Ball’s Falls offers visitors a largely undisturbed, historically important site of industry and settlement in early Niagara dating back to the early 19th Century, as well as a rich and diverse set of archaeological resources dating back more than 2,000 years.
The buildings present an impressive assemblage of related structures, both industrial and domestic, spanning the full 19th century and early decades of the 20th century.
Buildings at Ball’s Falls include the Ball Home built in 1846 and presented today as a 1920′s home; Privy/Tool Shed; Smoke House; Ball Family Barn; Display Barn; Bake Oven; Grist Mill built in 1809; St. George Church built in 1864 and moved from Hannon in 1973; Restored Lime Kiln built in 1886; Woolen Mill Ruins built in 1824 and operated until 1886; Fairchild or Troup-Secord Log Cabin moved from Jordan Station in 1963; Furry Cabin moved from Wainfleet Township, and the White House built in 1856 as a tenant building, now used for programming as the Field Centre.
The hamlet, also considered an Ontario ghost town, was known as Ball’s Mills, Louth Mills, Glen Elgin—and finally, as Ball’s Falls because of the two Twenty Mile Creek cataracts on the property. George Ball constructed grist, saw, and woolen mills, which lead to the growth of one of the first communities in this area. In the mid-1800s, however, significant developments such as the railway and the Welland Canal led to the rapid growth of other villages below the escarpment, and by the turn of the century, most of the activity at Balls Falls had ceased.
Restored and maintained by the Niagara Peninsula Conservations Authority, Ball’s Falls occupies over 80 hectares (200 acres) of the original 480 hectares (1,200 acres) purchased by the Ball brothers. In addition to the restored buildings, traces of the original hamlet have been left intact and visitors can enjoy a well-marked walking tour of the original community.
Ball’s Falls is recognized as a unique and outstanding geographical and geological feature in the Niagara Region and of the Niagara Escarpment. With Lake Ontario to the north and Lake Erie to the south, the Niagara Peninsula has one of the mildest climates in Ontario. Twenty Mile Creek has the largest drainage area of all creeks emptying into Lake Ontario in the Niagara Peninsula.
The rich archaeological resources located at Ball’s Falls and the former Glen Elgin hamlet offer excellent opportunities for unique interpretation and public education. Many of the various Silurian and Ordovician rock strata of the Niagara Peninsula are exposed in the gorge.
The lower, main Ball’s Falls plunges over the Irondequoit limestone, which is a resistant layer overlying several weaker shale and sandstone units (Reynales, Thorold, Grimsby, Power Glen formations). The upper falls is formed by the Lockport Dolostone, which is the same unit that forms the crest of Niagara Falls.
Ball’s Falls Conservation Area
Address: 3292 Sixth Avenue, Jordan, ON L0R 1S0
Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
Address: 250 Thorold Road West, 3rd Floor, Welland, ON L3C 3W2