Kilbride’s founders, William Panton and Francis Baker, made plans for a new village just north of Cumminsville around 1850. These two men had successful business careers. Panton was a Niagara district Public Works Inspector and Baker was a businessman in the milling and lumbering business. Both Panton and Baker, who had already owned a milling and lumbering business in Cumminsville (located 1 mile south of Kilbride), saw the potential of a new village along the Twelve Mile Creek and partnered together to establish the Village of Kilbride, named after the birthplace of Panton who was born in Kilbride, Ireland (McDonald 2011 and Turcotte 1989).
By the 1870s, Kilbride had many flourishing businesses, encouraging village population growth to several hundred people (Machan 1997). The most noteworthy business was the Kilbride General Store built by William Panton and operated by T.L. Whyte. This store serviced many needs of the community providing groceries, a butcher, a tailoring room and a millinery department for making hats (Machan 1997). The original building can still be seen today at 2090 Kilbride Street. Children of the area flocked to William Mitchell’s service station where they would enjoy cool refreshments on hot summer days (Machan 1997).
One of the most distinct remnants of the Village of Kilbride that can still be seen today is the Kilbride United Church. The church was built in 1860 on land donated by George Hardbottle. The origin of his family name is unique. One of his family members had legal problems purchasing land so he changed the name from ‘Harbottle’ to ‘Hardbottle’ to remedy the problem and attain land (Turcotte 1989). In 1878, members of the church thought it would be best if the church was more centrally located. With the help of borrowed oxen from George Hardbottle and George Bennett, the church was laid on skids and moved to the centre of town (Machan 1997). The church is located at 2066 Kilbride Street.
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2066 Kilbride Street – Site of the Kilbride United Church, formerly the Kilbride Zion Methodist Church. Originally built in 1860, the structure is a fine example of a Methodist Church and meeting house. The tall building has a cross-gabled T-plan. This building is a landmark structure in Kilbride.
2080 Kilbride Street “Panton House”– Panton built this home sometime in the mid-19th century, around the time he settled in the area. It is a great example of an early farmstead, common in the Village of Kilbride.
2090 Kilbride Street – Site of the original Kilbride General Store that was first operated by T.L. Whyte. It serviced the community for many years and still stands and operates as a general store today.