In the village's early years, the main industry was milling, with the mills drawing power from the Credit River. By the early 1830’s, the white pines that covered much of the area were in great demand for shipbuilding and canal construction.
The hamlet of Meadowvale was established in the 1820s by Irish immigrants from New York led by “Squire” John Beatty with a caravan of 29 wagons.
In 1836 Meadowvale reached a sufficient size to be considered a village. Milling continued as the lifeblood of the community for many years, and the burgeoning village prosperity was directly linked to the success of the mills.
By 1848, it was determined that the area required a permanent school. In 1851 a new school house was erected in the village. This first school house was reinstated by a new one in 1871. This second school remains part of the village today as a community hall.
In the early 1900’s, as economic prosperity grew, well known artist such as A.J. Casson of the Group of Seven, came to Meadowvale to paint the dazzling, idyllic landscapes that the Credit River valley had to offer. Notably, The Apple Tree Inn became a popular stopping place for artists the well-known Georges Chavignaud and Fred Haines were among these artists.