Gibson Avenue was named for Robert Lillie Gibson a Scottish stone worker who established a quarry on the escarpment around 1860. Before becoming Gibson Avenue, the original mill path led to the Nelles Mills. The sawmill was built first and later the grist mill. The Gurney Sawmill was built much later, but burnt down. At one time there were five mills powered by the Forty Mile Creek, two on top of the escarpment and three below. The Nelles Mill Stone on Gibson Avenue is the only remnant of this important industry.
"The Gibson house at 114 Gibson Street gives this street its name. The house was built circa 1862 by Robert Lillie Gibson who had come to Grimsby in search of good stone for quarrying. Robert and the men in this family were stonemasons from Scotland, and he was commissioned to comb the escarpment for appropriate sites. As luck would have it, he settled on the west point above Grimsby and established a quarry there. Meanwhile, however, he met and fell in love with Frances Thompson, and they were married right away. Robert built the little house at 102 Gibson Street for his bride, but he began work on the lovely stone house by Forty Mile Creek. Roberts quarry above the house was a success due to the building boom in public structures and railway bridges during that era. Rock was carried from the quarry to waiting ships by means of a little railway that ran from the base of the escarpment to the foot of Maple Avenue where a pier was built for this purpose.In 1870, Robert opened a second quarry in Beamsville. At that time, he brought his 21-year-old nephew, William from Scotland to act as bookkeeper. When Robert died in an unfortunate accident in 1882, William took over the operation of the quarries. In 1891, William ran successfully for Parliament, holding his seat until 1902. He was then appointed to the Senate. Senator Gibson School in Beamsville is named for him. Williams stone house, Inverugie, is now part of Great Lakes Christian College. The Streets of Grimsby from A - W
Grimsby Historical Society. Historic Walking Tour of Grimsby. Brochure available from the Grimsby Historical Society or online. Click on dot #4 to see the original Mill Path history, and for the Nelles Millstone click dot #7.
Town of Grimsby