Niagara Falls, Ontario, Niagara Falls, New York, Niagara Region & Niagara Frontier Nearby Communities and Attractions: Chippawa ON
The Village of Chippawa is now part of the City of Niagara Falls, and is located at the mouth of the Welland River at the Niagara. The native legendary name of the Welland River was "Chemonda". Settled first by a United Empire Loyalist, Scottish-born Thomas Cummings, who was granted a 200 acre parcel of land at the mouth of the Chippawa River in 1783. Over the following years, the settlement added a plantation, a saw mill and a grist mill (where the Toronto Power Station stands today).
John Burch established his home at the mouth of Chippawa Creek (Welland River), and beside the Niagara rapids, a few miles to the north, from 1785–86 he constructed a grist- and sawmill, with an ingenious log flume were admired by travellers of the period.
Fort Chippawa was built in the town in 1791, and the following year Governor Simcoe began renaming places to reflect the British governance. Chippawa Creek became the Welland River and Fort Chippawa was renamed Fort Welland. Over the next few years, the settlement expanded a kilometre north to today's Dufferin Island. By 1800, the town of Chippawa was part or a stagecoach route between Newark (Niagara on the Lake) and Fort Erie
War of 1812 put the community in the middle of the action. In July 1814, four thousand American troops were encamped along the south side of Street's Creek (Ussher's Creek) south of the village. The British had four hundred and ninety soldiers protecting Fort Welland and another thousand militia. During the battle the Americans sustained 328 killed, wounded or missing in action, and the British sustained 415 casualties in a major defeat that forced them to retreat to Fort Welland but only by destroy the King's bridge which was the only access across the Welland River.
During the war, most of the town's buildings and businesses were destroyed. A new bridge was built, and the mills were rebuilt, and the community slowly recovered and built its industry on lumbering. In 1829, the first Welland Canal opened connecting Chippawa with Port Dalhousie (today's St Catharines) via the Welland River and 12 Mile Creek. As a result of the canal dredging, the waters of Chippawa Creek began a reverse flow, and water now flowed from the Niagara River into the Chippawa Creek.
By 1845, the first railroad in Canada connected Chippawa and Queenston with horse-drawn cars on wooden tracks capped with iron. The train could pull 3 cars, with 20 passengers each at about 5 miles per hour. The railwasy connected daily steamboats carrying passengers at Queenston from York (Toronto), and passengers at Chippawa to Buffalo. This Erie and Ontario Railroad Coach, though, did not operate during the winter. In 1854, the original railroad was rebuilt for steam operation and was extended from Queenston to Niagara on the Lake.
By 1850, the fortifications of Fort Chippawa were gone. War of 1812 heroine Laura Secord died here in 1868 and is buried at Drummond Hill cemetery. Laura Secord's house was located on the south side of Bridgewater Street west of Cummington Square. An 1881 fire destroyed 26 houses on the west side of Chippawa Creek, caused by sparks from a passing wood burning locomotive. In 1917 a hydro canal to channel water to the Chippawa-Queenston Power Station was built, further reversing the flow from the Niagara River into the creek to feed the hydro canal upstream.
Today, Chippewa is best known for the location of the popular Marineland.