena expo!"

Nicholas William Tulner: "The demolition derby."

Centennial Arena 1966The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Beamsville Arena

The Centennial Centre, commonly known as the Beamsville Arena, was constructed as part of a Centennial Project.

Prior to this Centennial Project, the Beamsville and District Lions’ Club and the Beamsville Firemen spent large quantities of time and money to make outdoor rinks for skating and hockey, always hoping the weather would cooperate. To find a long-term solution, the Centennial Centre was constructed as a Centennial Project of Clinton Township and Beamsville at a cost of approximately $150,000. The Centennial Centre opened on Oct. 5, 1966.

It served as a community hub and recreational centre until the Fleming Centre replaced it in 2014.

Facebook Memories:

La Tigre: "Yes!!!! All the moms holding our skate blades between their knees and pulling our laces tight! The old pylons that I’m sure we’re actually retired from use on the road! The fair displays...my favourite was the Woodturners in the northwest corner!"

Victoria HallThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Victoria Hall

Victoria Hall was built on the grounds of the Rittenhouse School and Gardens. The Hall was used for public lectures, farmers' picnics, concerts, and meetings. It had a seating capacity of over 400 people. Built on the south side of the QEW on Victoria Avenue in Vineland Station, opposite the original Rittenhouse School, it was moved from its original location to make space for the construction of the QEW.

The building was moved to Prudhommes, evolving into a banquet facility. In both locations, the hall served as a community hub and venue for many significant meetings and events.

Victoria Hall was lost to fire in 2009.

Fire at Victoria Hall by Bryan HermansThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Students of Beamsville District Secondary School (1974-75)The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Beamsville District Secondary School

Beamsville District Secondary School has been a time capsule of memories for high school students in Lincoln since its days as a "Grammar School" on Academy Street in 1790. The main three-tier building, now found in the heart of Beamsville, was erected in 1917 to hold 100 students. At the end of World War I, the return of young men and women looking to continue with their education and the demand for greater opportunities necessitated the expansion of the building. Slowly the school gained more and more additions to accommodate larger student populations, starting with the Community Hall on the south side of the building in 1924 and ending with the third wing, built in 1963, becoming the school it is today.

Photograph of High School (20th Century)The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Facebook Memories:

Judy Hayes: "So glad to see its heritage designation."

Jack Geddes: "There's a gun range in the basement in the building that's to the left. We used it in cadets. Doc Revel got upset when I hit one of the clothes pins holding up my target. Thought I did it on purpose. Wouldn't believe it was accidental, I was just a lousy shot."

Andreas Trauttmansdorff: "Any one else remember the time some pranksters hung a huge banner across the top of the gym entrance?"

Pioneer DayThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day started in 1967 in Jordan Village to honour Lincoln's early-settler roots in a day of celebration. The nostalgic festival brings the Town to life every year. Pioneer Day is filled with many fun and exciting activities that take place throughout the day - from heritage arts and crafts demonstrations to music and dancing.

Pioneer Day (2008-09)The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"My parents were not pioneers in the area either, even though as “Granny and Grandpa” they portrayed these settlers at Maple Grove school and at the Jordan Pioneer day."
-John Coffman

Mitchell Bijakowski at Pioneer Day (2015) by Susan BijakowskiThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

"Here is a picture of our son Mitchell Bijakowski volunteering at the rope making station during the Pioneer Day celebration in 2015."
-Susan Bijakowski

La Grande HermineThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

La Grande Hermine

The well-known "pirate ship" on the shore of Jordan Harbour, named the "La Grande Hermine" or The Great Weasel, is the largest replica of one of Jacques Cartiers three ships used during his exploration along the St. Lawrence River in 1535. While a fire in 2003 set the ship ablaze, destroying much of it, the bones of the ship still remain visible at Jordan Harbour.

Long Exposure of the Pirate Ship in Jordan Harbour by Bryan HermansThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Beamsville Town HallThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Serving the Community

The Town of Lincoln is currently the fourth fastest growing municipality in Niagara, with a focus on developing a complete community. We are home to many dedicated people and organizations that are working hard to help us grow and prosper. 

Beamsville Town Hall

This 5,600 square foot building was a Centennial Project built in 1967 with a grant from the Federal Government. The building was Beamsville’s second Town Hall (the first one was built in 1851). On January 1, 1970, it became the seat of government for the new Town of Lincoln. In 1989, a choice was faced between adding an additional 17,000 square feet of space - at an estimated cost of $2.4 million, - or purchase a new town hall. The building closed its doors in 1990.

Facebook Memories:

Beverly Saldarelli: "I worked for the Town in that building many years ago"

Town of Lincoln, Ontario: "Hey Beverly what did you used to do for the Town? What was your role?"

Beverly Saldarelli: "I started out as Public Works clerk for someone on maternity leave and then I was put on full time as Accounts Rec/Payable Clerk. I left just before they went to the new building. I really enjoyed working there. (Should have Stayed)"

Town of Lincoln, Ontario: "thanks for all your years of service!"

Beamsville City Hall by Luca GiammarcoThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Drawing of the Beamsville City Hall submitted by Luca Giammarco, age 10

Community Care of West Niagara (1996) by Community Care of West NiagaraThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Community Care

The legacy of the Community Care began in 1967 with the women of the Vineland United Church and coordinator, Doreen Hutchinson. The women provided for local families in need with food, clothing, furniture, oil to heat homes, and more. Over time, the group were joined by other social organizations, gaining town-wide support. They were officially designated as Community Care in 1987.

Vosburgh Blacksmith Shop (1886 - early 1990's) by Community Care of West NiagaraThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

William Vosburgh's blacksmith shop, currently the site of the Community Care of West Niagara, was not only a vital service in the farming community, but was also the site of an important Canadian invention. Behind the shop, Vosburgh had built a community ice rink. The two pipes embedded in the ice which the goalie would stand between would often result in many disputes during games. In 1889, this problem was solved by goalie Bill Fairbrother, who combined the metal frames made by Vosburgh with nets provided by fisherman Aaron Grobb, creating the very first hockey net.

Doreen HutchinsonThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Community Care founder, Doreen Hutchinson, was Lincoln's Citizen of the Year in 1984.

Vineland Fire Department (1964)The Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Vineland Fire Department

Pictured here are the firemen of the 1964 Vineland Fire Department. The forming of the Town of Lincoln in 1970 also brought about amalgamation of the Vineland Fire Department with the Louth Township Fire Department, Beamsville Clinton Township Fire Department, and the South Clinton Fire Department, to create the current Lincoln Fire Rescue.

Facebook Memories:

Wm. Dwyer: "Morris Culp, front row, left end. Day job, painter, as was his dad. Morris was doing contract work at Simpsons Sears, St Catharine's in the late 60's. I worked the warehouse. A refuse compactor was being repaired for us in the service tunnel, and the welders started a fire. Heavy smoke. Someone, aware that Morris was a firefighter, asked the switchboard to "page the painter and get him down to the dock, fast!" He came on the double, saw the conflagration and hollered out: "have you called the fire department?" Nobody had. "WELL, CALL THEM !!!!!"..."

Beamsville Fire Station by Luca GiammarcoThe Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre

Drawing of the Beamsville Fire Station submitted by Luca Giammarco, age 10

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