If you’re out touring County Roads this fall, you may notice some new brown and white heritage signs marking Huron County’s historic settlements. The project was initiated by the County’s Public Works Department as a way to remember these communities that once existed in Huron. To date, 23 signs have been erected, including three signs marking communities that still exist, but under a different name. Our student Maddy Gilbert explores the history of some of these settlements.
Hillsgreen, which has also been spelled as two words, was located at the crossroads of Parr Line (County Road 31) and Kippen Road. It is on the route from Seaforth to Highway 21 and Lake Huron.
Hillsgreen was settled by the Hills family, and the hamlet kept the family’s name. The settlement had a population of 50 people by 1876, and was the community centre up until the advent of rural mail delivery.
Sir John Wilson was the most famous one-time resident of Hillsgreen, leaving to become the Chief Editor of the Toronto Globe. Sir John was knighted by His Majesty King George V in 1913, and received an honourary degree from Queen’s University.
The reason for the settlement’s decline came as the residents of Stephen and Hay Townships no longer needed to travel all the way to Hillsgreen to pick up their mail. With the ease of automobile travel, residents could pass Hillsgreen on the way to it’s larger neighbours, Dashwood, Zurich, Hensall, and Exeter.
Hillsgreen is just an intersection now, with nothing to show what once was, except for the historic sign to remember its past.
- Hillsgreen Research from Jack Smith, May 1973. Kept in the Huron County Museum Archival Collection, 110 North St., Goderich, ON.
- Gibb, Alice. “Hillsgreen May Be Tiny, but It Had a Lively Store.” The Huron Expositor , 19 July 1971. From the Digitized Newspaper Collection at the Huron County Museum