January 26, 2024
Lorneville from the Air, 2023
By Guy Scott
Lorneville was a cross roads hamlet just 2 miles north of Woodville on the West Quarter Line of Eldon Township. The pioneer road from Woodville to Bolsover spawned several cross road hamlets before 1870. A school section (Eldon SS#1) was opened by 1850 at Lorneville. The hamlet contained a hotel and a general store as well as a blacksmith. But in 1871 the Toronto-Nipissing Railway passed through the hamlet and it received a station. When the Midland Railway also passed through Lorneville, the hamlet became an important railway junction. The Midland line linked Lindsay with Beaverton and eventually Midland on Lake Huron. This line became an important freight line, shipping a lot of Western Canada grain. It was also the main rail route from Lindsay to Western Canada. The arrival of the railways really kick-started the community’s prosperity. Local businesses used the station to ship their products to the world. Other Eldon communities, such as Woodville, Kirkfield and Argyle had north-south railway access via the Toronto-Nipissing Railroad, but lacked the east-west access available at Lorneville Junction. The population of the village mushroomed to 100 and a creamery was added to the business community.
The crossroads hamlet was originally called Woodville Junction, but when a post office was established in 1874, it was called Lorneville. The name was in honour of the Marquis of Lorne, a Scottish nobleman who was the Governor-General of Canada from 1878-1883. Eldon was always proud of its Scottish heritage.
Lorneville was really close to the flourishing village of Woodville, and this hampered its growth. Most businesses and social organizations preferred the larger village, and Lorneville was bereft of many community organizations, including churches. In 1965-1966 both railway lines were closed and Lorneville no longer vibrated to the sound of the iron horse. Its raison d’etre was gone and the little hamlet lost its post office and school as well as the last business. Today, it is a sleepy hamlet of less than 50 souls.