Originally the ancestral territory of Anishinaabe, the Robinson-Huron Treaty, #61, of 1850 opened the area to settlers, like Captain George Hunt who arrived in 1869. Captain Hunt built a small agricultural centre and by 1870 was the inaugural postmaster. Huntsville's economic development was stimulated by the engineering of a navigable water route and a lock system north from Port Sydney to Huntsville which opened in 1877. A railway route from Gravenhurst was built by the Northern and Pacific Junction Railway in 1885, which encouraged development and resulted in Huntsville becoming officially incorporated in 1886. In the following year, the Muskoka Colonization Road reached this area. The central Ontario community became an important industrial area in the late 19th century and had several saw, planing and shingle mills, as well as a tannery.