Hepworth lies at the intersection of a historic crossroads. Today the “Gateway to Sauble Beach,” in the 19th century Hepworth was home to a stately wayside inn. In 1862, William Spencer purchased, sight unseen, 200 acres of Amabel Township wilderness. Soon elected a township councilor, Spencer had to travel all the way to Wiarton for meetings. After a long walk home, he decided to open an inn where the Amabel Council could meet.
The Spencer House was a fine hotel, catering to traveling salesmen who made Hepworth a bustling centre for commerce. Natural gas from village wells illuminated the hotel and many of the village’s homes and shops. Named in 1866 after Epworth in Lincolnshire, England, the birthplace of John Wesley, it became Hepworth when William Plows, a local Justice of the Peace, mispronounced the name.
Hepworth, with Suntrail Outfitters, Sawmill Ski Trails for skiing and biking and beach adventures at nearby Sauble Beach, is a centre for outdoor fun. One of the most complete outdoors shops in Bruce County, Suntrails offers guided tours, canoe rentals, and ski equipment and lessons.
Believe It or Not
Once home to five sawmills, Hepworth made the headlines in 1881 when the Wiarton Echo reported, “Mr. W. Spencer of Hepworth brought to Wiarton the champion stick of oak timber which required four teams to draw it. It measured 55 feet in length, 30 inches square and according to the scales, it weighed 8 ½ tons.”
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