photo of buildings along the main street, with horses and carriages

Like Courtright, Brigden, the largest inland community, also developed because of the arrival of the railroad, the Canada Southern (a division of the New York Central, later Michigan Central).  In 1869, work began on clearing a right of way and by 1872 track was being laid.  Believing that the railroad would allow the development of a lumbering industry in the area, and a village would be needed to support the industry, Nathaniel Boswell purchased land and laid it out as a village.  He also built mills, a blacksmith shop and some houses.  Brigden was named for William Brigden, a construction engineer on the railroad.

In 1877 Hiram Hales began a brick and tile yard and most brick construction in Brigden used these bricks.  By 1879, there were 506 Brigden residents and the village included drug stores, general stores, a tailor, harness shops, a cobbler, banks, three churches (Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian), a doctor, blacksmith and millers.  The Hayne stave factory produced top quality barrels until a fire destroyed the plant in 1910.  As Boswell had predicted, the lumbering trade was important in the early development of Brigden, but as the lumber supply dwindled, and a reliable water source became an issue, Brigden started to decline in population.

Brigden is well known for its Fall fair.  The Moore Agricultural Society has held a fair since 1850, at first in various locations around the township and, since 1889, permanently in Brigden.  So many Sarnia residents would visit Brigden Fair that school children in the city up to the mid-20th century were given a half-day holiday to attend.

For more information, please download the attached History of Brigden, 1934.


photo of boys sitting on a baggage cart in front of the Brigden railroad station

photo of creek in foreground and railroad bridge in background

colour photo of people boarding a train


photo of dirt street through villages with stores along it


photo of buildings along main street, with John Armstrong Co. in foreground


photo of facade of two storey brick hotel

photo of large two storey wooden hotel

photo of dining room with server in background


photo of large group of school children in front of 2 storey brick school


photo of church with corner tower


photo of interior of church


photo of brick church with spire


photo of band with instruments

photo of band members

photo of band with large drum in foreground


photo of people walking in a parade

photo of parade float pulled by horses

photo of parade float pulled by horses with MacDonald on side


photo of rural scene with river


photo of wooden bridge


photo of cattle in a field


photo of industrial building for cheese making


photo of two storey brick bank


birds eye view photo of large lumber milling company

photo of main building of lumber milling complex

photo of ruins of milling company after a fire


large crowd at Brigden Fair in 1907
photo of large crowd and announcer's booth at Brigden Fair

photo of line of carriage horses at Brigden Fair in 1911

photo of barns at hotel on Brigden Fair day