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Architectural Styles of Stone Buildings of Ancaster

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Text by Robert Williamson, Feb. 29, 2008
With photos by Gerard Middleton
Research by Jim Green

Ancaster Township has an abundance of stone buildings, bridges and walls that were constructed between 1800 and 1900. Hence Ancaster has become a unique time capsule of interesting stone buildings representing several periods of design and styles that are seldom found collectively in other Ontario communities.

This is the earliest style of stone architecture in Ancaster. It began with the end of the War of 1812 when pattern books of classical detailing were available from England. These buildings were constructed on the traditional or simple, Georgian one-storey box plan. They have the following identifiable features.

  • The front door is central with glass sidelights and a transom, usually fan shaped.
  • The door may have optional pilasters to look like columns or a small portico with or without real pillars.
  • The two front windows are always 12 pane sash windows.
  • There is a double chimney, one at each end of the house.
  • The corners are usually finished in sandstone decorative quoins.

    John & James Calder or Andrew Sloss House (built 1842 or ca 1855?), 372 Butter Road, Carluke

    Figure 1. 372 Butter Rd

    Peter Gordon & Paddy Green cottages, (built ca.1850), have all the neo-classical features but have been altered in appearance with their modern second story additions.

    Figure 2. 104 Paddy Green Rd

    Major McFarlane’s home, (built ca.1820), at 688 Governors Road is a typical neo-classical design except for the addition of a modern dormer and a modern portico.

    Figure 3. 688 Governor's Rd

    Mountain Park, also known as Oak Knoll, the Robert Berry home, 271 Lime Kiln Road (built ca 1822). Robert married Helen Eliza, daughter of William Butler, or Butler’s Rangers fame). It is a beautiful example of a pillared portico -- the dormer is a modern addition. This house is unusual because it is asymmetrical with two windows on the right side.

    Figure 4. 271 Lime Kiln Rd

    The John Lampman home, (built 1854), 1021 Garner Rd E has all the neo-classical features but the large portico is a modern addition and is unpleasantly disproportional.

    Figure 5. 1021 Garner Rd East


This style has all the features of the classical cottage except that it has a second storey with three windows across the front. The majority of the buildings were built after 1850 for a more affluent society.

Seymour Lodge, 419 Wilson E (built ca. 1820) originally looked like the white plaster coated stone building beside it (“the 1812 barracks”). Both of these Neo Classical style buildings are probably the oldest stone buildings remaining in Ancaster. The lodge was extensively remodeled and the roofline changed in 1914.

Figure 6. Seymour Lodge, 419 Wilson St

The Phillipo house, 398 Wilson St E, was built in the1840s by James Phillipo, a stonemason who came from England about that time. His son John sold it soon after his father’s death in 1850. Since this is a stone mason’s home we can say that it is the quintessential example of a two-story neo-classical design except that the chimneys are missing. Note the portico feature has been retained with the addition of a modern portico.

Figure 7. The Phillipo House, 398 Wilsonv St

This style was named for King George IV Regency. It was a style adopted by retired
military men. These houses were usually built on a hilltop and called villas. Because they
were sprawling with a large floor plan, they had hip roofs and large French windows
opening out onto large verandahs.

Milnehome, (built ca. 1831) Located on a rise on Sulphur Springs Road, it was named for a retired British naval officer, Lt. Wm. Milne who arrived here after the War of 1812 and Napoleonic Wars.

Figure 8. Milneholme, 63 Sulphur Springs

The Hermitage, (built ca. 1855). George Leith was a Captain in the Gore Militia and descended from a military family. His father was Major–General Sir George Leith. George (the younger) settled on a large farm in the Binbrook area in 1835. He called it Craigleith. He purchased a second farm on Sulphur Springs Road ca.1853 and had a summer villa called the Hermitage built.

Figure 9. The Hermitage
It was constructed mainly of Gasport dolomite, quarried on the property, and became his personal resort. There was a 60 acre landscaped park with a gatehouse and a sulphur spring bath-house. The villa had a hip roof and French windows opening onto a large verandah. The Hermitage burned down in 1936 and only the stone ruins remain.

IV. ITALIANATE STYLE, Victorian home, 1850 – 1900
This style of home became very popular because the plans were published in a magazine, The Canadian Farmer in 1865. The plan called for a large two-storied, rectangular shaped house with a hip roof. Most distinctive is a projecting frontispiece and generous eaves with cornice brackets.

Rousseau House, 375 Wilson Street. It was built ca. 1865 by George Rousseau, grandson of pioneer Jean Rousseau. Renowned Canadian artist Frank Panabaker and his wife Kathleen lived her from 1939 until his death in 1992.

