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Wissler House

438, Malabar Drive, City of Waterloo, Ontario, N2K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/01/10

South façade of the Wissler House depicting the structures simple Georgian style, 2007.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
South Façade of 438 Malabar Drive
Southwest view of the Wissler House illustrating the structures unique fenestration, 2007.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Facade and West Elevation and of 438 Malabar Drive
No Image

Other Name(s)

Wissler House
438 Malabar Drive
Wissler-Cascaden House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/12/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Wissler House, is located at 438 Malabar Drive, in the Lexington area, of the City of Waterloo. At the north end of Malabar Drive, this two-storey red brick building was designed in the Mennonite Georgian style and it was constructed in 1842.

The property was designated, for its historic and architectural value, by the City of Waterloo, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 83-11).

Heritage Value

The property was designated, for its historic and architectural value, by the City of Waterloo, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 83-11).
The Wissler House is associated with John Wissler, a Waterloo Township pioneer who arrived from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1834. Mr. Wissler, the builder and first occupant of the home, was a prominent businessman who established the Eagle Tannery, in 1835. Mr. Wissler's business thrived and provided many necessary products for the area's residents. Shoemaking, harness making and mercantile businesses soon sprang up in conjunction with the tannery. This industry, including the workers homes on nearby Bridge Street, formed the nucleus of the settlement of Lexington in Waterloo County.

The Wissler House is an example of a Georgian style home which reflects the wealth and heritage of its inhabitants'. The simple Georgian style was popular with Pennsylvanian settlers. The intricate detailing, such as the magnificent plaster medallion on the ceiling in the entrance hall, demonstrated the Wissler Family's prominence in the community. The structure exhibits, through a number of additions, the expansion and progression of the Mennonite household through several generations. The Wissler House is also an excellent and substantive example of a dwelling associated with the merchant class of the 1840s.

The Wissler House is a classic example of preferential siting in terms of solar orientation, topography, water source, terraced grounds and bank construction. These are all preferred settlement site characteristics exhibited by Pennsylvania Germans.

Sources: City of Waterloo By-law 83-1, Designated Heritage Properties - City of Waterloo, LACAC, 1995.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Wissler House include its:
- location at the core of Lexington, as a result of the establishment of the Eagle Tannery
- windows on the south façade, including the shuttered window and the three 12 over 8 sash windows in the second storey
- porch, including the two posts supporting the roof, the two half-posts set into the door frame, and the two 2 over 1 sash windows in the first storey
- rear elevation depicting the end of the one-storey chimney tail, two posts supporting the roof, and the two half-posts attached to the brick
- preferential siting, including the solar orientation, topography, water source, bank construction, and terraced grounds




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1983/01/01 to 1983/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



John Wissler

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Waterloo 100 Regina Street South Waterloo, Ontario N2J 4A8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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