The house at 183 Hatt Street dates back to the 1850s. It was built on a lot that was formerly owned by John O. Hatt that originally ran through to King Street to the north.
In the 1830s Hatt sold the land to Robert Kerr. In 1859 the property was severed, and the south portion sold to Peter Barr. There is speculation that the building was once a stable or barn. After 1859 though, a frame cottage appears in town records.
During its first fifty years, 183 Hatt was home to a succession of tenants, composed mostly of young families. Usually, the male head was a labourer or craftsman in one of the local industries. One of these was James Hourigan, an axe maker who owned his own factory a few blocks away.
In 1865, Samuel Russel, a millwright, bought the home from Barr. His family owned it until 1905.
During the 19th century, end gable houses with offset entrances, side halls and narrow frontage were built on many of the lots. They were built to squeeze in where needed. In Dundas, prior to the 1880s, few end gable houses were built, as the town tended to have wide lots. 183 Hatt Street is an example of an end gable house of post and beam construction.