Description of Historic Place
221 Woolwich Street is situated on the north side of the street and east of the intersection of Woolwich and Norfolk Street East, in the City of Guelph. The property consists of a two-storey limestone building that was constructed in 1840, and remodelled in 1877.
The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 1992, for its historic and architectural significance, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law (1992)-14065).
221 Woolwich Street is one building of a group of significant buildings designed by John Hall, between 1872 and 1876, along the Woolwich block. This group, called the John Hall Houses, includes numbers 199, 207, 215 and 221 Woolwich Street.
221 Woolwich Street is associated with many prominent Guelph citizens. The building has served as the residence and offices of a number of well-known Guelph physicians, including Dr. James H. McGregor and his family, from 1868 to 1883, and Dr. Richard Orton, from 1883 to 1892. Dr. Henry Howitt, an internationally known surgeon and pioneer of many important developments in surgical technique, resided in the house from 1892 until 1918. The property was then sold to his son, Dr. Henry O. Howitt, who was the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Guelph, from 1910 to 1920. Henry O. Howitt was also a noted city physician and surgeon. The house was sold in 1957 to Dr. Howitt's daughter, Amy Grace Dunbar and her husband, Angus Dunbar, Q.C., who practised law in Guelph for 66 years. The building was owned by members of the Howitt family for over 100 years.
221 Woolwich Street is a fine example of the Italianate architectural style. John Hall, who began his career as a carpenter and builder established a strong reputation as an architect by completing the design of this residence. Its construction led to commissions for a number of major public buildings in the City during the early 1880s, such as Old Guelph Collegiate. The two-storey limestone building was originally constructed as a one-storey cottage, in 1840 , which Hall remodelled into a fashionable Italianate residence, in 1877 for owner Dr. James H. McGregor. The building features bold arched window lintels, wide projecting eaves with cornice brackets and two projecting bay windows, on the first floor, with wood ornamentation. The front door is accented by an arched pediment of finely carved stone and features a curved transom with side lights.
Source: City of Guelph By-law (1992)-14065.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of 221 Woolwich Street include its:
- exterior stone walls and the location of all of the masonry openings
- window frames, sashes and glass
- wood window shutters on the Woolwich Street façade and the west and east elevations
- carved stone ornamentation
- sidelights and transom around the Woolwich Street façade entrance
- fascias, soffits, wood soffit brackets and cornice
- two projecting bay windows on the Woolwich Street façade and western elevation, including wood ornamentation and brackets
- two storey front porch
- stone paired chimney stack
- roof and roof lines, excluding the sloped roof, dormer and window over the larger of the rear one-storey sections of the building
- location on Woolwich Street, as part of the group of houses known as the John Hall Houses