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The Mary Allen neighbourhood is located within the Haldimand Tract: hundreds of thousands of acres along the length of the Grand River. The tract was defined in the 1784 treaty between the British and the Six Nations Haudenosaunee as reserved for the Six Nations and their posterity “to enjoy forever.” Non-Indigenous settlement of its northern half began c.1800, including what is now Waterloo Region. This land has been the territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples since time immemorial. The Mary Allen Stories blog acknowledges this historical context and ongoing reality. Find out more, including more about treaties, in the sidebar under INDIGENOUS LINKS.

What Was Here? Union, Moore and Mary

Today, Moore Avenue marks the informal edge of the Mary-Allen neighbourhood.  A century ago it was the very edge of town, and the land there, before it was developed, was put to an interesting and uncommon use...

The earlier blog post Who Were Mary and Allen? introduced the Moores, whose name was given to Moore Avenue, and whose home stood at Union and Mary streets in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  (Some images and details in this post come from Laura Wilford’s excellent Moore genealogy, located at the Kitchener Public Library: Moore Lineage of North Dumfries Township: Unto This Land They Came.)

Click to enlarge. The Italianate style George and Mary Moore family home, often referred to as "Hop Villa" in its heyday, stood on a large lot at the corner of Union and Mary Streets. Today, the site is occupied by the Richelieu Apartments. Reproduced from the publication 100 Years of Progress in Waterloo County, Canada: Semi-centennial Souvenir 1856-1906.   Image courtesy of the Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Room of Local History; photograph F-5-13.

Click to enlarge. The family of George and Mary Moore c.1887. The children are, left to right, Bella, Agnes Georgina and Robert. Image courtesy of Laura Wilford.

Born on the Moore family farmstead in North Dumfries Township in 1844, George Douglas Moore had moved to Waterloo by the early 1870s.  He married Mary Barrie in 1875, and by 1880 they had three children: Bella, Agnes Georgina, and Robert. Mary died suddenly at age 37 in 1888, with septicaemia given as the cause of death. George never remarried.

Moore grew hops on a large portion of the 150-plus acres he owned east of the Grand Trunk Railway tracks in the vicinity of today’s Union Street and Moore Avenue, at the edge of today's Mary-Allen neighbourhood. 

Hop flowers, or "cones", are a key ingredient in beer, and Moore had been growing hops since the 1860s, earning him the occasional moniker, the "Hop King".

Click to enlarge, and open in new tab for full size. Near the center of this 1881 map, east of the town of Waterloo, Moore's farm property is clearly labeled (to the right of the line “Waterloo Branch of G.T.R.”). Part of the Waterloo Township map from the Illustrated Atlas of the County of Waterloo by H. Parsell & Co.

The Moore "hop yards" at the edge of Waterloo fluctuated between 60 and 100 acres under cultivation, and they produced some large yields of hops in the closing years of the nineteenth century.  Contemporary sources described Moore's operation as the largest hop fields in central and eastern Canada.  Several nearby breweries, including Kuntz's Park Brewery at William and Caroline streets, provided a local market, and Moore also supplied breweries throughout Ontario to as far east as New Brunswick.

Click to enlarge. An idealized illustration of the Park Brewery, on William Street between King and Caroline Streets – a short distance from George Moore’s Waterloo hop yards. Local breweries provided a good market for Moore’s locally grown hops. A brewery operated at the Kuntz site for almost 130 years beginning in the 1850s. Image courtesy of the Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Room of Local History; photograph P43; H-7-9.

In Ontario hops were, and still are, an uncommon crop, and challenging to raise. However, in the late 1800s and early 1900s George’s brother John also owned hop yards, in Preston, at the southern edge of Waterloo Township. The Preston yards covered a large acreage in the southwest end of town, stretching down to the banks of the Grand and Speed Rivers, reportedly continuing on the opposite bank.  Today, the names of Preston’s Moore and Vine Streets commemorate the hop yards, and mark their former location. 

Click to enlarge. According to a City of Cambridge publication, two hop growers from New York State, Abbey and Risley, established hop yards in the southwest end of Preston in the 1860s. John Moore, George’s brother, owned the Preston hop yards by the 1880s. In this c.1900 photograph of the Preston yards, Indigenous agricultural workers from the Brantford area are setting poles to support the hop “vines” (hops are grown vertically). During this period, hundreds of Indigenous workers came every year to Preston, Waterloo and surrounding areas to work with the hops - a very labour intensive crop - and also to work with other crops. Hop cultivation in Preston ceased by 1906. Image courtesy of Laura Wilford. A copy is also held at the Cambridge Archives.

As recently as the 1990s there were anecdotal reports of self-sown hops occasionally being found growing near Preston’s Bob McMullen Trail that runs along the riverbank, almost a hundred years after hop cultivation in the area...

UPDATE: Very soon after the original publication of this blog post, the wild hops still found here and there in Preston were brought back into cultivation by the Tavistock Hop Co. and used to brew beer once again!  With Preston historian Ray Ruddy guiding them to the elusive remnant plants, the Tavistock hop growers took root cuttings and successfully planted and raised the heritage hops, which have been used by the local TWB Co-operative Brewing and Hespeler Brewing Co. to flavour batches of their beer.