Figure 10. Rousseau House

The Whitefield Home, 713 Old Dundas Rd. It started out as a neoclassical one storey cottage built by Isaac Kelly in 1834 (?1845). When W. Whitefield purchased it in 1867, he added a second storey and gave it a Victorian appearance but it is not an Italianate style.

Figure 11. 713 Old Dundas Rd

Fred Marshall Home, (built in 1888), 245 Garner Rd A house built for Philip Rymal and sold to F. Marshall in 1930. Now occupied by Tapply Binet College.

Figure 12. 245 Garner Rd

Dr. Farmer home, 343 Wilson St E., (built 1872). The formal and symmetrical composition of the Italianate Victorian style in this house follows the Canadian
Farmer magazine prototype to the letter. The large frontispiece has a large broken pediment with paired cornice brackets. The second storey central window is
round-headed and multi-paned.

The front door has a handsome transom with two ornate sidelights. The front façade windows are 6 over 6 sash with shutters. It has a hip roof. It was built by David Richardson for his son Dr. Henry Richardson upon his marriage to Sara Egleston June 1873. Other owners were: Dr. George D. Farmer 1899 – 1928 / Dr. Roderick 1928 – 1937 / Dr. Ashworth (the last doctor). It became a Spa in 2004.

Figure 13. 343 Wilson St E

Daniel Shaver House, (built ca. 1860), 377 Shaver Rd. The front of the house, facing south, is now obscured by trees. The present condition is poor, but originally it was a fine mansion.

Figure 14. 377 Shaver Rd (west side)

This style adds the Victorian frontispiece with its second storey arched central window to the simple form of the Neo Classical cottage. It became synonymous with the Ontario country farmhouse of the period.

Philip Shaver House, (built 1863), 1028 Garner Rd

Figure 15. 1028 Garner Rd

Calder home, 537 Carluke Rd. E

Figure 16. 537 Carluke Rd

BUILT 1866


James Adam Calder had the house built to replace his existing brick home upon marrying the Widow Sloss whose house appears in Figure 1.  James Adam Calder was Carluke's postmaster for many years and a prominent local politician.  The Calders were very important members of the community of Ancaster, and Carluke in particular.

Egerton Shaver House, (built ca. 1856) 1028 Garner Rd, near Shaver Rd.

Figure 17. 1019 Wilson St W

Wade House on Golf Links Road Built for Joseph House ca. 1875

Figure 18. 680 Golf Links Rd

With this style of house, Architectural design in Ontario was released from the rectangular shape. It had “ell” & “tee”-shaped extensions or projections and setbacks. Porches were frequently treated as living space. Improving technology allowed these new house designs with more space and more comfort such as indoor plumbing and large kitchens.

Halpike House, 99 Sawmill Rd E, Built for Wm. Johnston, c. 1851

Figure 19. 99 Sawmill Rd E

1694 Fidder’s Green, Archibald Calder’s home, built ca. 1870

Figure 20. 1694 Fiddler's Green Rd

Fairview, 267 Sulphur Springs Rd. built by Thomas Bush ca. 1859 for his daughter & Dr. Orton.

Figure 21. Fairview, 267 Sulphur Springs Rd

558 Wilson St E, the Miller’s house, built ca. 1862 (?1852)

Figure 22. 558 Wilson St E

462 Wilson St E, Dr. Brandon’s house, built ca. 1867

Figure 23. The Brandon House 462 Wilson St E

VII – VICTORIAN Gothic Revival 1860
Characteristics of this style are a combination of a high pitched roof with gable ends on the front façade displaying extensive use of gingerbread carving on the bargeboards. Improved saw-tool technology at this time allowed the cutting of an unprecedented variety of shapes and accents. Here are two rare examples of a triple gabled front façade.

Woodend, now HQ of the conservation authority built in 1865 for Ancaster’s first Reeve, John Heslop near Mineral Springs is a beautiful example of this style. The use of large gable ends facing the front façade added depth to the building and invited the use of large bay windows as shown in the next two examples of Gothic Revival.

Figure 24. Woodend

St. Johns Rectory c. 1873 at 21 Halson Street.

Figure 25. 21 Halson St

The Village of Ancaster in 1901
Note that Brantford Rd is now the continuation of Wilson; Given is now Halson; West
Flamboro is now Sulphur Springs; Smith is now Lodor.

Part of Ancaster Township in 1875 (North is to the right)

Mikel, Robert, 2004. Ontario House Styles: The Distinctive Architecture of the
Province’s 18th and 19th Century Homes. Lorimer, 128 p.