Historical Buildings of Port Hope, Ontario

In July, 2003 the Union Cemetery Care-Takers Cottage and Chapel were deemed surplus as they were no longer needed for their original purpose and could be better used. The Cottage ownership reverted to the Town of Port Hope and the Heritage Group of the Port Hope Architectural Society adopted the 1880 dwelling and began restoring the building for use as office space, meeting rooms and storage space thus sparing it from certain demolition. Volunteers went to work gutting the house including removing a dropped ceiling and removing the exterior siding which revealed clapboard over the original board and batten siding.

The Port Hope Union Cemetery was established in 1874 to provide adequate burial space to all religious denominations. The Town Council of the day passed a By-law prohibiting further burials within the town limits. The Bruton Street Pioneer Cemetery was an example closed because of this By-law. The cemetery grounds included the Cottage, the Victorian Chapel, a brick vault and the south cemetery gates. The ironwork of the gates were well known for their decorative maple leaves.

The Cemetery Chapel, a small Gothic Revival wood clad chapel was constructed in 1891 just inside the Tempest Gates of Union Cemetery at 114 Toronto Road. The chapel was a memorial to Patience Williams the wife of noted 19th century Port Hope philanthropist and local businessman James “Yankee” Guest Williams.   The Chapel was recognized for its heritage value by the Municipality of Port Hope in February, 1986. The Chapel for many years was used for committal services that took place during the winter when the ground was frozen. During a service, the coffin could be lowered through an opening in the chapel floor descending to a mortuary vault that could store up to sixty bodies.

The Midland Hotel, a Classic Revival building at 33-37 John Street was erected circa 1845. The south half of this building was constructed as a single dwelling. Several years later the northern half was added with a carriageway between them. The hotel was named after the Midland Railway that ran south to the harbour past the hotel. A 1903 business advertisement named C. Gillespie and George Gamble as proprietors and by 1910, Gamble as sole owner. At this time there were two other prominent hotels located south of the Midland. Blackham’s at the corner of Robertson Street and Dorset Street West and another hotel at the corner of Park and John Street (now demolished.)

With the advent of the automobile, the number of hotels and inns in Port Hope declined. By 1917 the Midland Hotel was converted into three apartments. A 1984 renovation by A. K Sculthorpe revealed the hidden carriageway, the building is now an apartment and commercial space.

Blackham’s Hotel, located at 43-45 Dorset Street West, this two-storey red brick building has a most unusual shape. Due to the street layout and an oddly shaped lot this building has a trapezoidal shape with parapet sidewalls and a symmetrical three bay facade. Built circa 1864 because of its prime location next to the Midland Railway and proximity to the Grand Trunk Railway Station. R. Blackham operated this hotel until 1875 when it was sold to W. Martin and was re-named Martin’s Hotel. In the 1890’s the building suffered a disastrous fire and the hotel was closed. Sometime later, the building was re-built as an attractive semi-detached family home. The heritage value of this unique building was recognized by the Town of Port Hope in April, 2003.

Regards, Ranger

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