Okay...back to Waterloo. In the later decades of the 1800s, just a block down Union Street from the Moore family home, stood Moore’s three hop kilns, conjoined in a T-shaped plan.  Numerous references to the building in local newspapers called it the "Hop House". Today, rowhouse apartments occupy the site at Union and Herbert streets.

Click to enlarge. Part of the c.1895 birds-eye view of the town of Waterloo (looking NE), created by the Toronto Lithographing Co., shows Moore's hop kilns on Union Street, at the end of Herbert Street, each kiln with its four-sided pyramidal roof topped by a ventilation "cowl". Are those hop vines that are shown growing to the right of the kilns? Image courtesy of the Waterloo Municipal Heritage Committee.

Click to enlarge. A section from the 1908-1913 fire insurance map of Waterloo includes the Moore hop kilns (blue arrow), built in a T-shaped plan, and the Moore family home, often referred to as "Hop Villa" (red arrow), one street away. Image courtesy of the Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Room of Local History.  

Hop kilns, also called "oast houses" in Great Britain (hops were once grown widely in Kent), are specialized buildings in which hops are dried in preparation for brewing beer.  Hops were picked in late summer, then spread onto racks in the upper level of a hop kiln.  A fire was made on the floor below to dry the hops.  

Click to enlarge. This photograph of hop kilns, with what appear to be hop poles in the foreground and tall hop vines growing in the background, is in the collection of the Waterloo Region Museum. "D.L. Bowman hop yards" is written on the reverse. The location, date and provenance of the photo are not known, but because it was donated in the 1960s to the forerunner of the museum, it is likely to be a local scene. Also, there was a Waterloo hotel keeper, Daniel Lewis Bowman, in the early 1870s, probably working at the Bowman House hotel established by his father (where the landmark Waterloo Hotel stands today). In 1878, Richard Roschman and Daniel founded a button manufacturing business in Waterloo. Were these two D.L. Bowmans the same person, and were the Bowman hop yards in any way associated with Moore’s? Image courtesy of the Waterloo Region Museum; photograph 968.126.024.003.

Hops likely were planted fairly close to the Moore kilns; the 1901 Waterloo street directory indicated “hop yards” at Union and Bowman streets (the latter street presumably named for David D. Bowman, an owner of property along Union Street, adjacent to Moore's land).  The following year, the Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph announced that Moore would be needing 400-500 hop pickers for the harvest, as well as 50 men to pull up the hop poles.

On his farm, in addition to growing hops, George Moore bred award-winning work horses.  Other involvements included dealing in produce and eggs, selling farm machinery, and management roles with several manufacturing companies.  

Moore was also active in local politics.  He served as a Waterloo councillor and as reeve of the town, as well as mayor in 1884 and 1890.  During his second mayoral term he was heavily involved in establishing the town’s first board of trade, and also in securing the farmland that would become West Side Park (Waterloo Park). 

In spite of his successes, later in life it seems George Moore ran into some financial difficulty.  The local paper published a notice to creditors in the summer of 1909, announcing the distribution of Moore's assets.  A few months later the Moore farm, "160 acres more or less", was similarly advertised for sale.  Late in 1910, an auction at the farm included many farm implements, as well as a number of Moore's renowned horses.

George Moore retired to Galt around 1911, and just as he hadn't remarried after the death of his wife, their daughter Bella never married, caring for her father until his death in 1916.

According to Preston historian Ray Ruddy, by 1906 the Moore hop fields in Preston had grown their last crop and were being subdivided for house lots.

Back in Waterloo, the Union Street hop kilns remained standing at least through the 1940s, and were used by other businesses after their hop drying days had long passed, beginning in 1913 with an upholstering company.  

Readers, do any of you know when they were demolished? 

Hmmm...time for some more research...

Click to enlarge. The old Moore hop kilns (circled) are just visible in this 1930 aerial photo of Waterloo. Part of the former Moore farmstead, in the upper-right quarter of the image, was still undeveloped in 1930. Moore Avenue marked the edge of town, as it had in the 1800s, and Elizabeth Ziegler Public School had yet to be built. Image: University of Waterloo Library,  Geospatial Centre, Digital Historical Air Photos of Kitchener-Waterloo; photo IM48.

Click to enlarge. A section from the 1942 fire insurance map of Waterloo shows the former Moore hop kilns, at centre, still intact many years after they had outlived their intended use. The old Moore family home was also still standing at the time. Image courtesy of the Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Room of Local History.  

The Richelieu Apartments stand today on the former site of the Moore family home, at Mary and Union streets.


  1. Thank you for such a well-researched and fascinating blog! Hops kilns and fields. Who knew?

  2. Interesting post. I would be interested in knowing when the Richelieu was constructed.

    1. My grandparents, Urban and Eva Heit, built their home at 253 Mary Street in 1925 and were directly across from the Moore house. I was born in 1952; the Moore house was still there, along with a coach house in the back southeastern corner of what remained of the property. However we knew it as the Lougheed house so I'm assuming people by that name lived there. I always thought they had something to do with Lougheed Business College which was a commercial concern locally. The Richelieu was built some time in the 60s.

  3. Michelle it's a classy Modern (Mid-century) building, with an entrance similar to the Waterloo Mutual Fire Ins. office on Erb, or the former county Court on Weber St. I would guess about 1960


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