Maplewood Community Hall has been at the centre of life in the hamlet since it first opened as a school in 1875. In its location in Maplewood Park, this has been the scene of annual fairs from the mid-1850’s, and when Kemptville separated from Oxford on Rideau Township in 1857, it became the centre of municipal government for more than 140 years.
The school was built on land bought from John Lindsay and was built with limestone from the Harris Quarry on nearby Bedell Road. In 1925, it celebrated its 50th anniversary, and a special gathering was held there of past and current pupils of the school, some of whom had been part of the opening day in 1875.
The school continued in use until June, 1964, when it closed. It was bought by the Township and became a school for the mentally challenged in 1968, a role it continued to play until 1983, when it finally closed. In that year, the local Library moved into the north end of the building, while the south end was used for local meetings. The building was completely renovated in 2001 primarily through the efforts of local residents, and has served as the community hall ever since.
In that role, it has seen weddings, music nights, and was the meeting place for the North Grenville Historical Society for a few years. Today, it stands at one end of a heritage corridor in Oxford Mills. Maplewood and the old Town Hall stands anchoring one end of that historic walk, with the site of the original Oxford Mill, the remains of the cheese factory, and the buildings erected by Rickey Waugh back in the nineteenth century. One was the original store and Post office, now the Brigadoon Restaurant, and the other, across the road, built as a family home.
In addition, there will be a display about the local winery, Blue Gypsy Wines, with directions for those wishing to visit the winery in order to buy wine on-site, and the unveiling of a chalkboard map of the hamlet (an aerial view of Oxford Mills ) by local artist, Maggie Boyer. The Oxford Mills Community Association will be presenting a display showcasing the many events held in Oxford Mills, with a representative on hand to answer questions about the Association’s history and future ambitions.
This building has seen so many of the great and small events of Oxford Mills since 1875, and remains an important part of the village’s life and history. It was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1991.