The Robert Shepherd Grist Mill site constitutes one of the oldest areas in Brockville. While other 19th century buildings remain in the area, Shepherd’s is the last building left in use of the nine that once utilized the waterpower of Buell’s Creek.
In 1784 the first settlers began to occupy this area. Two of the first were William Buell and Daniel Jones. Daniel Jones acquired the property at the mouth of Buell’s Creek. Sometime before 1800 he and Buell formed a partnership to dam the stream and build a sawmill. The sawmill was situated a short distance away, across the existing creek bed. On 1836 Robert Shepherd and his partner acquired the sawmill and the surrounding property.
In 1852 he decided to add a Grist Mill. He might have been the builder, as he was a stonemason by trade. His three brothers and father were well-known masons and builders. By 1883 the Grist Mill building was left vacant, the sawmill torn down and the millpond drained.
In 1893 the Samuel Rogers Oil. Company purchased the property for a coal oil depot. In 1911 the Imperial Oil Company acquired the property. They maintained a storage depot here until 1978 when the City of Brockville purchased the property.
In 1980 the Robert Shepherd Grist Mill was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, as a heritage building by the City of Brockville for both historical and architectural reasons. In 1982 it was gutted to the 4 outside walls and rebuilt as it is today using as much of the existing material as possible. The majority of beams downstairs and in the main floor dining room are original, and British Colombia Fir was brought in for the upstairs room known as Rafters.
In 1985 the building received an award for new projects and signage from the City of Brockville and downtown Brockville. In 1986 the Mill received an award for architectural preservation from the City of Brockville’s local Architectural Conservation Advisory Commission.