Southworks Outlet Mall is named after the South Works of Babcock & Wilcox. With two major facilities in town, B&W distinguished between their North Works and their South Works. The Southworks name stuck. Dumfries Foundry, is the forerunner of B&W, and was founded in 1844 by James Andrews and James Crombie. The foundry was located on a site which is commonly thought to be where the Cambridge Bus Depot is now located. In 1847 Dumfries Foundry moved to the Grand Avenue site.
In 1850 Andrews experienced personal financial difficulties and Crombie, at the age of 32, took over the business. The Dumfries Foundry was renamed James Crombie & Co. It was gaining an excellent reputation for building engines. When Great Britain became embroiled in the Crimean War in 1854 it was a great stimulant to Crombie's business because with Britain manufacturing war materials Canada had to satisfy its own needs from its own resources. This created an industrial boom in Galt and there was a "great increase of hands", among them, two young Scotsmen, John Goldie and Hugh McCulloch.
By 1859 these enterprising Scots had pooled their resources to come up with a $4,400 down payment and bought the business from Crombie for $50,000. Crombie held their note at 6% interest. The Foundry had twenty-two workers. Many years later H.L. McCulloch, the grandson of Hugh, said Crombie expected these two young men would fail and that the business would come back to him at a fraction of the original purchase price. The next sixty years were to see Goldie McCulloch grow into a major manufacturing company with a broad line of products. The company manufactured steam engines and turbines, French Burr millstones, Turbine Water Wheels, Bark Mills and a variety of Tannery apparatus.
In these early days the company had a facility in the manufacture of safe doors, which remained a major product line for many years. You can see one of the original Goldie McCulloch safe doors in the present Jewellery store.
In 1923 an amalgamation took place between Goldie McCulloch Limited and Babcock & Wilcox. The new company continued to manufacture boilers, boiler accessories, super heaters, economizers, stokers, engines, pumps, turbines, condensers, and so on. Branch offices were opened across the country.
Babcock & Wilcox continued at the South Works site until the building was sold in 1987. Today there are still many traces of antique machinery around the property. Two overhead cranes in the Mill building are capable of lifting 25 and 40 tons respectively. A line shaft of old wooden reels is still attached to the ceiling in Oxford Mills. Keep your eyes posted for other artefacts as you shop in these old buildings.
The Saw Works of Shurly - Dietrich were founded by Jerome C. Dietrich and Cosmos J. Shurly in 1873, in an old tannery building on Malcolm street. The building was owned by the Goldie & McCulloch Foundry. Malcolm street is where Southworks Boardwalk is now located. The buildings were situated on the property that is now Southwork's North parking lot.
Jerome Dietrich was born in New York State in 1838 and, both he and Cosmos Shurly, worked for Joseph Flint, a Rochester, New York, saw manufacturer. They founded Shurly and Dietrich Co. with an initial investment of $12,000, they commenced operations in Galt with nine skilled saw makers, who were brought in from Rochester and Sheffield, England. Canada in those days still had forests to be cleared and there was a ready market for top quality saws that would stand up to harsh conditions. Shurly Dietrich emphasized quality and the company's saws were readily accepted by loggers throughout Canada, the United States and the British Empire. They were one of the first companies in Canada to use the Maple Leaf as a symbol of things Canadian.
The company developed expertise in the hardening and tempering of steel. It produced about 40,000 tons of light armoured plate during the Second World War, returning to the production of saws and machine knives after the war. By 1968 Shurly Dietrich was producing 1,400,000 feet of metal-cutting band saw blades and 1,000,000 jigsaw blades annually. An American company, H.K. Porter, purchased Shurly Dietrich in 1969 and continued operations in Galt (now Cambridge) until 1973, when, after a hundred years in business, the plant was closed.
The first factory outlet, Florsheim Shoes, was opened in 1991. A group of local Cambridge investors formed Southworks Outlet Mall Inc., in late 1996 and most of the development at Southworks has taken place since that time. Today more than nineteen outlet stores are open for business plus a 30,000 square foot Antique Mall.