Foreword: Hiram Walker is one of the best known names in American whiskey history whose distillery was not located in Kentucky, but rather in Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Although I have done short bits on Walker in the past, when I decided to do a vignette my research took me to a website called “Robinson’s Library” that contained a succinct summary of Walker’s life. As in the past when a prior write-up of a whiskey man is appropriate to this site, rather than duplicate it, my policy is to get permission to use it. Scott Robinson, the intellectual force behind the library, has graciously consented. His article follows:
Walkerville. In 1861, Hiram Walker moved his family across the Detroit River into a large frame-house, the Cottage, in order to be closer to his operations. In 1864, with all his projects doing well, he returned to Detroit, where he lived for the remainder of his life.
While building his business enterprises, Walker also built a community. Known interchangeably as Walkerville and Walkertown, by 1867 the settlement contained the distillery, a hotel, a store, and “several tenements built by Walker and Co. for the convenience of their employees, which number from eighty to one hundred.” On March 1, 1869, the Canadian government officially recognized Walkerville as a post-office village.
|Walkerville Bottling Room|
|Distillery Executive Dining Room|
The construction of the railway was followed by the establishment in Walkerville of a large number of industries, among them the Detroit drug firm of Parke, Davis and Company, the Globe Furniture Company, the Walkerville Malleable Iron Company, the Ontario Basket Company, and the Milner-Walker Wagon Works, the forerunner of the Ford Motor Company of Canada. Additional industries moved into the village before the turn of the century, creating an impressive industrial complex along Walker Road.