History of Burlington

The history of Burlington is rich and exciting.  The many natural advantages of this area attracted aboriginal people long before the arrival of the first white settlers along the lakefront in the late 1700’s. In 1669 famous French explorer Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle landed where La Salle park is now located.

In 1784 the British granted a large land tract to Captain Joseph Brant in recognition of fighting on the side of the British in the US War of Independence. The sale by Brant of lots in his block marked the beginning of the area that evolved into Burlington.  Two structures near the site of Brant’s home, the Joseph Brant Museum and the Joseph Brant Hospital, are just two memorials to his name.

The wave of Loyalist settlers into this area as a result of the American Revolutionary War was followed by immigration from the British Isles and Europe. Homesteaders had to clear some timber from their lots in order to patent the deeds for their Crown Grants of land. From 1820 to 1850 pine and oak timbers were the area’s principal export. Wheat became the major export during the Crimean War when European sources of wheat were disrupted. By 1900, Burlington had evolved into a prosperous farming community with mixed farms and cash crops of fruit and vegetables.

The agrarian period of our history was marked by activities that have disappeared. Commercial canneries, ice harvesting and basket factories have been replaced by modern companies and high tech industries which have brought an influx of residents. From the visit of LaSalle to this area over 300 years ago, Burlington has grown into a highly successful urban area with an appealing quality of life. 

Source:  Burlington Historical Society

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