NAME: Vroomanton
COUNTY: Ontario
CLIMATE: Snow in winter
COMMENTS: Take Sideroad 17 north from NW of Sunderland.
REMAINS: Mill, 2 schools, church, 2 cemeteries
I was going though old 1880 county maps of the province and found this one town marked that I had never heard of. It is located just NW of Sunderland, Ontario in Brock Township and was considerably larger than Sunderland on the map. Having never heard of it I took a drive up there and got the scoop. My assumptions were correct- it is a ghost town very similar to that of Fleetwood, Ontario. The farming town was founded by Colonel James Vrooman in the early to mid 1800's. The son of Dutch immigrants, he was born in 1794 and fought in the War of 1812. He is buried along with his 2 wives at the United Church cemetery at Conc. 7 and Sideroad 17A. The town had 2 mills- a sawmill and gristmill, set-up where they dammed up the local creek and made a large pond. There was a school (maybe 2), 2 churches, a post office, 3 stores and an Orange Hall. Soon the town plan was made and there were a total of 6 streets named: King, Queen, Simcoe, Nelson, Victoria and Brock. Unfortunately as the town prospered the railway lines did not come through. Instead, the lines came through at Sunderland in the late 1800s, causing Vroomanton to go bust. Sunderland was a smaller village at the time, but quickly became the hub of Brock Township, leaving Vroomanton to wither. The Catholic Church on the east side of town was called St. Malachy's and was the central Catholic church for all of central Ontario (all the way to Peterborough). It had wooden shingles. An inspector warned the church to change the shingles as they were a fire hazard. The church didnt heed the warnings and one day in 1941 a worker set the church on fire. It was never rebuilt. There are some wonderful remains in this village. A very old wooden building still stands rickety as can be on the main road behind some trees. I am told it was the grist mill, but have my doubts due to the fact that it isn't by the creek and because the 1880 map shows the grist mill on the west side of the creek and not the east, as this building is. There are 2 schools - one lived in in its original location and one that seems to have been moved to a local farm just south-west. The old Baptist Church is now a United Church built in 1901 on the site of a previous burned down church. Beside this church is the Vrooman's cemetery. An old wooden home decays beside the creek bridge. The eastern section of the town is the ghost town and was the main downtown in the 1800's at Queen Street and King Street (the village's only 2 remaining streets of its original six). For more information about St. Malachy's check out this website Submitted by: Clayton Self
Vromanton Home
Courtesy Clayton Self