Barley Days in Prince Edward County

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario

little bluffThe latter half of the nineteenth century, specifically 1860 - 1890 was a very prosperous time for Prince Edward County, an era now called the barley days.

Barley grown in the County had always been favoured by American brewers in New York who believed that it was of a superior quality to any other barley grown on the continent. One third of all farmland in the County was used for growing barley, and at its peak, the County was shipping 50,000 bushels a day to the port of Oswego in New York.little bluff When the civil war developed south of the border in 1861, the price of barley shot up to $2.40 a bushel. It remained a very profitable business until the Americans introduced very high tariffs in the 1890's which pretty much killed the demand.

The remains of one of the granaries used to store this barley can still be seen in the Little Bluff Conservation Area in Prince Edward County. It's a bit of a steep descent to get there, but there's a rope down the pathway to assist people curious enough to go down and have a look. It's worth it.

little bluffThis wasn't the first time American politics influenced the County. The County had in fact been initially settled during the American revolution by people who had remained loyal to the Crown in the southern colonies. The initial wave was 500 families, but continued throughout the war and even after it had ended. By the 1850's the population of Prince Edward County was 20,000 people, the same as it is today.

Nor was this the last time American politics had a big influence on the County either. The prohibition era was a huge boon to the local economy as it became home to a flourishing rum running and smuggling trade. Main Duck Island, 12 miles off the coast of P.E.C. was a notorious place, almost entirely devoted to the trade. At the moment it's in the possession of Parks Canada, but in the past it has been owned privately, including once by John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state of the U.S.A. when Eisenhower was the president. 

People in Prince Edward County are proud of the heritage, and there's a local brewery called Barley Days Brewery who produce a very fine beer that's available in local establishments as well as the beer store. If you happen to see it, give it a try, you won't regret it. It's my pint of choice whenever it's available.


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Kristin Johnston - REALTORĀ®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Morning Malcolm...what a great local post!  I love "listening" to the good ol days too!  Have a great week!

Aug 30, 2012 11:49 PM #1
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

I love the history lesson Malcolm.  The next time we drive by, I will ensure we stay a day or two and see some of the sites you have shared.


Sep 03, 2012 01:21 PM #2
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Malcolm Johnston

Trenton Real Estate
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