Although BOWMANVILLE has been around a lot longer than 150 years, it was not a town until 1858.  Between 1853 and 1858 (when it was incorporated) it was called a "Police Village".  This meant that it still could not collect taxes, but it could manage some of its own affairs - set fire regulations, times of business closing, suggest to township council it did or did not want a drinking establishment, things like that.

Bowmanville was founded not long after the first three settler families came to the township of Darlington in 1794.  In the years that followed that first settlement, the community was a cluster of shacks around a mill or two, and was known as Darlington Mills.  It grew along the western bank of what was to be known as Bowmanville Creek, but eventually moved to the east side as it is today and spread steadily eastward toward Soper Creek, where the Soper family had a mill.  For most of its 150 year history, Bowmanville was confined to that area between the two creeks, when more recently the town began to spread westerward again with the building of another highschool,  a mall and other commercial properties.

To celebrate the Sesqui Centennial two books have been written:  SERVICE IN THREE CENTURIES  - this book was written by members of the local Legion Branch 178 about the military history of the people of Bowmanville, from the time of the War of 1812-14 up to the present day peacekeepers.

The second book, compiled by the event committee, is called, BOWMANVILLE, 150 YEARS, 150 STORIES.  This book leans toward the more modern history of the town, afterall, photography didn't appear in its modern state in this area until about 1865, so photos of those really early years are not available. The photos included in this book come from a variety of sources, but the bulk of them were found in a box of photos donated to the museum, called, "The Rehder Collection", after the Rehder family who began the Bowmanville Foundry, and who collected Bowmanville history in the form of photos (one of the Rehder's was a wonderful photographer!)


During the preparation stage of this book, the dozens of photos collected for it were in the hands of a local firm who were digitizing them for print.  Unfortunately the block of buildings, which were among Bowmanville's oldest , burned down early one morning in May - the photos were lost - but only one was not able to be replaced.  Of course, this story does not appear in the book, but it will likely be in the 175th anniversary book, which will be published in 2033 - hang in there for it!!

Meanwhile, order your copy of both books.  Contact Sher by e-mail for postage rates and instructions on how to order them.  Proceeds from the Military History book will go toward the acquisition of artifacts for the Legion Branch Museum, while proceeds from the 150th book will be divided between the Clarington Museum, and other community charities as funds allow.  Thank you for supporting these endeavours.

Watch here for future BOWMANVILLE material....

The Vanstone Mill and dam is the first glimpse of Bowmanville you see as you enter the town from the west along Highway #2.   To many people down through the years, Vanstone Mill and Bowmanville were synonymous.  The mill is still there, but the dam was washed out by spring flooding many years ago.  Vanstone Mill was not the earliest mill in the vicinity, but was the only one to survive.  It is still being used today as a feed mill, with a number of commercial shops housed in it.

This is the story of the military service of the people of Bowmanville, from 1812 to the present.   Many of the photos in the book come from private family albums and have never been previously published.  With lists of service people, honour rolls, vignettes and newspaper accounts, this book is a must-have for anyone with Bowmanville roots or connections.  Includes a section on WW1 Nurses from Bowmanville.   This book was launched June 28, 2008, at a special Military Day at the Legion (after the 150th parade) where everyone was entertained with tanks, personnel carriers, and soldiers in uniform - the kids loved it, as they could climb on the vehicles and get a real feel for what it was like to be a brave peacekeeper these days.

192 pages includes a history of the local legion, a history of the Bowmanville Pipe Band, old photos of the cenotaph and so much more - $25.00 plus postage.

150 stories for 150 years!  What a neat idea!  This book was launched at a Wine and Cheese party at the Visual Arts Centre at Bowmanville on June 26, 2008.  As people opened their books and looked through it, I was struck by the number of people who were overjoyed with it, "Look, that fellow lived next door to my Dad before the war." and statements like that - it was their story too!

239 pages with room to write your own story on the last few pages.  $35.00 plus postage.