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. A dam and sluice followed the mill in 1813. James Crooks, an early industrialist who gave the community its name, began with the mill and then continued with other industries.
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.
Following Crooks’ death in 1860, James Stutt and Robert Sanderson bought the original grist mill, known as Darnley Mill. They renamed it Stutt Mill and converted it to a paper mill.
The railways finally put an end to the success of Crooks’ Hollows. Despite its size, the railways bypassed the community and all its industries. Gradually everything began to shut down. The Stutt Mill continued to operate until fire gutted it in 1934.
Fortunately, the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority took Crook’s Hollow under its wing and placed it under protection. Despite serious structural damage from the fire so many years ago, the remains of the Stutt Mill have been shored up and preserved. Visitors to the site can view maps and take a self-guided walking tour.