The early settlers needed a pathway to get around the area. They used a trail that led from Isaac Dolson’s property located in Queenston below the Niagara Escarpment. This trail wound its way up to the top of the escarpment and across the landscape through the homesteads of the McMicken’s, Rose’s, Tice’s, Rowe’s, Pugh’s, Reilly’s and Millard’s.
This path ran past the bottom of Drummond Hill through the homesteads of the Forysth’s (near the Falls), Ellworth’s, Ramsay’s, and ended at John Burtch’s property on the banks of the Chippawa River. It was this trail that would become the forerunner of the Portage Road.
This trail was the only one to cross the newly settled land from Queenston (north) to Chippawa (south). It was quickly improved and widened to allow the free flow of men and supplies. It was to be known as the “portage road”, which dates back to 1788, and became the main supply route.
In 1788, Robert Hamilton, George Forsyth, John Burtch and Archibald Cunningham formed the first organized portage between Chippawa and Queenston. Ox drawn carts with supplies became a regular site along the Portage Road.
The Portage Road would become a vital transportation link during the War of 1812 and for the future settlement and development of the Niagara Peninsula.