Description of Historic Place
The Erb-Kumpf House is located at 172 King Street South, on the southeast corner of King and George Streets, in the City of Waterloo. The two-storey, white-clapboard building demonstrates a mixture of architectural styles. It was constructed by Abraham Erb in circa 1812.
The property was designated, for its historic significance, by the City of Waterloo, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 79-21).
The Erb-Kumpf House is one of the oldest homes in Waterloo. The original portion of the home was built in circa 1812 by Abraham Erb, the founder of Waterloo. Erb came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1806, and settled on Lots 14 and 15 of the German Company Tract. This land now comprises the central business district of Waterloo. He established a sawmill on Beaver (Laurel) Creek, in 1808, and a grist mill, in 1816. Erb built his home facing the mill, which was situated near the southwest corner of King and Erb Streets. Throughout the 19th century several additions were constructed, as the house passed among several Waterloo families, including the Erb, Devitt, Snider, and Kumpf families.
Many of the owners of the Erb-Kumpf home were prominent members of the Waterloo community. For example, Christian Kumpf, who purchased the home in 1869, owned the newspaper, the Waterloo Chronicle, was Mayor of Waterloo from 1879-1880, and served as a Postmaster for 42 years. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Dominion Life Assurance Company, in 1889. His son Ford, who affectionately became known as “Mr. Waterloo”, was born in the home, in 1877, and assumed ownership, in 1899. As one of the community's most publicly-spirited citizens, Ford served as Treasurer of Waterloo and Clerk and Manager of the Water and Light Commission. He was also President of the Waterloo Red Cross Society and The Dominion Life Assurance Company.
The house demonstrates a mixture of architectural styles due to its many additions over the years. Among its Georgian characteristics is the six-over-six window pane arrangement. The façade, with its two wings, treillage, Gothic bargeboard and Doric columns, reflects the Regency influence.
Sources: By-Law 79-21, City of Waterloo; Designated Landmarks - City of Waterloo, LACAC, 1995; Presentation of Kumpf House For Designation By Waterloo City Council, Local Architectural Advisory Board, Marg and Bob Rowell, Tom Tittemore, 1977.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Erb-Kumpf House include its:
- two-storey, clapboard construction
- location in the heart of the central business district of Waterloo
- six-over-six windows
- two wings and various additions
- Gothic bargeboard
- Doric columns