Turning first sod, Goderich and Guelph Railway, September 12, 1904
Photographer: Reuben R. Sallows (1855 - 1937)..Description: .Group portrait of men standing in distance, facing front. Most dressed in dark suits, coats, wearing hats. Two small girls in pinafores & straw hats stand in front row. Steam shovel on right, iron rails scattered in foreground; Maitland River flats and town of Goderich in background. Sallows imprint on bottom right of matte. Title written across bottom: Turning First Sod, Goderich and Guelph Railway, September 12, 1904..Object ID : 0471-rrs-ogohc-ph..Order a higher-quality version of this item by contacting the Huron County Museum (fee applies). ( https://www.flickr.com/people/huroncountymuseum/ )
The Canada Company acquired the vast amount of land called the Huron Tract from the Chippewa First Nation in 1826 and in 1827, under Superintendent John Galt, established its base in what would become Goderich. Development was under way by 1829. In 1850, with a population of about 1,000, the community was incorporated as a town. In addition to Galt, another important individual was Dr. William "Tiger" Dunlop who was Warden of the Forests for the Canada Company, and helped develop the Huron Tract and later, to found Goderich. Also noteworthy, Thomas Mercer Jones administered much of the million acre Tract and built a richly furnished mansion, Park House, in Goderich in about 1839. Town records indicate that the Huron Tract had been acquired by the government from the Chippewa First Nation and that the location of the community was based on coastal surveys completed in 1824 by Captain Bayfield. A log cabin was erected, at the top of the hill overlooking the harbor in 1827; this building, the home of Dr. William "Tiger" Dunlop, was later referred to as "The Castle". The Smith's Canadian Gazetteer of 1846 describes Goderich as follows: It was laid out in 1827 by Mr. Galt ... the town is rather exposed to north and north west winds from the lake, in consequence of which the weather is occasionally wintry, even in the middle of summer ... Owing to Its remote situation ... Goderich has not increased as fast as many other places of the same age. A harbour has been constructed but the piers are now getting out of repair. This is the only harbour between Port Sarnia and the Saugeen Islands. A light house is just about being erected .... A steamboat and several schooners have been built here. Stages run twice a week from Goderich to London and Galt, and during the last season the steamboat Goderich called here on her weekly trips ... A fishing company was established here, some years since, but from some mismanagement did not succeed very-well, and is now broken up. Goderich contains five churches and chapels, ... there is also a stone jail and court house, and the Canada Company's offices... Post Office, post four times a week. Population, 659."
At the turn of the 20th century, most cameras and photographers operated out of a studio, Ontario-based photographer Reuben R. Sallows took his camera out in his black Ford Model A truck, in a canoe and on the newly installed trains. From a collection of 240 photographs by Huron County photographer, R. R. Sallows housed at the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol. These images were digitized in 2004 as part of the Reuben R. Sallows Digital Library, which contains over 1000 images from various institutions.