THE HISTORY OF COE HILL
The Hamlet of Coe Hill in the Township of Wollaston in northern Hastings County on County Road 620 has a history of mining. Incorporated in 1880, it was named after William Coe of Madoc. He formed the Coe Hill Mines Company, after Harry Johnson had discovered iron deposits in a hill. In its early days Coe Hill was settled by miners and loggers, who harvested the nearby forests. The surrounding arable land provided a good livelihood for farmers.
The community was originally called Salem. It was later renamed Welch Corners after Moses Welch opened a store there in 1882. That same year, Harry Johnson discovered iron deposits in a nearby hill, leading William Coe of Madoc to form the Coe Hill Mines company. For a period of time, the community was then known as Coe Hill Mines.
In 1884, a spur line from the Central Ontario Railway was built to Ormsby, also known as Coe Hill Junction, to support the newly opened iron ore mines in the area. In addition to being a mining center, Coe Hill also became a major shipping point for the Rathburn Lumber Company, with as many as 100 teams of horses arriving daily to deliver loads ready to be shipped south on the Central Ontario Railway.
Today Coe Hill, with a population of 708 (2011 census) is the business hub of the Township of Wollaston. Yet, reminiscent of the mining activity of old, rock-hounding is still a popular and worthwhile hobby to be pursued in the area around Coe Hill, which offers a great variety of activities to outdoor enthusiasts in all seasons.