masthead image

Crooks' Hollow


Town site photo

The former paper mill

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Crooks' Hollow was an early industrial settlement, first established in 1801, in what is now the city of Hamilton. It began with a sawmill located on Spencer Creek. The mill was followed in 1813 by a dam and sluice, built by James Crooks, an early industrialist who gave the settlement its name.

James Crook was an exceptionally sharp businessman. By 1829, his empire had grown to include another five mills, a tannery, distillery, two factories, general store, inn, and homes for the workers and their families.

The original grist mill, known as Darnley Mill, was sold to the James Stutt and Robert Sanderson, following Crook's death in 1860. It was renamed the Stutt Mill and converted to a paper mill.

Crooks' Hollow was one of the many communities hit hard by the railways. Despite the size of the complex, it was bypassed by railway and gradually began to shut down. The Stutt Mill continued operating until 1934, when it was gutted by fire.

Fortunately Crooks' Hollow was placed under the protection of the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. Visitors to the site can view maps and take a self-guided walking tour. Despite serious structural damage from the fire so many years ago, the remains of the Stutt Mill have been shored up and preserved.