Description of Historic Place
The Cranston Post Office, at 915 Regional Road 29 in Caledonia, Ontario, was built in two parts. The older, rear part is a rare surviving example of an early settler's three-room plank cottage, while the newer, front part of the house is Victorian Gothic.
It was designated, for its historical and architectural value, through Haldimand County By-law 909/91.
The Cranston Post Office was the centre of village life in Cranston and is the only remaining public building of that community. The post office was the essential link between Oneida's settlers and the rest of the world. They received letters from their home country and gathered here to discuss the news. Thus, it served not only as an official civic building, but also as a community meeting place. In addition to post office and meeting place, the Cranston Post Office housed a smithy, mainly because two of the first postmasters were blacksmiths by trade. The Cranston Post Office serves as a reminder of the once-thriving hamlet it serviced.
The Cranston Post Office merges two disparate architectural styles; plank building and Victorian Gothic. The older rear section, built in circa 1877, reflects the former with its plain board-and-batten siding, plain sash windows, and plain plank doors. The new front section features patterned brickwork, four gables, arched and shuttered windows, an elaborate bargeboard, and an ornate front bay window and veranda, both with bracketed cornices. Both front and rear are unusually well preserved. Emphasizing this point, glass panes in the bay window are etched with the names of former inhabitants. The front veranda, including the roof, bracketed cornice, posts, wooden floor, and steps, retain their original materials and structural integrity.
Source: Haldimand County By-law 909/91.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Cranston Post Office include its:
- three stone chimneys
- board and batten siding and wooden window sash and frames on the rear section
- four gables, wooden bargeboard, fascia, and v-matched soffits; brackets and cornice above the front bay window
- impressive masonry, including patterned brickwork and the stone foundation