7 John Street

From:    William Lyon Mackenzie Slept Here: Heritage Buildings of Dundas, Dundas Heritage Association, 1984

This house was built by a Dundas cabinet maker, Hugh Bennett, who died at the age of 47, in 1842. His death provides us with an approximate date for the house, as well as a reminder of the short lives dealt to many early settlers.

The roof of this cottage has particularly graceful lines, broken by the gable windows added around the turn of the century. The stone of the facade is beautifully cut, as it would have been for a much grander building. The size and the cut of the blocks is unusually small and regular for the Dundas area. It is interesting to notice that the masonry of the sides of the house is much rougher. It was very common practice to present a handsome face to the street, and a “make-do” on the sides.

From:    Wentworth Marketplace, 4 November 1970

Wentworth Heritage by Nina Chapple

Dundas distinguishes itself from many other old Ontario towns by the extraordinary number of small, 19th century houses that still abound in the old section of town.

These one and one-half story houses, not true cottages since they often use the pitched-roof rather than the cottage or hip-roof, are fairly modest in size and barely hint at some sort of recognizable architectural style. Nevertheless the variety and inventiveness achieved with this simple house design decade after decade throughout the 19th century is remarkable.

One charming stone house that has managed to survive despite its location in the midst of the commercial section of town is at 7 John Street. Its original appearance has been well preserved except for alterations to the doorway and hall, and the usual addition of a kitchen wing.

The handsome stonework on the façade; the unusual asymmetrical arrangement of windows and doorway; and the lack of the commonly used gable or peak in the middle of the front give this dwelling its own charm and individuality.

Inside, the ceilings, windows and doorways are adorned with handsome mouldings and panelling. In addition to the two original and simply designed mantelpieces is a highly ornate mantelpiece.

Decorative brown and white tiles, four of which depict a young lady playing a musical instrument, each labelled in French, are set into a background of elaborately carved wood, creating an exceedingly unusual and imaginative bit of decoration. Unfortunately, where it came from or who made it remains a mystery.

Downstairs, where the rooms are full height and plastered are located the original wine cellar and the original cooking fireplace with a hook to hold the pots.

The house is said to have served as a bank for a while and even as a funeral home.

No doubt there are many surprises and interesting stories to discover in many other of these unpretentious and picturesque houses that are so prevalent in old Dundas.

(Transcribed from a newspaper clipping from the Nina Chapple Collection C.0058.1-4)

 

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7 John Street, Dundas
L9H 6J3
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