Photo of Orange hall
The former Orange Lodge
©Jeri Danyleyko

Uffington, a once busy agricultural and lumbering centre, now sits nearly silent. This small Muskoka community, built to serve the burgeoning wave of immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century, remains in a suspended state of semi-abandonment.

Uffington was first settled in the early 1860s and blossomed quickly. By 1864 Andrew Thompson had established a post office. A school, located on Lot 20, Concession 6, opened by 1868. By 1869, William Cameron had opened a hotel and by 1871 William Matthias, a sawmill. Now boasting a population of about 70 residents, Uffington was on its way.

Throughout the 1880s Uffington continued to grow in leaps and bounds. The village acquired three churches, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican and the population rose to about 120. They added an Orange Hall.

In addition to the Matthias mill operation, which had expanded to include a flour mill, there were three general stores, one operated by John McCullough, another by George Spence and the third by Robert McMurray. McMurray’s store also doubled as a hotel. Spence, who in addition to his general store also ran a butcher shop, took over as postmaster in 1889, moving the post office to his store. L. Johnston added a second hotel. There were also two shoemakers and two carpenters. The school, relocated on the same lot in 1882, burned in 1888. A new frame structure replaced it.

Uffington remained busy throughout 1890s and into the early part of the 20th century. New businesses included a confectionery and stationery store, owned by Henry Buebler and a pump making operation, run by William Troskiss. Daniel Zimmerman took over the mills and Robert Fielding took over McMurray’s store and hotel. George Spence, in addition to operating his busy general store, butchery and post office, was also serving as reeve of the township. Other new arrivals included blacksmith John Pascall.

Unfortunately the area surrounding Uffington proved to be less than successful for farming. The village continued to thrive as long as the lumber mill was operating but once the lumber became depleted, the village slowly began to decline. The school lasted until 1957 and closed due to centralization of all the schools in the township. The post office lasted until 1959. The Anglican Church stood until a few years ago.

Although a number of people continue to live in Uffington, there are no businesses to speak of and the farmland around the community has gradually turned to bush. A few newer homes were built in the area and several of the original village homes remain occupied.

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