Sunday, March 12, 2023
The community of Milliken was located at the intersection of Steeles Avenue and Kennedy Road. Part of it was in Scarborough and part in Markham as Steeles Avenue is the dividing line between the two townships. The area was first settled by Europeans in 1798 and Norman Milliken arrived around 1807 and set up a saw mill and lumber business. It was known as Milliken Corners and got a post office in 1858 when it became a postal village. The post office was located just west of the present United Church.
The map below was taken from the 1878 county atlas and shows the Scarborough portion of Milliken. The homes of William Hood, Marshal Macklin and George Stonehouse are circled in green as is the original location for the Methodist Church. These will be covered in more detail below as they are the remnants of the original community.
The Stonehouse-Lawrence house was built in 1871 and formerly fronted onto McCowan road although this is now the back yard of the home. When the farm was developed for housing access was cut off from McCowan which became a four-lane road. Delburn Drive was cut through the back yard and now this is the main entrance and driveway for the home.
The most visible reminder of Milliken is Ebenezer United Church at the corner of Brimley Road. The 1878 county atlas for Scarborough Township shows a Methodist Church on the south side of Steeles while the one for Markham Township places it on the north side of the road as it is today. This happened because 1878 was the year the congregation decided to replace their original building with with this brick one constructed in the gothic revival style. They worshiped in the first church while they erected the new one across the road.
Marshall and Mary Macklin purchased their lot facing Brimley Road in 1830. The stone house was completed in 1851 and was used to raise their family which included 17 children. A small creek used to run between the house and Brimley but it was replaced with a drainage ditch many years ago. The house remained in the Macklin family for over a century.
William Hood emigrated from Scotland in 1831 with his wife, mother and two young sons. In 1839 they purchased a farm lot in Scarborough and in 1850 they built a one-story brick farm house in the Georgian style. The original five-bay house was very symmetrical with a plain central doorway and transom window above it to let in some light to the main hallway. As the family grew a second story was added to the home along with a Second Empire style of roof.
William’s youngest son, Thomas inherited the property in 1892 and remained there for the next ten years with his family. William Francis Gough bought the estate in 1920 and he and his wife renamed it Devonsleigh after their homestead in England. They farmed the land until 1954 and lived in the house until 1966. In 1982 the home was renovated and enlarged again and preserved as Devonsleigh Place. For awhile it was used as a steakhouse. Today the 170 year old home is used as Casa Imperial, an upscale Chinese Restaurant.
The map below was taken from the Markham County Atlas of 1878 and shows that portion of Milliken. Circled in green are the homes of Benjamin Milliken II which was owned by William Milliken at the time, William Macklin house and the site of Ebenezer Primitive Methodist Church.
Benjamin Milliken II was the son of the founder of Milliken and he built this home in 1855. It now stands behind the Dairy Queen near Hagerman’s Corners and is used as Milliken Pub.
The first school to serve the community of Milliken Corners was established in 1838 not far from the school pictured below. Initially the school had 26 students under the teaching of William Galloway. When newer schools were opened a little north in Haggerman’s Corners and south at L’Amoreaux students were transferred to these schools. In 1929 two acres of land were sold for $600 by L. E. Morgan to the school board for the construction of a public school. The cost of the school, including the land and all of the furnishings was $28,000. Milliken Public School was known as a union school because it served students from both Scarborough and Markham townships. The school operated until 1968 when newer schools were built and it was closed. The building was then used by the Richmond College of Liberal Arts and then Scarborough Christian High School. The picture below shows how the school looked in 1977.
In 2010 the building was demolished except for the front facade which was incorporated in the Milliken Centre development.
The William Macklin house was built in 1840 at 2501 McCowan Road and has since been expanded and now houses a daycare. Recently it has been designated as 2501 Dennison Road as the laneway is now accessed from this street rather than McCowan.
Milliken Corners and Milliken Mills were rural communities but in the 1970s and 1980s were swallowed up by development, leaving only these few traces of the former farming communities.
Related stories: Milliken Park, Haggerman Corners
Google Maps Link: Milliken
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